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Thread: After the finish line:

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    Default After the finish line:

    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister...le_2524224.php


    He'd like to break the cycle
    MORNING READ: Alexi Grewal once won an Olympic gold. Now, he's trying to become a winner.
    By SCOTT M. REID
    THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
    FIRST OF TWO PARTS
    To read Part 2, click here.
    LOVELAND, COLO. For years he was aimless, a soul lost in life, always searching through the emptiness yet never finding the right path. How could he move forward when all signs kept pointing to his past?
    So a few years ago Alexi Grewal rounded up a scrapbook from his victory at the 1984 Olympic Games road race, and the rest of the memorabilia from his cycling career, and threw them in the trash.
    "I lived through that once and I needed to move on," Grewal said.
    "It was a weight."
    The next day he received a concerned telephone call from a person who had noticed the collection and picked it out of the garbage.
    "Please throw it back in the trash can," Grewal said.
    Grewal shrugged at the memory. It had been decades since any of it meant anything to him.
    •••
    Twenty-five years ago this month, Grewal was riding, sprinting to the Olympic finish line on Mission Viejo's O'Neill Road, when he had an epiphany.
    "There was a bright white light and I was in it for a few seconds and I was like 'Wow, I didn't expect that.' And then I was back into reality, which was a whole different set of feelings." he said.
    "That moment at the Olympics was a crisis point. I found the achievement itself pretty hollow. It was instantaneous. All of a sudden, it wasn't important."
    As Grewal climbed onto the top step on the Olympic medal stand he was also taking the first step in a life in search for the fulfillment and peace he thought the gold medal would provide.
    Long after he rode through the roar of the 300,000 people lining the streets and hills of the Mission Viejo course, Grewal remains defined and haunted by his Olympic triumph.
    "The Olympics is indelible in my soul," he said on a recent evening as he watched his son Elijah's middle school football practice. "It never goes away. I wake up every day and I feel like I'm in the same race and it's never ended.
    "That's what it's like for me… That particular day never ended. I wake up and I have the same butterflies. I wake up every day like I did in the Olympics. It's like it never stopped."
    In recent years Grewal has finally found direction and purpose by looking into other lost souls. And, at 48, he has come to view the morning butterflies in a larger context – as a sign pointing him forward.
    An unordained Christian minister, he brings the same sense of urgency he brought to racing to his work with homeless in and around Loveland, Colo., a community of just under 60,000, about 50 miles north of Denver.
    "I knew how to deal with people like that," he said. "I've been in those desperate situations myself."
    •••
    Although never homeless, Grewal admits he was "lost," for several years after retiring from racing in 1992. He declines to give detail. But the divorced father of Elijah, 11, and a daughter Jordyn, 15, who live with their mother in nearby Berthoud, says he has frequently faced financial hardship. He's gone months without work as a carpenter.
    He lost his two upper front teeth to gum disease and says he can't afford to replace them.
    "I've been poor a lot," said Grewal, who remains rail thin at 6-feet-1, 156 pounds, his racing weight.
    Even today he often can't afford a cup of coffee at the Loveland coffee shops he likes to frequent to discuss politics and religion.
    His Olympic gold medal was stolen a few years ago at an airport in Newark, N.J., on trip to India. The stolen briefcase containing the medal also had his false teeth. Grewal, the son of a Sikh father from India and a German mother, is the only American athlete of Indian descent to ever win an Olympic gold medal.
    "I don't really need one," Grewal said of the gold medal. "It didn't really bother me at the time. It bothered me that I lost my false teeth."
    Once the enfant terrible of cycling, Grewal has turned down the volume. Still, he remains he remains a controversial figure in his sport, and in his adopted hometown.
    He is unrepentant about using performance enhancing drugs during his riding career. In Loveland, he is a constant thorn in the side of local officials, developers and religious leaders. He is running for mayor in this fall's election, saying he's concerned about the influence developers have over the city. He's also been critical of local ministers, who he said failed to deliver on promises to help the homeless.
    "I have a lot of enemies," he said.
    But Grewal has also built an unlikely coalition of support, mixing liberals and evangelical Christians.
    "People are pretty excited about him pushing for (mayor)," said Heidi Thrash, who works at the liberal-leaning Coffee Tree.
    "We think it would be a good thing. He's made a difference in a lot of lives around here," said Stephanie Ortega, manager of His Place, an evangelical coffee shop.
    It turns out one of the souls Grewal saved was his own.
    "It's a lifetime race," he said.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    Back in the day he was my hero.
     

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    http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister...le_2524273.php

    Is Alexi Grewal the Jose Canseco of bicycling?
    AM READ: (DAY 2) The gold medalist has made few friends talking of performance drugs.
    By SCOTT M. REID
    THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
    SECOND OF TWO PARTS
    To read Part 1, click here
    YESTERDAY: Alexi Grewal lost money and jobs after winning a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles Olympics.
    TODAY: Grewal is working help others.
    LOVELAND, COLO. In 1984, when the then-23-year-old Alexi Grewal sprinted past Canada's Steve Bauer 50 meters from the finish, he was headed to a turning point for American cycling and in his life.
    In becoming the first (and still only) American to win the Olympic men's road race, Grewal's victory signaled the coming of two decades of American domination of international cycling. Between 1986 and 2005, U.S. riders won the Tour de France 10 times, an 11th Tour win in 2006 stripped after Floyd Landis tested positive for banned performance enhancing drugs.
    Grewal, however, would not be a part of the American wave of success that swept over the sport. Never fulfilling the promise of his Olympic victory and early career, Grewal never finished a Tour, his professional career undermined in part by his approach to the Olympic race.
    •••
    He almost didn't make it to the starting line in Mission Viejo.
    Ten days before the Olympics, Grewal tested positive for the banned substance, phenylethylamine, after winning the Coors Classic in Colorado. USA Cycling suspended him for 30 days and dropped him from the Olympic team. But Grewal appealed, saying that he was taking albuterol for asthma and the test could not distinguish between the two drugs. He was reinstated six days before the Olympic race.
    Grewal today admits using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs during his career.
    "It's hard to regret it because I think regret can only be based if it really bothered your conscience at the time," he said. "And so since it really didn't bother my conscience at the time I don't really feel like I regret it. In a sense, it doesn't bother my conscience now."
    Grewal said he didn't participate in a pre-Olympic blood doping program coordinated by U.S. coaches and officials because he was estranged from U.S. head coach Eddie Borysewicz and training on his own. Grewal said Borysewicz had discussed blood doping with him the winter of 1984 but didn't learn of the actual procedure until weeks after the race. Such blood doping was legal at the time, though it was banned soon after the '84 Olympics.
    "If Eddie had gone through with it and done it right I was as much a mercenary as anyone else," Grewal said. "I mean I didn't care at that point in my life. It didn't bother my conscience any if we were going to do a professional blood doping thing great."
    When Grewal showed up for the start it had been months since the rebellious rider had spoken with the old school coach. Even so, Grewal promised to ride in support of American star Davis Phinney.
    "Which I kind of did," Grewal said laughing. "At least I made it look that way."
    In actuality, Grewal made a series of moves almost from the start that weakened Phinney and other U.S. riders. Late in the race, Phinney, running out of energy, begged his teammate for food. Grewal said he didn't have any. In truth he had a couple of granola bars and a peach spiked with No-Doze.
    "I would just stick No-Doze in a peach, a couple of them, so you'd have a boost toward the end," Grewal said.
    He broke away from Phinney and the rest of the lead pack with 12.4 miles to go, opening up a 24-second lead only to be caught by Bauer with 6.2 miles remaining. At the finish, after just under 5 hours of racing, Grewal was Olympic champion by barely a bike length.
    But his victory came with a heavy price. He had alienated Phinney, who slipped to fifth, and much of the American cycling establishment. Grewal believes if he had helped Phinney win in 1984 that Phinney and other U.S. riders would have supported Grewal later in the 1987 and 1988 Tour de France, perhaps paving the way to a top three finish.
    Instead he signed with the European-based Panasonic where he fell out of favor with team officials over his refusal to allow a team trainer inject him with performance enhancements.
    "There was pressure to take injections," he said. "And when you resist that pressure, you're knocked down the hierarchy."
    Grewal never made it to the podium in a Tour de France. His most notable Tour moment came in the 1986 race, when he spit at a CBS camera crew who had repeatedly blocked his path with their motorcycle, incurring the wrath of Tour officials.
    "I think if I regret anything I regret that," he said of the incident.
    •••
    For years after retiring from cycling, he drifted from job to job, around Colorado to Portland, Ore., and back again.
    "I was just not finding that place where you fit in," he said.
    In Oregon, Grewal made a connection with the homeless.
    "They have that mindset of where do I go next?" he said. "You feel lost in life. Lots of them were vets; lot of them had deep hurts.
    "I didn't feel any different than them."
    He began ministering to the homeless in Portland and Colorado. Two years ago, concerned that three homeless men wouldn't survive the Rocky Mountain winter, Grewal let the men live in his house for several months. Grewal moved into a work shed behind the house. The 20 by 26-feet shed had neither running water or a toilet. Grewal showered each morning at a city facility.
    "It wasn't a hardship," he said.
    He also tossed out his cycling mementos, something for which he feels no regret. He also lost his Gold medal at an airport, and he's not particularly emotional about that, either.
    Only a small photo of Grewal's Olympic victory survived the purge. It is displayed in the bedroom of his 11-year-old son, Elijah. As Grewal sat on the edge of a football practice field recently, watching Elijah practice, Grewal was asked if he didn't at least wish he could share his gold medal with his son?
    Grewal watched Elijah line up for a pass pattern and shook his head no. A gentle breeze blew behind his back. He had moved on.
    "He doesn't need to see it," he said of the medal.
    "He needs to see me."
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    ........
    Attached Images Attached Images
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    Thanks for that!

    WOW! I knew he had taken a different path in life, but still, it's eye opening.

    Shows that many athletes' lives in the spotlight is short and a very incomplete picture of who they are as people.
     

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    I know Alexi would be the last person who would want any pity, and I am certainly not giving any but this was a hard, hard read. Watching him win was the reason I started riding then racing. Not because of him per se but seeing an American win the Gold.
    "make the break"

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    feedzone. check out thurlow... he looks the same but with white hair. still at it every weekend, 35, 45's, and 1/2's.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    He's the reason that I and every other rider after that wanted a Pinarello.
     

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    and then we flip the story.. to the guy the didn't win... but killed it working for alexi in that olympic race.

    http://ironstring.com/wp/portfolio/t...gers_jan09.pdf

    *its also a great picture of the vampire (chris walker) leading thurlow.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    Default Thurlow Rogers

    Quote Originally Posted by swoop View Post
    feedzone. check out thurlow... he looks the same but with white hair. still at it every weekend, 35, 45's, and 1/2's.
    Got to see him win our local San Luis Obispo criterium this year Masters 35+...couple of guys said it was like they were standing still when he came by, zoom zoom zoom

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...SOCaRlAw&gid=5
     

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    I'm sorry that Alexi has fallen off....I think that he was ALWAYS struggling to maintain himself on center...even when he was racing. My friend Skip was with him in a breakaway at Tour de Trump and Alexi tried to put him into the side-or under- his team car when it pulled up to give him some instructions....
     

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    As saab stated, this was a hard read.

    It's tough reading something like this, and it almost portrays him as anhedonic...

    That being said, I'm glad he's found a purpose in life and that he's helping others.

    I wonder if someone kept the stuff he put in the trash.

    I also didn't know he was half indian. Brown pride, I suppose!
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chaba View Post
    I'm sorry that Alexi has fallen off....I think that he was ALWAYS struggling to maintain himself on center...even when he was racing.
    Did he even know where the center was?
    "It's hard to regret [doping] because I think regret can only be based if it really bothered your conscience at the time," he said. "And so since it really didn't bother my conscience at the time I don't really feel like I regret it. In a sense, it doesn't bother my conscience now."
    Sad, so sad.
    Based on a true story.

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    Default tough

    thanks for sharing, always wondered about him
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloji View Post
    Got to see him win our local San Luis Obispo criterium this year Masters 35+...couple of guys said it was like they were standing still when he came by, zoom zoom zoom

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...SOCaRlAw&gid=5
    try bridging up to him and then carrying your share in a break. he's relentless and tough.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

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    Sorry Alexi... karma is a bitch.

    A pal of mine just climbed Ventoux with Steve Bauer during the Tour this year,
    Bauer seems happy!

    -g
     

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    Back in the days of building bikes for Alexi I got to meet him a few times. He was a hero on the bike and I wanted him to be a hero in real life too but he made sure that didn't happen by treating me with anger and rudeness. I wanted him to love the bikes I put so much work and love into but he didn't even like riding at the time I think - so he certainly didn't give a shit about the bikes or the guy who made them. I knew then that life was hard for him and he was a part of something that he didn't really like but he didn't know how to get off the ride. I felt for him then as I do now.

    If I thought there was any chance he'd accept it I'd buy him the new teeth he needs but I can't picture him allowing that to happen.

    Dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Kirk View Post
    I wanted him to love the bikes I put so much work and love into but he didn't even like riding at the time I think - so he certainly didn't give a shit about the bikes or the guy who made them.

    Dave
    hey dave... have i told you lately how much i love your bike??
    rode it to work today in the rain....

    -g
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantM View Post
    hey dave... have i told you lately how much i love your bike??
    rode it to work today in the rain....

    -g

    Very good - flattery will get you far.

    dave
    D. Kirk
    Kirk Frameworks Co.
    www.kirkframeworks.com


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    If I could access youtube at work...

    *cue*: 'have I told you lately, that I love you'
     

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