April 15, 2015. Only Blick could have pulled this together. The Oakley Legends Ride.
Ned Overend, Thomas “Frischi” Frischknecht, Todd Wells, Brian Lopes, and newcomer Jenny Rissveds. There were two common points that brought all of these athletes together on April 15 in Montery, CA. The first being that they’re Oakley sponsored athletes. Oakley put this ride together. The second is that they love to ride their bikes. Oakley was launching it’s new model called the “Jawbreaker” The Jawbreaker is one part revamped Eyeshade, one part oversized Jawbone - err - Racing Jacket.
We met up at Peet’s coffee. Blick loves Peets. Ned showed up first, followed by Frischi and Jenny and then Lopes and Wells. Lopes and Wells used to be friends and teammates at GT, so they got to catch up.
Overend, Frischi, and Lopes are multiple world champions. Todd Wells has won Leadville twice. It would be a pointless exercise for me to list their palmares. These guys have all been dominant in mountain bike racing since it was a thing. Overend and Frischi used to battle it out in the 90's. The crazy thing about many of these guys is that they were legends in the 90's but that they still compete today. Ned just won the first ever US Fat Bike Championship this year. Frischi stopped competing 10 years ago, but is very active with the Scott Odlo team grooming the next generation of champions. Jenny is a perfect example of that. She came along and pushed the pace. We got to see her win the Short Track race on Friday and finish 3rd in the XC race on Saturday. Frischi’s son Andri is a Swiss U23 champ and could be dominant as well. Lopes was crushing in the Dual Slalom at Sea Otter this year (He finished 10th in the end) and has a nice feature in Scott Secco's new film, “Builder”
The route was to be 17-mile Drive in Monterey. It’s a nice, scenic winding road that skirts the ocean before climbing into the trees. I expected the pace to be social, which it was, but of course a bunch of still-competitive old dudes are going to give what they’ve got and Jenny was training, so of course the throttle just kept twisting further - almost imperceptibly. At some point Blick attacked on a climb, but didn’t make it stick. Hill kept going, Blick faded back. All in good fun.
The thing that struck me, and that I see looking back at their faces in the photos. (I was doing my best to keep the pace while not get killed by an oncoming car and not crashing out a group of world champs.) The thing that struck me with this bunch of guys – and one girl - was just the sheer joy of riding their bikes. This was just a sunny day with a bunch of like-minded folks who may or may not have battled it out 25 years ago. We rolled back into Monterey as a group, Wells called up a buddy to find the ‘good’ coffee in town. Nothing against Peets, Blick! I took portraits of everyone and then we just sat in the courtyard of East Village Coffee and chatted. Really no different from your neighborhood group ride on a nice sunny day, catching up with a bunch of world champs that happened to be in town for the day. OK. It was special. Very special, but somehow completely normal because we were all just doing what we do. For me it was an honor just to spend the morning with this crew and to document the proceedings. Thank you all champs, and thank you Steve and AG for pulling this together! #LiveYours