Alexi’s Back?

19Dec10

As many of you know, former pro Alexi Grewal is making a run at a comeback. I grew up mountain bike racing and was always a fan of Alexi’s brother Rishi, who had a successful career mountain biking. When I was first getting into cycling and racing, Alexi was in the twilight of his racing days on the road amidst a mountain bike boom in the US. I didn’t even own a road bike back then and subsequently, Alexi Grewal wasn’t even on my radar.

Since then, I’ve learned much of the history I missed as a kid and realized Alexi is one of the most interesting characters ever in American cycling.

Alexi on the right about to win a gold medal. Sweet shades:

While a comeback at age 50 seems highly improbable, if anyone can do it, Alexi is at the top of the list. Alexi was known for his brash style of racing, ruthless attacks and even a reputation for being a horrible teammate back in the 80’s. A hot temper seemed to drive him to both success and ultimately failure. While Alexi is an Olympic gold medalist, Alexi should been a multiple Tour de France finisher, stage winner and even a household name like Lemond. Instead, he often cut himself off at the knees with his outlandish behavior. He was ejected from the Tour de France for spitting at a camera motorcycle and never made it back to the grand Tour.

Regardless of what Alexi did or didn’t do in his life and career, you have to respect a guy who does it his way and makes no apologies. One of the things I loved about Alexi after I watched his old races was how he never gave up.

Alexi has a blog which seems to be set up to help him tell his stories, and his comeback by way of donations. It might just be the most interesting cycling blog around. If this guy ever writes a book, it’s going to make A Dog in a Hat(which is a great book) look boring. While Alexi was a feared competitor on the racecourse, he is also a great writer. His honesty and candor combined with the historical context of his stories is really interesting. I recommend reading “The Skinsuit: A.K.A The Olymics in L.A.” It would be great to see Alexi out there on the roads this summer. It would be an honor to get to race with him once.

Even better, it would be great to see him ride the Quiznos Pro Challenge as one final swan song. Bravo to Alexi for making a run at a comeback at age 50. That’s a task only the strongest would ever take on and it’s a reminder to us all that it’s never to late.

Good luck Alexi.

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