By Cycling Dad:
This is an open letter to Michael Creed, Pro Cyclist currently with team Optum Pro Cycling in the USA.
I was fortunate to get to know you during my time as an exchange student in Colorado Springs in 1995/1996, when I was invited to a few training rides to the US Olympic Training Centre. Back then I must have been a much better negotiator than I am today, because I managed to talk you into swapping your 1995 Colorado State Champion jersey for the team jersey of my German cycling club Pulheimer SC (not quite as glamorous, at least at that time). You were the very best athlete in my age bracket that I have ever had the honour of racing wheel to wheel with. While my cycling career vanished first into a sea of beer with little cycling, then years of studying with more beer and a career start in Hong Kong with an occasional pint and still very little cycling, you stayed true to your – to our – passion and turned professional. I have seen you race, and I will eternally respect your mental and physical strengths in competition.
I regret seeing cycling as a pro sports in its most profound crisis ever, and that you had to start your career right at the time when this crisis was already building up. You must have gone through some quite rough patches “growing up” as a pro cyclist in this system, sadly both despite and because you most likely have never doped yourself. A lot of things need to be, and hopefully will be rectified in professional cycling. But the damage to our sports is done. To me, the saddest part of all this is knowing that gifted sportsmen like you are denied the full endorsement and support they deserve. Professional athletes like you should be role models to our youngest. Clean sports – on all performance levels – is absolutely essential for that. Luckily, your current team Optum Pro Cycling seems to support high ethical standards in sports.
Let us never forget, however, that for most of us reading this blog (and I am certain for you too!), cycling is more than just a competitive sport. What unites us all is the enjoyment of a great ride, sucking up impressions, scents and landscapes as we cycle past. Cycling is life.
Pathos aside, to keep the fun in cycling and return to the origninal idea of this letter, I am offering you a chance to get back your State Champion jersey. If you come to Europe in August to cycle the Oetztaler Cycle Marathon with me, I will gladly hand back the piece, which has been my most priced cycling accessory over the past few years. Considering my cycling track record since we last met, I can assure you that it is almost as good as new. The Oetztaler Cycle Marathon is one of the most beautiful semi-professional/amateur cycling events in Europe, and I am sure you could finish the course with an impressive time.
I know you are following this blog because there can only be one person to reply to the poll in one of my previous posts “Winter Blues“: “Hell no, I am a pro cyclist and just moved to California for my winter training.” Haha, got you!
Finally, to present you the evidence that I am still holding your jersey hostage, here’s a recent photo of me wearing it while looking after my son Konstantin. Let me know if you are in, so I that I can wash the jersey before handing it back to you.