HOME: Victoria, British Columbia
WHO: Ex-professional cyclist. Started in mountain biking, taking a silver medal in the 2003 World Championships before turning to road cycling, winning the Giro d’Italia in 2012. He spends his winters in Maui and the rest of the time in Victoria, although has taken to going on solo cycling adventures around the world, adventures that CHPT3 intends to chronicle. For a full bio of Ryder Hesjedal, please read David Millar’s book, The Racer.
WHO: Once described as the ‘James Bond of the Mountains’, Kenton is one of Britain’s greatest alpine climbers (alpine climbing refers to mountain climbing in its most classic form - an alpine climber uses a wide range of techniques to gain a summit, often carrying the bare minimum of technical gear, and relying instead on a deep skill base, adaptability, and good decision making). He and his climbing partners were nominated for the Piolet d’Or in 2003 for their new route on Annapurna III.
He has summited Mount Everest 12 times, and has completed 31 successful expeditions in the Greater Ranges - including making ski descents of two 8000m peaks (there are only 14 mountains globally above the magic 8000m mark).
In 2012 he made good on an 88-year-old pledge to take a 1924 Olympic Gold Medal to the summit of Everest. The medals were awarded to the members of the 1922 British Everest Expedition for “Outstanding feats of human endeavour” after their so-near-yet-so-far attempt at summiting Everest. The pledge was made by Lt Col Strutt and Baron Pierre de Courbertin, Kenton unearthed the lost pledge and vowed he would fulfill it, Lord Coe personally thanked Kenton and his team helping “kick start the 2012 Olympic Games”.
He splits his time between the small village of Mont-Saxonnex where he spends his time as director of the Dream Guides, a Chamonix-based mountain and ski guiding company, and the village of Quenington in Gloucestershire in the UK with his wife Jazz and their two children. He has famously said, when asked about the loss of his 40+ friends through mountaineering, “It’s completely unstylish to get stuffed in the mountains… I want to die with my feet up in front of the fire drinking a glass of red wine aged about 95.”
HOME: Girona, Spain
WHO: Born in rural eastern Canada, the bike opened up a new world for Christian, taking him to the west coast of Canada and the US before finally landing him in Spain. The decision to leave home as a teenager to pursue his dream led to 17 years of bike racing and multiple National Championship victories across different disciplines.
He became respected as one of the most reliable and successful domestiques in the World Tour, firstly with Garmin Slipstream followed and concluded with Orica Greenedge. His contributed to victories in Monuments as well as Grand Tours.
Unlike many professional cyclists he had other passions outside of cycling, namely coffee, so much so that he gave up a signed contract with his team in order to fully concentrate on the development of the two cafes he and his wife, Amber, had opened in Girona: La Fabrica and Espresso Mafia. Remarkably he maintained his high level of professionalism on the bike during the start up of both cafes, yet it was their success that made him curtail his cycling career in order to focus fully on what he considered to be his long term future.
Though not racing anymore his passion for cycling still shone brightly and he and Amber decided to open a third business, The Service Course, which focuses on providing cyclists visiting Girona with an exclusive level of service. The days of chasing breakaways has been replaced with days of roasting coffee, guiding clients, and enjoying life.
HOME: Isle of Man
WHO: Although named after the motorcycle racer, Cal Rayborn, it wasn’t until Cal was 11 that he became interested in the sport himself. Up to then he’d been into football and was good enough to be trialled at both Coventry City and Aston Villa until a knee injury forced him to change direction.
In 2011 he joined the most prestigious racing category in world motorcycling, Moto GP, he sealed the Rookie of the Year award when he finished 4th in the final race of the season. 2012 saw one of his greatest rides at the British GP: with a broken and dislocated ankle from a crash in the pre-race practice, the doctors allowed him to race, and from the back of the grid he came through to finish 6th.
In 2014 he joined the prestigious factory Ducati team, the season was plagued with mechanical issues and saw him leave the team for the LCR-Honda team in 2015, an excellent decision as it turned out. 2016 saw him win his first Moto Grand Prix, and in the process end the 35-year dry spell at the top flight of the sport for the British – the previous Briton to win being the legendary Barry Sheene at the 1981 Swedish Grand Prix.
HOME: Amsterdam and Los Angeles
WHO: Ex-professional cyclist. Thomas was considered one of the greatest talents of his generation, finding himself the hope of a nation from the age of 19 when he represented the Netherlands in the Time Trial at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Professional cycling at that time rarely saw young riders score results in the biggest races, primarily due to the doping culture that prevailed and benefited the older riders more than the neophytes. Thomas bucked this trend, becoming national champion at 19 in a cycling powerhouse nation and performing in races normally considered way beyond riders of his age.
In 2005 he continued his ascension, winning stages in important races such as Criterium International and Tour de Pologne, 2006 saw him win the overall of Tirreno-Adriatico, becoming only the third Dutch rider to do so. 2007 saw him win the Tour de Romandie, a mountainous stage race in Switzerland, before taking part in his first Tour de France where he disappointingly finished 35th.
During this period his UCI Biological Passport was indicating anomalous readings, so much so the UCI started target testing him, it was a sample taken in 2007 that would lead to his downfall two years later when it was retested and EPO was discovered. He was informed only two days before the 2009 Tour de France was to start, a race he was due to take part in.
He was banned for two years and revealed he’d been doping since joining the Dutch Rabobank team in 2005 where a doping culture had existed since the mid 1990s. He returned to racing in 2011 with David Millar’s Garmin team where they subsequently became friends having shared similar experiences in the world of professional cycling. Thomas retired from racing after falling short by just 200m short of breaking the UCI World Hour Record in 2015. He has written two books, both best-sellers in the Netherlands.
WHO: Son of Rafael de Medina Fernandez de Cordoba, XIX Duke of Feria and Spanish celebrity/model Naty Abascal. They are descendants of the Duke of Medinaceli, one of the oldest and most important noble houses in Europe, known among other things for financing Cristobal Colon’s first trip to the Americas. Educated in the USA, he has High School degrees from Kiski School (Pittsburgh, PA) and University Major in Int’l Business Administration for the American University, Washington D.C.
After graduation and a few months working for a Hedge Fund Advisory company in NYC the twin towers collapsed, followed soon after by his father passing away, after ten years in the US he decided it was time to head back home. He worked for four years at Credit Suisse Private Banking then a short year at Havas Sports, a branding and marketing advisory firm for companies that wanted to be present in worldwide sports events.
In the meantime, with a few friends, he started up Scalpers. A fashion brand created from scratch, targeted to men 25-35 years old. From nothing it rapidly grew to owning 95 stores (plus 80 retailers) in Spain and abroad selling smart casual and formal mens wear, and eight years later he was hired by Inditex (owner of Zara) to manage their sartorial division at Massimo Dutti. Since his early twenties, pre-social media mania, he was in the GQ Most Stylish List for Spain, UK, Mexico and the Vanity Fair Best Dressed International Men in the USA and Spanish editions.
Sports, and in particular cycling, have been an outlet for Rafael, helping him distance himself from the social circus he was once caught up in when younger. It can best be understood in the Spanish documentary, ‘Pedales’ made about him in Spain a few years ago.
WHO: Baden Cooke, aka Cookie. A nickname he holds for two reasons: 1, Aussies like to put an “ie” on anything that stands still long enough. 2, He happens to be a monster, in a good way, on and off the bike.
He’s from the small town of Benalla, in Victoria, and began racing when he was 11 years of age. After leaving school Baden joined the Australian track team and also spent time with the Australian road team in Italy before eventually turning pro in the US.
His American team, Mercury, made a rare move for a US outfit and entered the continental European scene. This meant Baden found himself up against some of the best bike racers in the world, and immediately he showed he was more than capable of it, in the process bringing himself to the attention of the biggest teams in the sport.
His ascension was rapid, he joined the Francaise des Jeux team, and formed a highly effective racing group with fellow Australians and FDJ team mates, Bradley McGee and Matthew Wilson. Their loyalty to each other bore fruit quickly, in the 2003 Tour de France Baden won not only a stage but also the Green Jersey. Although that was the pinnacle of his success he is still held as one of the most formidable sprinters and Flandrian racers of his time.
He retired from cycling in 2013 after 14 years as a professional with 50 victories. Only recently did he leave his European home of Monaco to return to Melbourne, where nowadays his time is dedicated to the continued development of Factor Bikes and Black Inc wheels, both of which he is a part owner.
Raised by human parents in a part of England so anonymous that it defies description (Bedford), Ned attained Grade Five in the clarinet by the age of 13. Then he chucked it in.
Since then, but only after a brief (five year) spell of acting (unemployment) in the Federal Republic of Germany, he has gone on to spend 14 consecutive Julys since talking to, and now talking about, bicyclists on the Tour de France.
Having been schooled as a football reporter for Sky Sports and then ITV Sport, he was thrown into the deep end when he was sent to Paris as part of ITV’s Tour de France presentation team to cover the centenary race in 2003.
It was here that he first encountered David Millar, or at least that incarnation of David Millar that wore the red of Cofidis and thought everything was “just horrible”.
Famously, David managed to ship his chain on the Prologue, just as he was closing in on victory. Infamously, Ned then told the TV nation that David had just “thrown away his chance of winning the Yellow Jumper”. He wrote a book with that title about falling in love with cycling, and then three more books about the greatest, maddest sport on the planet. Every autumn, these days, he tours the country with Britain’s only one-man cycling-based comedy show. We probably only need one, as a nation.
As David put it: “I adore the sport of cycling. I could watch it all day, every day. And now, as half of ITV’s commentary team, I watch alongside the man whose career taught me everything I needed to know about the chaos of a bike race; in all its warty magnificence, deviance and bravery. How good’s that?”
Next year, Ned is going for his Grade Six Tour de France.
For a chance to see Ned up close this year, check out his UK Tour Bikeology
HOME: Marin County, California
WHO: In some circles, it’s said that Nate is one of the greatest squandered talents (of hundreds, of course) of his generation. Why? He started racing road bicycles at the tender age of 23 as a rank amateur with no sporting background to speak of on a $500 claptrap, and within six months had a US domestic professional contract in hand, capable of time-trialing with the strongest on the circuit. The alternative to racing his bike at such a late age, he claims? Joining the French Foreign Legion. His rise was unheard of, the quintessential rags-to-riches, bike messenger-cum-professional tale. Though, that same sharp trajectory that propelled him to success also left him mentally adrift after a few short, difficult seasons racing without results, and as he’s put it, “I was always a great bike-riding professional, but never a good professional bike racer, if that makes sense”.
Still, his penchant for riding and racing in places with US State Department travel advisories is legendary. He’s known as a latent Latin after spending winters training in Colombia before Nairo made it cool, and his voluptuous thirst for novel knowledge when it comes to culture and cycling is idiosyncratic when it comes to most professional cyclists. His CV contains a laundry list of career pursuits, including exotic dancer and professional photographer, keynoting his desire to do everything completely differently without deviation. Mr King chooses the path (far) less traveled in most all things, even personal. He grew up as a Mormon in Utah, and eschewed the faith of his family at 14 while chasing punk rock rebellion. He married a woman eleven years his senior at 26, creating a family complete with three teenage stepsons. For his relatively young age, his life experience is vast, fast, without regrets, and filled with self-deprecation.
While he officially retired from road racing in 2015, Nate has been known to contest a gravel race or three, as well as accept random call-ups for stage races in the former Eastern Bloc or various Caribbean Islands (or as he calls it, “Adventure Racing”). His unique outlook led to a concurrent career in the cycling industry, where after time in the trenches at numerous high-profile brands, he’s found himself as the brand manager at Above Category, a San Francisco-based premium cycling retailer, guiding product and marketing decisions along with extensive amounts of writing. That said, he won’t be shy to admit that most days, he still misses the Peter Pan-lifestyle he adapted when he raced for a (tiny) paycheque.
HOME: Los Angeles
Dave Zabriskie has ridden for the best cycling teams in the world and has won stages in the Tour de France, the Giro de Italia, and the Vuelta Espana. He has multiple podium finishes in the World Championship Time Trial and is a record breaking 7-time National Time Trial Champion, earning him the nickname “Captain America.” He has also won stages and podium placements 6 times in the Tour of California -- and in his retirement from professional cycling, Dave, as a part of a four man team called “Legends of the Road,” won the Race Across America and has most recently won the Santa Barbara 100 Mile Mountain bike race. In addition to being a world-class road cyclist and mountain bike fanatic, Dave Zabriskie is an Olympian, a cycling safety advocate and chamois cream mastermind.
As a result of being hit by cars five times and the countless others who are injured, or worse yet, killed each year, Dave created —“YIELD TO LIFE”— a non-profit dedicated to helping keeping cyclists safe on the road, promoting cycling as a healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyle and ensuring the safety of those who cycle. Dave's goal is to prevent the senseless accidents that keep occurring between motorists and cyclists by heightening awareness, fostering respect, and strengthening understanding between and among all those who use the roads.
Cycling safety is not the only issue Dave has combated. After struggling with his own chamois issues and writing popular main-taint-enance articles, Dave decided to fulfill a long standing dream to create the world’s best chamois cream. In 2008, he did just that when he launched DZNUTS – a premium chamois cream company making specially formulated chamois creams for men, and through popular demand has expanded to a woman’s line, DZNUTS Bliss as well as an embrocation line. DZNUTS has sponsored the best Pro Tour Teams in the world as well as the best professional cyclists and is popular with pros and non-pros alike. DZNUTS is now the first in the industry to go completely preservative free while adding certified organic ingredients.
His latest and arguably most adventurous and potentially most successful venture is teaming up with his old friend, Floyd Landis, in Floyd´s of Leadville. They are building a company that legally grows and sells marijuana infused products.