Across miles and generations, cycling bonds Tetrick family
Paul Tetrick, 82, loves time trials. Riding his trusty Zipp 404-Zipp disc combo, he’s won a drawer full of USA Cycling master’s national TT titles. “I don’t know for sure,” Tetrick, of Colorado, responded when asked how many. “It’s more than a dozen.”
Yet when he lined up in September for his 20km race at the Paula Higgins Memorial Record Challenge TT, he felt some extra family pressure. Granddaughter Alison Tetrick – a 28-year-old pro with the Zipp-sponsored Team Exergy TWENTY16 – was starting her 40km run on the famous out-and-back course in New Mexico about 10 minutes behind Paul.
“I was afraid she might catch me,” Paul quipped. That didn’t happen. In fact, beyond their competitive spirits, Paul and Alison have drawn closer because of their love of cycling.
Paul keeps track of his granddaughter’s races across the globe. He’s not on email much, so he calls Alison to catch up. (She jokes that her grandfather is on Zipp Carbon Clinchers but not email.)
Paul talks proudly of her recent second place at the Chrono des Nations time trial in France and that Alison, a biochemistry major in college, is taking an online course to continue her education. He points out that she’s interested in studying head injuries in female athletes – something Alison has had to overcome in her own cycling career.
As grandfathers often do, Paul offers advice. “She works too hard. She doesn’t get enough rest,” said Paul, adding that athletes need to remember that proper rest is equal in importance to hard work. “She doesn’t get that. She’s very intense.”
Alison said, “He has taught me to never settle for less than the very best I can do, as well as teaching me that competition and sport can be a lifestyle.”
Paul is a testament to cycling as a lifelong sport. He began riding around 1989 when bad knees prevented running. Paul, a retired general contractor, rides six days a week for a couple of hours a day. When it’s less than 40 degrees, he’s on the trainer.
Riding around his home in Evergreen, Colo., keeps him fit and alert. “We live at 8,000 feet. Nothing but hills here, expect one little spot where it’s flat,” Paul said. “It keeps you awake mentally when you’re riding because you have to be alert around traffic… downhills… big animals.”
One of Alison’s first competitive bike rides was the Pillar-to-Post Hill Climb in Colorado, an event she did at Paul’s urging. Alison had been a college tennis player and was pursuing triathlon, but her strong performance on the bike turned her toward cycling. She treasures times such as the New Mexico time trial when they can be together on their bikes. “My grandpa is the first person who told me I should race bikes, and it was special to be racing alongside of him because there I was, doing what he had encouraged, and overcoming the odds along the way,” Alison said.