Words cannot begin to describe how impressed I am with my grandfather, Paul Tetrick.
I call him “Grampy” by the way.
He “aged” up this year to the experienced 80 years old, and made the trek to Bend, Oregon (as you know is one of my favorite places of all time…) for USA Cycling Master’s Nationals.
I have written about him in bios in the past, because the guy is just simply incredible. With over 14 national titles to his name, he thought he would go for it another year. And by it, I mean another national title. Sure, why not.
It gives me the chills I am so inspired.
He is the first person who told me I could go to the Olympics in cycling. At this time, I had smaller legs, and bigger shoulders (hard to imagine, I know…), and was playing tennis. I was thinking about tennis skirts and biochemistry. I was thinking of a lucrative career in a lab coat and recreational running. I didn’t even know cycling existed.
He would just shake his head, and say, “Well, if you ever want to give cycling a try, you could really take it to the top. Believe me, Ali.”
Fast forward 5 years, and well, I am racing a bicycle around the world. I am taking the sport to the top. Thanks, Grampy. Now what do I do with it? How did he know? I haven’t asked. But I wonder.
If you follow me on Twitter (@ATetrickStarnes) or on Facebook (Alison Tetrick Starnes), then you probably have been feeling inundated with the Paul Tetrick media. It is worth it. This guy is the legit, real deal. When you get that many national titles, and you are racing your bike at 80…you deserve it. And well, he deserves it.
Paul got to nationals, and thanks to the wonders of social media, I had already warned USAC, the Twitterati, and FB that he was coming. He was told by a woman that he was a “celebrity” and all over the internet. Dave Towle gave him some love on the announcing speakers, and the well wishes flooded in. For each of you the went up to him and shook his hand, told him congratulations, or just sent me a picture as he was racing. Thank you. The support was unbelievable, and although I was in a wedding in Texas during Nationals and was unable to be there, I felt like I was there through your participation. You showed him your support for me, and I hope you were inspired by him. Thank you for supporting him, cheering for him, and posting your congratulations for his accomplishments.
Oh yeah, in case you weren’t at Master’s Nationals, my grandpa, WON the time trial by a resounding 1:37, got 2nd in the crit, and WON the road race solo by minutes. You can do the math, but that is another 2 National jerseys. He is also the first National champion for his team, Evergreen Shasta Power.
He is a true athlete. A true class act, and an incredible person. He has always believed in me, and he has shown me by example how to get to that top step. Now, I just need to get there. One step at a time.
Thanks for my dad and my Grandma who were there too to cheer him on, give him is soigneur treatment and show him the ropes.
With my victories, although I have yet to get a National title, and all my travel and the support I get….the support I got for my “Grampy” while he was at Master’s Nationals means more to me than anything. I can’t thank you enough.
Oh, I won a bike race today. More on that later. I am just a little homesick to be missing Labor Day burgers with my parents and grandparents at the ranch….
Happy Labor Day.