In the wake of Ted King’s amazing victory at Dirty Kanza, not to mention the utterly crushing disappointment of defending champion Yuri Hauswald’s mechanical-induced DNF, there’s been a bit of a storm brewing over the performance of one rider.
Nick Frey, a former pro roadie, took his second start at the Dirty Kanza 200 and rode well enough to make the selection of 23 and ultimately cross the line in sixth. However … he was disqualified for taking feeds outside the official support areas. You can read his account of what took place (as well as his musings on bamboo bikes, race organization, the nature of man and a few other topics) here.
When I first read about this, I really felt for the guy. I was under the impression that he’d simply gotten water from people on the course, which strikes me as no biggie. But gradually, thanks to social media and a very pointed blog post by Chad Ament, it came out that Frey, who claimed not to have a crew, not only had a crew including his mom, dad and business partner, but had them driving the course giving him support.
Frey claimed in his post not to know why he was DQ’ed, yet in a Facebook comment to a post by VeloNews staffer Kristen Legan he says he offered to DQ himself at the finish (“… I voluntarily DQ’ed myself right after the race …”).
That suggests he’s clear on the rules, right?
Yet, in his blog post he wrote, “I did not give the event the respect it deserves, and didn’t read all of the rules or go to the rider meeting.” Rather contrarily, he writes moments later, “My admission does not, however, profess complete lack of understanding—I do know how to race a bike and what rules exist in these events.”
I was getting lost. Did he or didn’t he know the rules?
In another of his comments to Legan’s post, he writes that if the organizer is going to have “a lengthy and STRICT list of rules, I suggest enforcing them exactly as written and making them black and white.”
You can’t have it both ways. If he really doesn’t know the rules, then he’s not in a position to say they didn’t enforce them. And if he knows the rules, then why was he breaking them if not intentionally?
I really didn’t know what to think until I saw a post by Hauswald on Twitter that took issue with Frey’s claim that he hadn’t intended to break the rules. It’s a screenshot from a comment by Frey in which he thanks his crew by name—Drew Haugen, Doug Frey, Kathy Murphy and Nadiya Mitelman-Frey. I wouldn’t have an issue with that had his blog post not included the following line:
“So when I started DK on Saturday, my intentions were in no way planned to require outside assistance.”
At that point, I no longer believed that guy was trying to tell the truth. But that’s not the biggest issue I have with Frey’s perspective. It was in one of his many comments to Legan’s Facebook post he wrote the following:
“If you’re going to position the event as a Leadville 100 with big names racing for course records, you have to take the responsibility of the fact those people are going to push boundaries in the name of speed.”
I have two problems with this. First, this is how you get doping. “Pushing boundaries” is just a polite euphemism for cheating. My second issue is that if you’re going to cheat, don’t try to push the responsibility for the cheating off on the organizer. If you cheat, you victimize your fellow competitors and the organizer, and if you try to make it the organizer’s fault that you cheated, well that’s just victim blaming and we’ve been over that. Be a man and admit that you’re choosing to break the rules for personal gain.
The sad part here is that while he professes to love the race, he has the temerity to actually insult the event, an event around which many people structure their entire season.
“If you want to have your little bike race in middle of Kansas and never make it a big deal, go ahead and keep it small and underground.”
I suspect he thinks his is an elegant purpose, to shine a light on poorly conceived rules by showing the ways they can be misinterpreted and how they really need to step up their game if they hope to build it into something that could draw 1700 or so people without becoming big and corporate.
Which is precisely what they’ve done, without his help.
Image: C. Heller