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An interview with Jeremy Grimm, December 29, 2005
Everything is Permissible
Runner-up at the USCF Masters 30+ Criterium in 2005, Jeremy Grimm aims his sights on more success with his ambitious new team, Abercrombie & Fitch Cycling p/b Inferno Racing, in 2006. He also works to spread the word about Lyme disease, after his own 4-year struggle with the illness.
Jeremy on the attack
Residence: Orrville, OH Height: 5' 11" Race Weight: 197 lbs Race Age: 32USCF Cat: 1Specialty:
Teams: Orrville Cycling (2002), Team Akron (2003), Savage Hill (2004), Inferno Racing (2006)
Jeremy Grimm is no stranger to racing at a national level. He raced as a junior between ages 6 and 12. "My dad injured his knee while playing semi-pro football, and started cycling for rehab. He got me involved in the sport", Jeremy recalls. "I remember racing against George Hincapie frequently [as a junior]."
But Jeremy left cycling for 10-11 years, getting involved in more mainstream sports like baseball and football. He had success on the diamond, throwing an 89 mph fastball and hitting a few 450 ft home runs.
In 1991, however, Jeremy became ill. He struggled with serious illness for 4 years, before finally being diagnosed with Lyme disease, a tick borne illness more common on the East Coast of the United States, but less well known in Ohio. A previous article by Leslie Pearce-Keating describes in more detail this four-year ordeal. Eventually, with treatment, and much help from his family, friends and faith, Jeremy recovered from Lyme disease. Today, Jeremy works to inform people about Lyme disease. See the following link to the CDC for more information.
CDC Website on Lyme Disease: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/
In 2000, Jeremy's father returned to cycling. "My brother started riding in 2001, and I couldn't let him beat me", Jeremy says, betraying his competitive drive. In 2002, he started racing with the Orrville Cycling Club. In 2003, Jeremy moved to Team Akron. He was recruited by Savage Hill Racing the following year and was competing as an Elite amateur. In 2005, he was runner-up in the USCF Masters 30+ Criterium while racing for Savage Hill. In 2006, he'll join Inferno Racing, a new team with high ambitions - the team hopes to eventually attain UCI Continental Pro status. [See also a previous interview with Shawn Adams for more about Inferno Racing. -ed]
Inferno, which is already supported by Masi bicycles, recently reached a title sponsorship agreement with Abercrombie & Fitch, a major milestone on their quest for UCI Continental Pro status. (See a brief Dec 21 release at Cyclingnews about the deal, 8th news item.)
About a few of his new teammates on Abercrombie & Fitch Cycling p/b Inferno Racing, Jeremy says, " Todd Shaker is going to impress a lot of people next year. He's also putting in some big training hours. Chad Thompson is very good - he's been racing for 19+ years."
Jeremy explains that together, Chad Thompson, team director of Abercrombie & Fitch Cycling p/b Inferno Racing, and Ryan Rish, Elite rider for Savage Hill Racing, approached the other riders on Savage Hill's Elite team about the possibility of joining Inferno. "I'm really excited about the new team", he says. "But I feel like the low man on the totem pole. There's a lot of talent on the team. I'm anxious to lose some weight and help the guys any way I can."
Jeremy admits that his weight has been a struggle. When he returned to cycling in 2001, He says he weighed around 280 lbs. More recently his, race weight has been closer to 195, and his target is 185 lbs. "I'm now really focused on diet. I've made a big change to organic foods - it's difficult and a bit expensive. I try to get whole wheat bread, eggs, chicken, a protein drink. It's hard to eat enough vegetables. I really like chocolate, pizza and ice cream. But I have to avoid them."
"'Everything is permissible', but not everything is constructive", Jeremy says, quoting Corinthians, and hinting at how important his faith is to his cycling and life in general. "The way I eat is a sin. People may laugh at that but deep inside I know I need to quit!"
Faith and family are the first priority for Jeremy. He met his wife, Becky, while he was ill with Lyme disease. They have 1-1/2-year-old daughter, Caylin. Today, Jeremy still often trains with his father, Bob, who now races for the Summit Freewheelers of Akron. "I ride with dad this time of year. We try to ride together as much as we can. He rides 12-14 hrs per week on average."
"There's just a time when you have to [attack] - when the pace drops for just that second... I've even ridden off the road to attack"
- Jeremy on his racing tactics
Regarding his own strengths, Jeremy says "my decision making ability, tactical skills, are probably my greatest strength. There's just a time when you have to go - when the pace drops for just that second and you have to attack. I've taken chances, even ridden off the road, to attack if I have to."
Many would probably mention his sprinting ability. "I can't really call myself a sprinter", he says, "because I don't feel that I've proven myself yet." We might disagree with his assessment, but Jeremy obviously has more he'd like to accomplish.
"When I feel good, I go hard."
- Jeremy on his training methods
Jeremy's training is relatively unstructured. "When I feel good, I go hard. There's not a lot of structure. For me, the best recovery is off the bike totally. I can't go day in day out with back to back intensity in training. But I can race that way, if I'm motivated." He averaged around 7-8 hours of weekly volume last season, although this average includes a significant period that was interrupted by illness.
"I'll target 12-14 hours weeks in the next three months to focus on my base fitness and weight loss. I know the fitness will come back. It might take 4-5 NRC races before it comes back, but I'll stick with it."
"Last year the longer road races killed me. I lacked the endurance. This year, I'm a little overweight, but not like previous years. We have a number of guys on the new team who can train a lot. I just want to help them. I want to lead-out guys when I can and to race smart. I usually know what to do in the last lap, probably because of my experience racing as a youth."
"Robbie [Ventura] described the move as 'kind of dicey'"
- Describing a key move at Crit Masters 30+
In 2005, Jeremy was runner-up in the USCF Masters 30+ Criterium, at Downer's Grove, IL. His tactics during that race apparently made the highlight reel. "Robbie Ventura made a training video out of this year's race. My move in the second to last turn, on the last lap, shows up in the video. I passed 15-20 guys before the corner, and came into the turn pretty fast. To keep from laying hard on the brakes, I had to pass Robbie on the inside. Robbie described the move as 'kind of dicey' in his video." [Robbie Ventura's "Race Day" video is available at this link. -ed.]
Regarding risks, Jeremy says, "I do think about them ahead of time." About his move at Maters Nationals, he says, " I tried to stay out of the wrestling match [near the front during the last lap]. It was so fast, you had to use a lot of energy just to stay in position. The whole last lap was over 32 mph. That's why I had to come from so far back - I was sitting 15-20 guys back in the pack. I passed a lot of guys into that turn. I knew I wasn't going to crash, but I was worried about wrecking someone else. I'm typically more afraid of crashing someone else than actually going down myself." He added, "there are some guys who are deliberately physical. I try to avoid that. Although, I have bumped elbows occasionally with friends at the Westlake training series."
Ironically, he says "I hate criteriums. I love road races." One highlight from last season came during a road stage of the Tour Ohio. "There were five guys ahead of the pack, including [new teammate] Andy Applegate and Caleb Manion [Jelly Belly]. They were 50 yards ahead of the chase group the whole time. I was in the field and didn't realize they were so close. I decided to do something with 2 laps to go, and tried my hardest to bring back the move. Eventually, I get up to the break, and there were two riders just ahead of us. Caleb and Rozdilsky finished 17 seconds ahead of the pack." Jeremy was 7th at the finish.
"I wish I could do more races like that. I kept getting stronger through the season - probably because I wasn't getting much training volume. I could race into fitness."
Jeremy tries to train outdoors as much as possible this time of year. When training indoors, he likes to listen to Christian hard rock - Toby Mac and Skillet - or to watch the "Race Day" video by Robbie Ventura.
Our interview was coming to an end, and we were grateful for Jeremy's time. But before we concluded we had to know… had he ever actually broken the cranks off a bicycle? "No, never the cranks. I broke apart a bottom bracket. I've also snapped a steer tube, and broke a fork while attacking on a climb during [the] Wilkesville [stage of the Tour Ohio]."
Before we parted, Jeremy added the following comments " I want to give special thanks to Ryan Rish, Abercrombie & Fitch, Masi Bikes, and Chad Thompson. Also, to every racer who gave me some advice when I was sick this year, [Stark Velo] teammate Jim Flesher who is my brother - he prayed with me and for my family. But most importantly God, [his wife] Becky, our daughter, Caylin, [father] Bob, [mother] Rickey, they all have helped me do what I love to do."
"I would also like to thank [Stark Velo] for writing about Lyme Disease, it means more than anyone will know, please help spread the good news about Jesus and [information about] Lyme Disease. 'Everything is permissible' — but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible'— but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)"
Thanks, Jeremy! And best of luck to you and your teammates in 2006.