Culture

iamTedKing: Supersized

Ten-lane highways. Venti. And of course, the mere fact that there exists something called a Triple Baconator. There’s no getting around the fact that seemingly everything is bigger in America. This is noticeable the moment I got back on home soil, since the list of “everything” includes the two-hour wait I slogged through immediately after landing while creeping through customs.

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Ted King: Back in the US of A

Ted King: Back in the US of A

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Ten-lane highways. Venti. And of course, the mere fact that there exists something called a Triple Baconator. There’s no getting around the fact that seemingly everything is bigger in America. This is noticeable the moment I got back on home soil, since the list of “everything” includes the two-hour wait I slogged through immediately after landing while creeping through customs.

This year marked an enormous change for me as I went from three years of racing professionally in America to a full European campaign with the Cervélo TestTeam. A new closet of kit and different bikes are the obvious differences, but there is so much more to it than just these superficial changes. A new culture and customs, new language, different foods and lifestyles, not to mention living an entire ocean away from friends and family, all make for monumental changes in my life.

There is no doubt that racing at this level is a job. I have a daily responsibility that involves riding my bike and I take that responsibility head on. But what uniquely transcends that fact is that cycling is still a passion. Therefore, perfectly fitting into this scenario is my overall philosophy: life is an adventure! I’m having a blast experiencing life in Europe and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

At the same time, however, it’s a great feeling to be back home! There is something very calming about being in my home country. Having no trouble whatsoever with the language, being able to use my own currency, and fully knowing how to order food all come to mind as reasons why. Yet there is still some unnamed component that adds to the reassurance of being in America – even if everything is bigger!

August featured rigorous training and racing for me, so after finishing up the four-day Tour of Limousin I was really excited to come straight back to the United States for our national championships. Going into the race, I truly thought I would not be happy with anything short of a victory. Using a Michael Scott’s word, indubitably, that’s a lofty goal, but you have to dream big if you want to win big.

To race without any teammates – especially in a one-day race – straight away makes for difficult circumstances, and to look at results, I obviously didn’t succeed in taking the win. But in truth I’m pleased with how I raced. I put it all out there, did what I could, took my chances, and yet still came up short. C’est la vie, that’s racing.

The biggest shock I noticed at nationals was how much more I was recognized than years past. Yeah, the white Cervélo kit is pretty darn flashy, but that doesn’t account for hearing my name cheered dozens of times all throughout the course. The days before the race, I was equally flattered with how many people sought me out for photographs or interviews. I was even cruising quickly through the grocery store and had someone ask for my autograph there – I happily obliged since grocery store sightings/signings are still a novelty for me.

Please don’t read this as a smug outlet for self-prescribed ego boost! Rather, I’m pointing out how true the saying is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sure, I have a new team, new kit, and new bike, but I’m still the same Ted King. Yeah, I have a whole host of new daily culture differences, but I still approach life as one big adventure.

And what better way to wrap up my stateside racing than with the Tour of Missouri? The Show Me State is a 10-lane highway crossroads of America. So whether it’s a Supersized or Venti, I’m psyched to be back in my native culture and racing in the big ol’ US of A.


Editor’s note: This year Ted King is making his professional European racing debut with the Cervélo TestTeam. After getting a taste for the European peloton with the U.S. espoir national team in 2005, King returned to the United States for three successful years of domestic pro racing. The 26-year-old is a native of New Hampshire and despite his affinity for hearty servings of coffee, he is slowly adapting to the smaller European portions. Slowly. His diaries appear sporadically on VeloNews.com; between the scanty portions we serve up, you can follow Ted at www.Cervelo.com/team and www.iamTedKing.MissingSaddle.com. Those of you content with 140 characters or less can track his activities at www.twitter.com/iamtedking.