Last summer Zac Davies, a 27-year-old professional road bike racer from Madison, Wisconsin, privateered in Central America instead of racing for his team of record, Fly-V, because his team of record was corrupt and unscrupulous, and was then in the process of shamefully dissolving—the result of illegal and amoral directorial transgressions.
On a plane to one of the few domestic races Zac participated in last year, he met and spoke with Remi McManus. Not too long after, he was offered a spot with Team Exergy. In the meantime, as in that winter, Zac elected (in order to continue racing) to have surgery on his hip to repair a torn labrum, and after three weeks of extensive and challenging and, frankly, depressing physical therapy in various centers and hospital rooms, yet another surgery, this one on his shoulder to repair yet another torn labrum—this one the result of being hit by a car while riding.
In January of 2012, Zac came to Sponsor Camp in slings and crutches. A month later he came to Training Camp in a similar state, his Spring Training limited to physical therapy exercises and riding trainers on back decks and porches, in basements and garages, alone, his maximum (allowable) power output a dismal 100 watts and for no more than 45 minutes.
And now, in May, Zac is living in a backpacking tent next to a camper behind a hotel in a campground on the banks of the Virgin River near the entrance to Zion National Park, to convalesce and Spring Train, unfettered, liberated, at last. “It’s time to launch my comeback and make my way back to the top of the Domestic Peloton.”
In fact, two years into his official professional racing career and Zac has done very little actual racing—ironic, considering as a staigiare (in 2010) Zac raced US PRO, Tour of Hainan and Tour of Shanghai for the winningest domestic team in America.
Through all of this Zac is convinced, remarkably, of several things, and not just any “things” but the kind of sometimes counter-intuitive-type things that are ultimately invaluable, things like;
- Professional Road Bike Racing is fun – that’s right, fun. Zac Davies, oddly enough, loves riding and racing his bike for fun, and of course money and competition and sport.
- Cute girls, friends, fans (people) make everything, even the worst of situations, situations like 4+ months of rehabilitation, appointments, crutching, check-ups, etc., more tolerable, and even maybe, enriching.
- Ultra lightweight Mountain Bike Touring (solo) for two weeks in the Colorado High Alpine is a good way to train for International UCI Pro Tour races.
- Travel (as in spending most of the 2011 race season living and racing in Belize, Mexico, Panama, etc.) can be informative, transformative, enjoyable and if nothing else, it’s often interesting.
- Because of (and in spite of) doctors and surgeries and physical therapy and catheters and addictive medications and slings and exercises, etc., he will heal and race again.
Zac, though unvetted and unproven and under-raced, maintains an extraordinary attitude.
There is something about living on the fringe that keeps me motivated. I live in a tent next to my friend’s camper. Every day he goes out and guides people into Slot Canyons while I ride-up every plateaus in south-eastern Utah. All my teammates are racing while I am stuck back in the winter months of base training and so my rides have a dream like quality to them. Often I spend hours riding up a hill in an imaginary race, talking to myself, getting water bottles, bridging, attacking, racing.