We asked Ted King twenty questions. Many of our questions were stupid, all of them were long. Ted King's answers to our sometimes sub-excellent questions were brilliant. What follows are Ted King's answers to our questions, which questions we refuse to publish out of embarrassment and contractual obligations. MFS Fan Club Design by Ray Masaki.
"Holy guacamole fellas. This is hands down the most questions I’ve ever received in an interview. By a factor of 50. Even more entertainingly, each question was written with the collective ADD of a an entire elementary, junior, and high school combined! Anyway, I’ll answer a few, ignore some, and try to make it conversational."
—Ted King, in regards to MFS' list of questions.
1. C.R.E.A.M. and Gravel Pit get me going. I’m also a student of Tupac’s teaching though I love both coasts. Notorious BIG is among my all time time fav’s. Ice-T, Snoop, and I remember listening to Coolio’s Gangster Paradise when I was 12, and thinking I was rad for liking it. And Wu Tang is great. I’m pretty sure the coolest part of Wu-Tang is their name—Wu-Tang—that just sounds tough. On top of that, what about the names of the guys under the Wu-Tang umbrella?; RZA, GZA, Ghostface Killa, Method Man, Inspectah Deck. But please keep this in mind, I’m from New Hampshire. Not exactly a hotbed of hip hop nor the pinnacle of any music scene.
Back in the good old days before becoming contractually required to not ski? Amigos, I’m from New Hampshire, I’ve been on skis and (ice) skates since I was two. For example, during my graduation ceremony at Middlebury (in February), I wore a cap and gown, and skis and goggles, and skied down Kelton, a trail at Middlebury's own ski area called Middlebury Snow Bowl.
One, it has to be delicious. Two, it has to fill more than a thimble. I’m not kidding, I’ve been to coffee shops in Italy where the pour barely fills the base of an espresso cup. It’s comical how little they serve you. I’ve never been to Portland, but I heard your brew is good. Beer too. And Pinot. Let’s hang out.
1380. Which is no 1600 by any stretch of the imagination. I got a 790 in math which was— I think?—only 10 points shy (for forgetting to put my name on the test) of perfect. I blame my less than stellar verbal scores on the fact that I didn’t read books. I read Calvin & Hobbes. With all due respect to those Humanities and Philosophy majors out there, I wanted to pursue a degree with some eventual function to it. I was a math major for nearly three years before it stopped making sense. You know how there are two types of kids in high school: 1.) those who are good at math, and 2.) those who are not. Well the same vetting process happens at the university level too. I was dabbling in 400 level maths courses and holy moly they get theoretical and just plain nutty. So I took my math major, downgraded it to an advanced sounding “mathematics minor”, added some econ theory classes and boom: I’m an Economics major.
In the Venn diagram of life that reads in one circle “People who graduate college” and “professional cyclists” in the other, there isn’t much overlap — like, I think there are maybe six of us.1 Which is a darn shame because collegiate cycling is the coolest! And I mean that. My entry into cycling didn’t happen until college, so there was this highly functional, self-fulfilling process to which I got my degree. That is to say, I’m thrilled I have my degree, I tell every junior cyclist in America that if they have the means to do so, they should go to a college and embrace the outlandish antics of collegiate cycling. Worst case scenario, four or five years later you’re an amateur cyclist with a college degree. Look, the success rate for people pursuing cycling as a profession is small. I’m just fortunate enough to have hit both on the head. Correction, fortunate and incredibly hard working.
Meanwhile, Peter is a circus bear and can maintain no-handed wheelies for however long he wants. That’s what’s funny about Peter. He’s already one of the most physiologically gifted people on the planet. And then, on top of that, he has the bike handling skills of a professional trials rider. And I mean that. To see him play around at a skate park or even what he can do a set of stairs is enough to make you stop and stare. As much as I want to say, “Peter, get a new move bro," I can watch a no-handed wheelie all day. The physics of that are just mystifying. Side note: I can do one-handed wheelies. But they last about 1/8 of a pedal stroke and I get my front wheel maybe a half inch off the ground.
I’m proud to say that in this particular case, cycling is bigger than Hollywood! Or at least in the microcosm of “Ted King”. Of the 186,000,000 results—which Google tells me arrived in 0.71 seconds—iamtedking.com comes up before IMDb’s biography of the soap opera legend Ted King. I can only hope that when he sits down for interview, he’s grilled with questions about the cyclist Ted King. Speaking of the '80s TV show Full House, I was much more of a Saved by the Bell kind of kid. And Zack Morris, who basically owned the '90s, is now a fledgeling amateur cyclist in SoCal—if the rumors are correct. So I can’t wait for Ted King the General Hospital star to rock up to a cocktail party with Mark Gosselaar, at which point Mark tells Ted that he needs to meet Ted. Worlds collide.
Every time the team travels to America, every one of my European racing comrades immediately assumes that I know where everything is. Look, I know where things are in my home town. And I know where to look to find things thanks to modern technology such as a cell phone and Google Maps. But my instinctive 6th sense for finding anything at the drop of a hat isn’t yet perfected. By the same token, the fact that a bunch of us (American Professional Cyclist) live in Tuscany doesn’t mean that we’re close to each other. Sure, maybe on a world wall map scale we’re a centimeter apart, but on a “get in a car and drive to dinner” scale, there are guys all over the places and it’s far. Plus everyone moved out of Lucca. I’m back in Girona, there’s been a big exodus to Nice for other Americanos. I think Ben King is the only American holding down the fort in Lucca still. GREAT town, I just dig Girona more. And why you ask? Because I said so.
Sorry dudes, the fun, juicy stories remain among friends.
Look, I understand the confusion but it still drives me nuts. As a native New Englander it took me nearly 30 years of life (on this planet) to realize that there was confusion in the first place. But the Corn Syrup Association of America, or whatever grotesque conglomerate is behind all this, has done a really good job of pouring their foul ingredient into 95% of what you find on American store shelves. So, Maple Syrup, let’s discuss it.
The reality is very simple, just like the product itself. Maple syrup should come from a tree and it’s list of ingredients should have two words, Maple and Syrup.
Now let’s discuss some of the common NOTs; Maple Syrup does not have more than two ingredients, corn syrup is not an ingredient in Maple Syrup, “maple flavoured” is not an acceptable description/term/ingredient, ‘natural and artificial flavors” are not acceptable descriptions/terms/ingredients, Maple Syrup does not come from Wyoming, or any other maple tree-less state in America, the world, the planet. Side note: Authentic, natural maple syrup cleans up with a hot damp cloth. That’s it. Nice and simple. No sandblaster required. Another side note: Honey also only has one ingredient.
In summary, Maple Syrup, 100% maple syrup, is pure gold. If you’ve never tasted the difference, the first and best thing you can do for yourself right this second, is go to a grocery store (99.9% of grocery stores in America will carry it) and pay an extra ten bucks for the real stuff.
Some fun factoids about Ted King’s relationship with Maple Syrup:
- How do you increase perfection? Heat it up! Maple syrup is heavenly. Warm maple syrup is ethereal.
- I absolutely travel with my own personal supply of Maple Syrup.
- Breakfast is the most critical meal of a cyclist's day, so whether atop oatmeal or pancakes or waffles or a spoon, maple syrup is boss.
- Speaking of which, natural maple syrup is high in minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids, it has a handful of vitamins, and is comparatively low to most sugars on the glycemic index—which means it will keep you fueled-up for the longer haul, rather than the sharp rise and crash characteristic of corn or rice syrup. It’s life’s natural fuel.
- Piping hot maple syrup atop vanilla ice cream is exquisite.
- Maple Syrup bakes well, so maple cookies, maple blondies, and especially maple pie, will make you weak in the knees.
- Maple Syrup is also good in savory dishes like chili or drizzled over roasted vegetables or glazed on a maple bourbon steak.
- Maple syrup belongs in the kitchen. But it’s also very welcome in the bedroom too.
- There’s a part of Tuscany that’s known for their sweet pesto pies. And while they’re perfectly palatable maple pie is—trust me!!!!!—infinitely better.
Billy Buckner. Sheesh, I don’t know what I’d say. I’m not cruel. Maybe I’d offer to buy him a beer. Last I heard, though, he has a horse ranch in Montana or Florida or Nicaragua or something, so maybe he’s wealthy enough to be buying the round.
“Allowed” is a strong word. I can’t race in it obviously. In theory I’m training in my team kit 100% of the time, so if you ever see me in the plaid iamnottedking get-up then let’s chalk that up to an afternoon of modeling my fines wares, not training. That being said, Sugoi is our team’s clothing sponsor and has a great relationship with Cannondale and Cannondale Pro Cycling. They asked me to provide a bit of Ted the-king-of-style King’s sense of flair for a custom jersey, to which I happily obliged. Profits go to charity, it looks sharp, and we’re supporting the sponsor.2 Win-win-win! Oh hey, have I mentioned that I’m from New England? Plaid is never going out of style. It’s loved by a massive spectrum of humanity, from rugged lumberjacks to urban hipsters and everyone in between. From infants to grandparents.
This one was a head-scratcher. According to Strava, I have 31 pages of KOMs. And there are 20 KOMs per page. So harkening back to that mathematics minor, that’s 620 hard earned KOMs. And while I love Strava, I can honestly say I don’t actively hunt down KOMs. I think the Explore feature is invaluable when I come to a new town and I have a so-and-so interval to do. You play around with the maps, see what some fast times and/or popular climbs are, and voila, you’ve got your own personal tour guide right there. Super super handy. I love it.
I stew on that one every single freakin’ day. When I was six or ten or whatever that age is when you first start talking to your parents about what you want to be when you grow up, I announced that I wanted to be a Chef. A little later, my two best friends and I (true story!) state in our 6th grade yearbook that we wanted to be professional athletes—I was obviously going down the pro hockey player with a restaurant on the side route. Anyway, besides riding two wheels rather than skating on ice I’m still living up to my end of the bargain.
The culinary world fascinates me but I’ve never done the line-cook thing, never paid my dues waking up at four in the morning to buy fresh vegetables for the day. I embrace my time in the kitchen and I love going to all the tiny markets throughout Europe, where you micro source every ingredient (as opposed to the behemoth grocery stores of America). Food, wine, coffee, beer. All good things. Now, to make a second career out of that though, is another story.
Of course I was distraught when it all happened. Especially when I was on the bus at the start of stage five, we are at the athlete village, and I saw the race roll out. With all the rumors of protests, how many big big names in the sport reached out to me personally saying they were doing this-and-that to reinstate me, and witnessing how much the media was drawn to it, I thought I had a glimmer of a chance, I thought I might still get to race. But then when I watched the peloton pedal away, the reality set in. At that point two things happened which helped with my perspective: 1.) That afternoon I saw my family and I realized that Tour or no Tour, they still loved me. 2.) I picked up the New York Times that next morning and the entire first page was about a country shredded by civil war, all sorts of craziness, dictators playing with their nuclear weapons. All this real-world strife and hardship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m anxious and incredibly motivated to go back, but having some perspective on the matter helped tremendously. France 2014, baby!
I went on little a sabbatical from watching the Tour after that. I wasn’t actively trying to avoid it, but I had a sour taste in my mouth for a while. Plus I was hosting my parents (in Europe) and we played tourists rather than waking up each day to sit in front of a television. After that, back Stateside, I received a proper diagnosis: Yeah Ted, in addition to a separated shoulder, you also broke your scapula. That’s not an easy break, my friends. Ouch. But by then the pain had subsided a bit, the swelling had gone down a tad, plus there isn’t any surgery needed for a second degree separated shoulder, so I sucked it up, called it a mid-season break and was back racing a month later.
I’m skipping this question.
In general I’m a non-fiction kind of guy. But there’s plenty of room on the bookshelf, or my Kindle, for some fictional entertainment. Like Confederacy of Dunces for example. Ever read that? It’s literally laugh out loud funny. That’s the real barometer for determining whether or not something is funny: do you actually laugh out loud while reading it. Dunces will make you laugh so hard you pee.
I wore Skidz pants when I was in 4th grade. You have to understand, I grew up in the hip-hop age of Vanilla Ice. His clothing choice was reflected in my choice of Skidz. If you don’t know what skids are, picture MC Hammer pants. And if that doesn’t mean anything to you, picture Canadian Mounted Police pants, the ones that are like a parachutes at the thigh but taper aggressively (like down to the spandex-level) at the ankle. But Skidz are late-80s neon, so you feel like you’re having a seizure just looking at them. Actually the more I think about them, the more I like them, they’d be amazing now, like in 2014. And at the time, of course, they were sweet. So no, no regrets. I’m a pillar of fashion.
Side note: My New England roots shine through even with regards to my wardrobe, so function trumps fashion. I’ve never subscribed to haute style. As such, I’ve never owned a denim jacket, or a scarf. Also, I went through junior high when Nirvana was everything, therefore I shopped at Thrift Stores long before a contemporary white rapper’s song about their virtues.
Like all trilogies, the first Mighty Ducks was the best of the trio, the third ranks second, and the second ranks third. Make sense?3 That being said, the purist in me says Slap Shot is better. And the skier in me says that Aspen Extreme, Hot Dog, and Dumb and Dumber trump Ducks and Slap Shot combined.
Cycling is a great sport for 4.7 million reasons, but one of the reasons I like the most is its transparency and ease of access (to the athletes) for the fans. As long as you can keep up, you’re welcome to train with us. Fans line the road as we race by within arm’s length. Same with warming up for a time trial or milling around with riders before the start of a stage, fans can walk up to us and ask questions and engage. That’s access you don’t get behind the closed doors of an arena or practice stadium. With all that said, sometimes it’s difficult to field all the many and sometimes bizarre questions we get while getting amped-up for a start. So sure, sometimes I put on my glasses and pop in some tunes as cues to the astute observer that I’m trying to focus and get in the zone. Don’t ask what my tire pressure is, because yes, I’m ignoring you right then.
There aren’t a lot of people who can pull of Cannondale’s neon green in public. As a four year member and the sole American of the characteristic green of Liquigas and Cannondale, I’d have some extra moolah if I had a dollar every time I heard the following:
Fred: “Ha! Nice kit. Who does that guy think he is, Ted King?”
Fred’s buddy, Larry, “That is Ted King.”
Then I pose for a picture.