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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer 2008 Fernando Cuevas by Tom Siano





Summer 2008 photos above



Fernando age 9


I am a relative newbie to the Kissena track scene. Never once have I been talked down to or felt like I was not welcome at Kissena. Even when you finish last there are plenty of pats on the back and positive vibes. Real deal, actual real National and World Champions speak to me like normal people do. My buddies keep me motivated and from quitting on a weekly basis. It’s all about training hard, suffering and learning. Each week I get better and I wish I had years under me. The track is positive and no bullshit. I have come to understand that it is these core values of the track were set forth by the elders. Guys like Campo and Fernando Cuevas gave us these gifts. We all know these gifts and this place are rare and hard to find.

It was that Tri State Crit Championship Gold medal in the mid 90’s that alluded me due to some Asian dude with massive legs nipping me at the line. He came from nowhere and schooled me good. Everybody said “he races at T- town, he is a trackie”. Nuff said. I had a silver medal and the wonder of “just what happens at the track?” to sit with me for some time. Not to mention that guy was “genuinely nice” about beating me. Holy crap, and a gentleman to boot. The experience motivated me.

Now after spending some months at kissena with Campo and the crew, I too have become addicted to breathing in the warm mixture of adrenaline, sweat and rubber. The track in the most simple sense is an altar. We go and pay homage to the Gods of pain and suffering only to be risen from the dead by the angels of fitness and strength. One of my good friends passed out at work on a Monday from racing hard all weekend at Kissena. Yes it’s like “Fight club” and It’s great.

From the first time I set my eyes on the new carbon Cuevas road bike underneath some of the best racers in the country I just knew I had to have one. The Cuevas family is a Dynasty to the racing world. National Champions, World Champions and Olympians have swung a leg over this ride. I came to learn these bikes were for team members only and so NOT available next to that brand XYZ at my local shop. The freakin thing, like the Cuevas family, is special.

So I tracked down and contacted Fernando Cuevas to see if I could buy one. After some emails back and forth we developed a friendship. I explained to him that I want to ride a Cuevas bike because I am so proud of what it stands for. The Cuevas Family have carved out a a place in the elite world of bike racing in America. I told Fern I am at a place in my life that I could buy the newest Pinnarelo with lew wheels, but it would mean nothing to me. It would be a foolish purchase. I love cars and told him how I would love to go back in time and buy a real 427 Shelby Cobra from the 60’s. How old man Shelby kicked those arrogant Euro bastardos in the nuts and woke them all the F- up.

Fernando told me he would sell me one. Perhaps he had pity on my middle aged soft yuppy ass? I didn’t care, I had to have one of these beauty’s! I drove up top Glen Spy with my best buddy Tim Compton and we spent the day with Fern. We watched him build it by hand and tell stories of races. He gave advice on life and spoke about his illness. We realized that this guy is a warrior and we had a lot to learn from him. Fernando invited us to come train up in the mountains where he lives and the Fraysse camp is located. The other part I love the most is how Fernando knew how to set me up on the bike, how to fit me. There was no glamorous Gucci fit studio, just a master and pupil. I sat on the bike and said “holy shit Fern, this feels perfect, how did you know?” Tim just laughed and said “Hey Fern, how many race bikes have you built?” ‘Nuff said.

Enjoy the photos.

Tom Siano

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey tom,

my name is daniel espinal. i was looking up fernando cuevas and this came up. i used to be apart of his Jr team. since i moved away i haven't been in much contact.i was hoping you can help me get in touch with either fernando or diego cuevas. they were really close friends of mine.

contact me through my email. danipse@aol.com

thank you

Anonymous said...

hey tom,

my name is daniel espinal. i was looking up fernando cuevas and this came up. i used to be apart of his Jr team. since i moved away i haven't been in much contact.i was hoping you can help me get in touch with either fernando or diego cuevas. they were really close friends of mine.

contact me through my email. danipse@aol.com

thank you