7 Reasons to Love Tyler Farrar

Tyler paid a visit to Portland over the weekend and spent an evening entertaining the cycling masses over at River City Bicycles. I was able to catch up with him at a reception at Madison’s Grill afterward and I am pleased to announced that I totally maintained my journalistic cool:

Picture 19

[Ahem.]

Garmin’s Tyler Farrar is a class act – there’s no other way to put it. Likability factor is off the charts and here are my theories about why that is.

1. The kid exudes kindness.

Seriously. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve had the chance to meet in a long time – pro cyclist or no. He has phenomenal energy that puts you at ease. Humility in doses. He’s well-balanced and it shows. He sat down with a bunch of Portland racers and cracked jokes and made us laugh and ate some prime rib. Hell, he even had a drink. Good people, that one.

2. He’s local.

He’s not just local – he’s from Wenatchee, Washington. Can you name any other super famous people from Wenatchee? Neither can I. Tyler is doing that town proud, and how.  As a Seattle native, I feel a special point of pride about sharing a birth-state with him. Also, he knew (and said kind things about) Cle Elum, Washington, the little mountain town where my parents live. That’s rad. Besides PNW-love, it’s important to point out that Tyler isn’t just a product of our geography he’s a product of our local cycling programs. And he’s making us look good.

3. He lives in Belgium when he’s in Europe.

As a cyclocrosser, this warms my heart. Unlike many of the other big-time pros who flock to the South of France, Farrar fell in love with Belgium and called it home. “The weather is perfect – just like home.” he laughed over dinner. He’s also cyclocross fan and has been known to attend the races in Belgium when he gets the chance. CCX hearts and stars for you, Tyler!

4. Good shoes and good denim and good leather.

3-farrar-madisons-12-20091219

Picture 21

A little bling, but well balanced by his humble personality. Five stars from me. Oh and the scarf!  Aces.
Ms. Cardinal suggested that perhaps the denim should be hemmed or cuffed. I agree that (especially in this particular shot) that may seem necessary but I’ll point out that the overall proportions of the outfit appeared balanced.

5. His father kicks all kinds of ass.

Last year, Tyler’s father Ed was struck head on by a motorist while riding to his job as a spinal surgeon. A colleague, and the only other spinal surgeon capable enough to deal with his extensive injuries saved his life later that day after pumping 16 units of blood into him while he lay on the operating table for 12 hours. Tyler was in Europe and flew back immediately to help his family. Ed became paralyzed from the waist down and can no longer operate, but he is back at the cycling thing with a hand-powered rig. The best report of the full story is here on ESPN.com but the bottom line is Tyler and his family have been through a lot. And they’ve handled it with grace and bravery. Ed Farrar is one hell of a role model for his son (and for all of us) – and I expect Tyler will lead a life equally as inspiring and impressive. He’s got that look about him.

6. He’s the underdog.

There’s no denying that Mark Cavendish is the man to beat in the sprinting world right now – and if someone’s going to get the job done, it’s probably going to be Farrar. Cav won six stages of the Tour this year, but Farrar was always right in the thick of things – bearing down and nabbing second or third. Cav’s bravado and brash confidence begs for someone to dethrone him and who better to do it than The Nice Kid from Washington? I’ll root for him like the Red Sox in 2005 or the Dodgers in 1988. From the edge of my seat with my rally cap on – underdog style.

7. He’s about as loyal as they come.

Farrar is still dating his high school sweetheart, Stephanie Wade. While I didn’t harass him about his personal life (calling attention to his shoes seemed to embarrass him enough), I have it on good authority that the two are still as twitterpated as ever. What’s better than high school sweethearts standing the test of time (and the multi-pronged pro cyclist tests of distance, foreign lands, and fame)? Not much.

Bonus Tidbits

  • Why isn’t Farrar on Twitter and Facebook like the rest of the pro cycling universe? He wouldn’t go into details but apparently there was a little “issue” with a super fan who crossed a few too many boundaries. Bummer. Stalkers are jerks, man.
  • The shoes aren’t from Europe – they’re from Nordstroms in Seattle (Farrar lives in Seattle when he’s in the states).

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3 comments

  1. You beat me to it. I was thinking of doing a little piece on him, and probably still will. He seems an amazing athlete and I think he’ll go far. As a Brit I think what Cav has done is impressive. But as a cycling fan I warm to Farrar more. Why see your answer No3. My own reasons, he’s a big unit and has a bit of red in there, and we like that. My tip, He’ll win Gent-Wevelgem next year, pop some money on it now.

  2. I love your smile in that photo with Tyler. Totally agree that he’s a class act all the way. I was down in Sausalito this year for the start of Stage 2 of the Tour of California. It was raining like cats and dogs, and most of the guys on the Garmin team were in the bus trying to keep warm while waiting for the start. Ferrar, however, was standing outside under the awning talking with the fans. Pretty cool.

    While I also like Cavendish, I am certainly rooting for Tyler to take his scalp a couple of times this year. It looked to me like he jumped to another level late this past season, so I think he will be right there with Cav in 2010. Can’t wait to see!

  3. The fact that he’s not on Twitter makes me an instant fan regardless of all other qualifications.

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