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Just Go, Grow, and Keep Going

July 8, 2011

Yesterday I interviewed Timmy Duggan, rider on the Liquigas-Cannondale Pro-Cycling Team.  A few minutes before our 2pm call, I circled my office taking deep breaths and flapping my arms across my chest.  I had had plenty of coffee; fatigue wasn’t the issue.  While I have interviewed people before, I sensed this one was going to be extra-special.  It would be my first interview of a pro-cyclist.  And, having learned some of Timmy’s story earlier in the day, I anticipated a message I needed to hear.

My morning research began with the Liquigas-Cannondale website. It includes a short video on each rider. Timmy’s opened my eyes. Here’s what he said in the video.

“In 2008 at the Tour of Georgia I was part of a really nasty crash and came out of it with a traumatic brain injury that nearly killed me. To be able to come back to the top of the sport and keep improving after all that is pretty cool.  For me, I won’t be happy until I know that I can’t do it, and it turned out I could do it.  The motivation to keep pushing is always there no matter what happens.”

My husband and I watched several stages of the 2005 Tour of Georgia.  As I listened to Timmy speak in the video, I seemed to recall spying him in a break-away in 2005, wearing the blue and white kit of the TIAA-CREF team.  They were a young team; Timmy would have been 22 years old.  I imagined him in 2008 flying down the same streets we stood on in 2005, surrounded by flowering wild dogwood.

A friend of my husband’s, whose age is at least three times 22, now fights to recover from a traumatic brain injury sustained while cycling.  It’s an extremely slow recovery process. It means relearning all we take for granted – movement, speech, memories.  

As I continued my pre-interview research I located the website for Timmy’s Just Go Harder Foundation.  “We” refers to Timmy and Ian MacGregor in these comments from the website.

“We quickly rose through the ranks of cycling, creating our own teams along the way, riding under the Eldora Mtn. Ski Club, Vecchio’s Bike Shop, and in 2003, Duane Duggan ReMax-Paketa Cycles, helping us out at a critical point in our careers. We believed we had the ability to succeed in cycling, but nobody knew who we were yet. Through the support of this team, we traveled the country to NRC races in Timmy’s parent’s minivan, which we successfully ran into the ground, sleeping in the back and driving through the night…We trained and raced hard by day and delivered pizzas by night to fund our mission…”

Thank you, Timmy, for your courage, persistence, and passion; it astounds me, and it’s why I love this sport.   And thank you for inspiring me, without saying so, to keep writing about it.

Here are a few links regarding Timmy.

Alexi Grewal and Timmy Duggan Look at the Quiznos Challenge: http://pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=9148

Just Go Harder Foundation: http://justgoharder.com/jgh-foundation

Liquigas-Cannondale Pro-cycling Team website video of Timmy: http://www.teamliquigascannondale.com/2011/eng/main.php?mod=scAtleti&id=9

Timmy on Twitter: @timmydugganjgh

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