Biking to the Next Level
Nolen Froese and Zach Hockett are both in the top 20 in the nation in junior cycling, and both are from right here in Columbia. And they each gained interest because of the same person.
"We saw my dad racing, we heard about it, so we thought it would be a fun idea to go out and ride the bike a bit. We asked my dad if we could ride the bike, he was kind of surprised but he said yeah," said junior cyclist Nolen Froese.
Both have been to Europe to race for the Junior National Team, and came back very humble.
"It was a good experience for sure. You come back more confident, but also it puts things in perspective, you realize that you are really not the best kid in the world, you got a long ways to go," said cyclist Zach Hockett.
Sending their kids to Europe at such a young age is something that has brought their dads closer together.
"Dave and I kind of support each other when our kids are gone because its a little bit nerve racking that your kids are a half a world away competing in these potentially dangerous fields," said Nolen's father Ethan Froese.
They have both been signed by Mesa Cycles out of St. Louis to race for 2007, which allows them to race in their gear and ride free top of the line bikes. Zach and Nolen also race in these specialized jerseys which helps with their body moisture during the race to help keep them dry.
Being this involved can be complicated for a teenager and sometimes a bit frustrating.
"There have been a lot of times when I thought I'm not living the normal teenager's life. When I was over in Europe for five weeks last year, it was a lot of fun but at the same time when I'm sitting there instant messaging friends back home I'm thinking man, I'm missing out on a lot of fun times," said Hockett.
But don't just think they are only racing for themselves and Mesa Cycles.
"I see guys in the Tour de Italy, representing their own city, sometimes they'll have stages, Pro Tour stages and they'll come in and they'll win and do well. They are representing their town and I just like to represent our city," said Froese.
Representing Columbia is just one of the perks that Zach and Nolen get to share together. Both Nolen and Zach have been picked to race for the USA Junior National Team and have gotten to train at the Olympic training center before going to Europe this month.