Outside’s feature on Thom Weisel details his rise in the cycling community and his sizable contributions to the sport in general. Writer Bill Gifford joins a large crew of businessmen-turned-cyclists to learn about its then-current state and Weisel’s history with the sport.
The article profiles some of the notable people who have joined in on the 2006 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team’s annual Sponsor Ride in Ojai, California. Professional athletes and amateurs alike are there to bike at the by-invitation-only event, and riders include people like Paolo Savoldelli, winner of the 2005 Giro d’Italia race. Though Weisel is not physically present at the Ojai race, his presence is strongly felt by the other riders.
In addition to describing Weisel’s relationships with other athletes, Gifford writes about Weisel’s relationship to the sport itself. “I’m chemically dependent on exercise,” Weisel says. “It doesn’t really matter what the sport is, but cycling has been my great savior. It keeps me competitive and active.” Gifford believes that there is something about sports like cycling that draws high-level businesspeople to it: competitiveness, another place to exercise personal drive for people who already like to win.
Gifford writes about how Weisel reshaped the U.S. cycling industry by implementing the USA Cycling Foundation, searching for the best riders and putting together teams, and overtaking the USA Cycling group.
The feature then shares some details from Weisel’s personal story, details from his childhood and college years to his busy life as a finance magnate. Gifford notes that Weisel fits right in as the “alpha of alphas,” hoping to bolster cycling’s visibility in the U.S. and to help create the next generation of great cyclists.