Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother of local cycling

We talk a lot about the father of local cycling, the late Peter Teeuwen. It’s time to talk about the mother of local cycling, Pam Zimmerman. She started road bike racing in the 1970’s—long before Greg Lemond even introduced USA to the idea of competing on bikes. She has been on the podium in Nationals, mentored juniors and taken them to nationals, served as a USCF official for years and promoted dozens of local road races. Pam comes from the old guard of national champs Charlotte and Camilla, and she has raced against probably every woman in Virginia since that time.

She and Blaine took over the enormous Grand Slam of Cycling (4 days of professional racing with a $2.4 million local estimated economic impact) in 1993. She continued for the next decade promoting dozens of races through Tidewater Bicycle Association and through her current team, James River Velo Sports. My favorites were the Charles City RR, Pipsico State RR, and of course the Surry two-man time trials.

I have never told Pam how much influence she has had on me. I am a safe rider in training rides and in races, largely because I rode with Pam the first few years I raced. She showed me many times that no risk is worth compromising safety for, though I can’t resist riding at night despite her avoidance of night rides! She taught me how to hold a line and to not be afraid to speak up when someone else can’t hold a line. I have been lost in Williamsburg with her. Pam continues to teach me that racing consistently and having fun, year-end and year-out, are more important than putting it all on the line for one season and burning out. I am not going to say “Thanks Mom” or any nonsense like that, but I am grateful for her influence.

(Above photos by Love2ride and Bob Samuel. Below, yeah, Pam did all that AND worked a full time job.)


Rob said...

Pam rocks!

Anonymous said...

A fitting tribute. Pam is indeed the mother of Virginia cycling. She takes you in and makes you feel like you belong and cares for you when you need it.

Marco said...

Cycling in Hampton Roads would not be where it's at today without Pam's hard work and dedication.

Kevin said...

Everybody's got a Pam story... I've known her since I started racing here a looong time ago. And I've known Dave for quite some time as well. It sucks to see anybody go down like that, and even worse to see the good ones go down. So glad to hear that she's doing considerably well, and will heal up soon.
Pam is a very outspoken lady, and I must say, i've never disagreed with her. She has said some things to me that I cherish, and will never forget. They will rock on for many more years! Don't Fret!

Liz Schleeper said...

You are right (this time) Kevin. Everyone has a Pam story!

Unknown said...

As one of those juniors Pam took to nats I could definitely tell some stories. Feels like yesterday but it was 15 years ago now. Pam, Peter, and Blaine all had a tremendous influence on shaping the rider and person I've become today. Thank you!