Tuft Enough

My Friend Kevin Field

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - BY SVEIN TUFT

Iwanted to shed some light on one of the best peo­ple I know and one of Canada’s great­est cy­cling re­sources. This is nor­mally a place for my wacky cy­cling sto­ries and re­lated top­ics, but I would not be where I cur­rently am without one spe­cial in­di­vid­ual, Kevin Field, help­ing me along the way.

Field has been in­volved in Cana­dian cy­cling at its top level for some 30+ years, at all points on the spec­trum. He is a man who flies un­der the radar, not seek­ing recog­ni­tion or sta­tus. Field was the di­rec­tor spor­tif on Team Sym­met­rics, Canada’s great­est team in my opin­ion. This was not just a direct­ing job. With lim­ited re­sources, he had to jug­gle a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing. When we went to such crazy races as the Vuelta a Venezuela (a 14-day stage race) chas­ing Union Cy­cliste In­ter­na­tionale points, Field was ev­ery­thing from travel agent, trans­la­tor, lo­gis­tics man­ager, bike washer/me­chanic, gro­cery-get­ter, team doc­tor, psy­chi­a­trist, ne­go­tia­tor, man­ager and, fi­nally, a di­rec­tor.

Ev­ery one of these races was an ad­ven­ture, and with Field at the wheel with his pos­i­tive en­ergy, life on the road was al­ways a laugh. De­spite the many crazy things that hap­pened to the team in South Amer­ica, Field al­ways kept us fo­cused and laugh­ing. This is a very rare skill and some­thing I ad­mire so much. I per­son­ally be­lieve this is what al­lowed Sym­met­rics to have the suc­cess it did, and on such a small bud­get. Field’s pas­sion is in­fec­tious and rubbed off on all of us, and as I’ve said be­fore, it’s that at­ti­tude that gave all of the rid­ers who went through that pro­gram the great life skill of per­se­ver­ing in dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ments. This is the beauty of sport, and life, in my opin­ion.

Sure, re­sults and suc­cess are nice, but the great­est thing sport pro­vides is these hard lessons to set you up for a life­time. Peo­ple such as Field are cru­cial to the de­vel­op­ment of cy­cling in the present and the fu­ture. He’s a rare spec­i­men in that his pas­sion has kept him in the game with very lit­tle pay­ment in re­turn. I re­mem­ber in the fi­nal months of 2008, he was float­ing our race projects with his own credit card.

He knew that the only way any of us had a chance to move on from the sink­ing ship was to keep rac­ing. This shows the man’s char­ac­ter. I know Field had many op­por­tu­ni­ties in his per­sonal ca­reer, but he set those aside to do what he loved. What an ex­am­ple for all of us young guys. Through all of these highs and lows, Field’s won­der­ful wife, Sheri, was there for sup­port, and I be­lieve this was es­sen­tial for him to do what he did for us.

Now with Cy­cling Canada, Field is our main man on the road, and we are lucky to have him there. With lim­ited fund­ing, you need some­one with ex­pe­ri­ence to help stretch the dol­lars and with the pas­sion to keep try­ing new ideas in a world that has a pretty old-school men­tal­ity. In a coun­try such as ours, you can’t tell me we can’t pro­duce great cy­clists. When you see the great, world-level ath­letes we are pro­duc­ing in all other sports, for me, it just il­lus­trates how cy­cling isn’t a part of our cul­ture.

My hope is that with oth­ers like Field we can bring anom­alies sim­i­lar to Leah Kirch­mann and Mike Woods into the sport and help them de­velop and tran­si­tion into the world of Pro­fes­sional cy­cling more eas­ily. It’s a dif­fi­cult game, and as I’ve said be­fore, tal­ent is just a small part of it.

This is some­thing Field un­der­stands well, but has a hard time con­vey­ing to the pow­ers that be. They tend to think, “Well so and so has these in­cred­i­ble num­bers! Why aren’t they per­form­ing?” Throw in in­ter­na­tional travel, liv­ing in a for­eign en­vi­ron­ment, dif­fer­ent race styles, lan­guage bar­ri­ers and team con­flicts/dra­mas, and I can tell you there can be a mil­lion rea­sons why. Let’s get be­hind our ath­letes try­ing to find their way and let’s un­der­stand that this is a long road filled with ups and downs, but pos­i­tive sup­port will al­ways help these ath­letes pre­vail.

If you get to meet Kevin Field at a race or other event, please in­tro­duce your­self and tell him how much he’s ap­pre­ci­ated. The man is a gem.

Kevin Field’s pas­sion and op­ti­mism are in­fec­tious – the man is a gem.

Field has helped count­less ath­letes reach their po­ten­tial and more.

Kevin Field has been in­volved with cy­cling for more than 30 years.

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