My Friend Kevin Field
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.