Rick Adams is a long time cycling fixture in Northern California. Most recently led the revival of racing programs at Hellyer Velodrome and brought big time racing back to the track with the Testarossa Velodrome Challenge. Adam’s has moved onto a new venture, Immersion Cycling, aimed at giving masters racers a taste of what its like to try and survive the cobbles in Europe.
Rick, you’ve been on bikes forever, eons i fact, how long have you actually been racing?
I started racing in 1973 and have had a license ever since. I never liked going up hill on a bike, so I focused on rolling road races, criteriums and track racing. Racing consumed my life until my mid-20’s when I began to take making money a bit more seriously.
And you have an interesting background in hospitality and management consulting – what did you do when you weren’t riding the last 100 years?
I spent 20 years in the restaurant business: chef, manager and owner. Then I started a consulting business that teaches mangers how be a coach instead of simply “The Boss.”
You are known for making things happen, especially at Hellyer Velodrome, what has been your involvement in the NorCal Cycling community the last several years?
For the last seven years, I have promoted probably a hundred track races including the Testarossa Velodrome Challenge with my friend Kevin Worley. I also try to train enough to have fun and be competitive racing my bike here in NorCal.
Immersion Cycling is a different kind of tour company. It’s an “extreme” experience targeted to adventurous masters – how did it get started?
I have been to Europe many times, and I often thought racing there would be fun. But, as a master, figuring out how to find races and where to stay seemed a bit daunting. I set out to unravel the puzzle and create an opportunity for other masters to race in Belgium. Immersion Cycling is a combination of the things I love: bike racing, hospitality business, and European culture.
What is Belgian racing like?
Intoxicating! And that is before I had any beer.. It is fast and aggressive from the start. Many riders did not seem to care about placing in the race. They prided themselves on out-crushing each other on eight-foot-wide roads, over cobbles and small hills, all bordered by cornfields, sheep, and cows. Defiantly better than the best roller coaster I have ever been on.
Europe can be quirky, like a country run by Velopromo, what is your favorite part of racing there?
Race registration was always in a pub.
There are a few European cycling academy’s for younger riders and tour companies for sight seeing – what kind of cyclist is this for?
There are plenty of great companies providing trips to watch pro races and ride the famous roads. These trips are for masters aged cyclists who want to view European racing culture from the inside, by actually riding Belgian races. Racers can expect to be physically spent yet stimulated every day to get back on your bike and suffer again.
What advice do you have for the softer, gentler type of masters racer who is thinking of doing one of your racing tours?
Stay here in the US! In Belgium, making the race happen is a part of the culture. Come to Belgium to experience hard and technical racing.
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