Part One: Guest Contributor Jeremy Dunn on Geoff Proctor
If you do not know Geoff Proctor, know that you should know Geoff Proctor. He’s the guy that has been in charge of “Development” for this little-known sport called “Cyclocross” for the entirety of the U.S. That’s a pretty big deal if you ask me and a look at some of his riders—Zach McDonald or Danny Summerhill just to name of recent ones—and you will see that he has been doing a pretty damn good job.
Geoff Proctor is here in Belgium. I first spy him talking to one of his Belgian pals at his caravan (that would be Sven Nys…no big deal). Geoff is always here though and I think that is a good thing. He works his days as a High School English teacher in Montana and when the months start to get cooler he starts trekking back and forth to Belgium (and presumably using his vacation time to do it). Here is an interview I did with him at last year’s US National Championship in Bend, Oregon. I cannot imagine the travel to and from Belgium is easy, but then again, not much is easy in Belgium. Geoff takes time to speak with me as I am certain he would do with you as well. We talk about the Women racers, who are set to go off in a manner of minutes. He tells me of his work with the UCI commission to get equal prize money for the Women’s races (a more than noble cause) and we speak about the difficulties of working with the federations. One country, for example, we won’t name names here, has decided that they will only take two of their allotted six women racers. Their claim is that they cannot afford to support that many ladies —at the same time their male riders are showing up to races in large federation-supported caravans and buses that could quite literally transport and house three times the number of riders. “It is Mafia” one friend is fond of saying.
Geoff goes on to tell a recent story of a promoter’s attempt to publicly embarrass him on the start line at Zolder when the UCI points leader, who happens to be an American (which apparently falls under his jurisdiction to hold her hand at the start of every race) fails to appear that day. It is just an attempt to confuse the issue at hand —we all know that Geoff, we are with you. Whether we are with him or not, he is not swayed by these antics and maintains an almost cheerful outlook on his work with the young riders, “We have had riders in the top ten of almost every young race we have entered these past few weeks, and I think that is something worth noting.”
At some point I realize that this whole time we have been talking Geoff has been standing with a bicycle near the pit he will momentarily be working in. His self sacrifice amazes me and I’m instantly thankful that we have him on our side.
Text and image by Jeremy Dunn.