Like his teammate Brad Huff, Mike “The Meatball” Friedman doesn’t have a traditional cyclist build, but he can still go pretty darn fast. We talk about his nickname, and how any body type can work when trying to make it as a cyclist.
On his nickname:
We’ve got to change it. It’s been Meatball forever. I don’t have the genetic makeup of a lot of these tall, skinny guys - I’m short and round and get compact on the bike. But I have a lot of nicknames. You can call me whatever you want!
On what he would like to be nicknamed instead:
I’ve never given myself a nickname because it’s not kosher, but do you remember that old cartoon Captain Caveman?
On body types in cycling:
There’s no traditional body type for cycling, and there’s no body type for the traditional athlete. Some are ripped and lean-looking, but go super slow; other guys are thick and can go really fast. Whether you're a track runner or skier or wrestler, I don't think it matters what kind of body you have.
On making it as a cyclist:
If you have a gift to do something and work at it hard enough, you can do it.
On keeping his beard for the season:
The longer it gets, the more of a hole it closes in the time trial position. It’s also cold at home in Golden, Colorado, so it keeps me warm when I’m training.
On the new Diamondback bikes:
I love the new Diamondback bikes. I had a Diamondback BMX bike growing up and DBR [Diamondback Racing] is where my heart is, you know? It’s an American bike and we're an American team (well, North American - there are some Canadians here). I’m stoked to be on the bikes; they feel fantastic and it’s nice to have a change. I’m excited for the year!