Fernando Cuevas

Here’s an interview

I have worked with Fernando Cuevas for a couple of years now. He has been a joy to work with, and I think that is primarily because I have been so close to his family in general. I raced with Fernando’s uncle in CRCA and at the velodrome. Another family member Paco made my first track bike which sported wheels built by Leon Moser. Fernando is running a junior team on his own with very little help as a 501c3 non profit. Kids need jerseys, shorts, bikes (road and track), maintenance, shoes, pedals, entry fees, travel, you name it, it has to be provided, along with the occasional trip to the emergency room. This one is more than an interview, it is a reminder that the future of the sport is in the development of young riders coached well in the fundamentals of being good sportsmen and sportswomen. Cyclists that know the meaning of training for a goal, racing to win, teamwork and sportsmanship that has integrity. In the marines they call it Adapt – Improvise – and Overcome. That is what makes successful programs and maintains them along with the people that willing to stand there and take the shots. A large dedicated family helps – I consider Cuevas my family. Enjoy Campocat.            

 

JC Fernando, when did you start racing? Talk about your family and the great history they have with cycling.

FC I started racing at age 9.  My grandfather had raced in Spain in the 30’s and then in the 50’s he was the national coach in Argentina, where he also built frames for 20 years. 

JC Wow that is amazing, my grandmother was born in Argentina.  Any memorable races or events the stick out in your mind? 

FC In 1980, 81, 82, I won the NY state, and district track championships, from there I went on to race road and track all over the USA and abroad, my parents were very supportive and really helped alot.

JC How important was the track in your development?

FC Track racing is what got me into cycling. 1977 my grandfather and my dad were building frames for the late Vic Fraysse, Mike Fraysse’s dad. He took me to T Town and that’s were it all began. Track racing really made me a cyclist – fast and disciplined.

JC What is up now?  How is the shop? You guys built my first track bike.

FC As you know this past January 28th is the one year anniversary of my grandfather passing away. My father and I have a small shop in Queens where we continue our family legacy. We have already had over 12 orders and my U23 team the ACT- Cuevas Team will be riding my new carbon frame. More info on the frame is on the website, Cuevasdevelopment.tripod.com.

JC That is great, you really have been busy since the last time I spoke to you. How is the junior team developing? This is our pet project, I have been doing juniors now for at least 15 years, and I know you have been at it at least 5 now. We seem to get 10 or 15 kids a year and the next year 5 come back, but we gain another 15. How hard is it to get these kids to the next level?

FC You of all people know how hard it is to work with juniors, very hard. Every year you start over because some of our kids leave to go to college and then we need new kids. This year I have merged the team with my long time mentor and great friend Mike Fraysse’s ACT-team. Together we will have 16 kids from all over the NY, NJ, Conn, and New England area. This will be an unstoppable team, both boys and girls. The team will be racing all over the east and we will be at both track Nats and road Nats.

JC Junior programs are kind of like pushing a piano up hill, no one seems to want to help. I’m constantly having to remind people that we have a program going on and participation is needed by everyone that races. What do you make of that?

FC I think that because there is no money in our sport many people just walk away from juniors, what they don’t know is that the main age of bicycle racers is 36 years old. Many are professionals or came from another sport due to injury. We need to educate the public about where our sport will be in the next 20 years and see if the public can at least help and support us.

JC It seems there are couple of other programs started in CRCA devoted to juniors. One program seems to be well funded and has taken promising juniors from around the east coast and brought them to some high profile races around the country. Do you have any thoughts on that or advice for them?

FC Anyone that wants to start a junior program should, we need new kids in our great sport, but in the past these programs usually last for a year or so. We have been at it for 6 years and every year it gets better.

JC I hope so, I’m losing my shirt doing this every year. I wish we could get one kid to the big dance before my teeth fall out. I’ve lost my hair already. How can we make the next step with our kids, or do we want to? Do you see our program as a feeder program of a program that can develop new Lance Armstrong’s.  

FC Most certianly, slowly but surely we will be able to get further each year. The talent and competitive spirit will find its own way as long as the word gets out – we are here, and here to stay. Then the kids will find us. We have had kids come through the program and go on to college, be accepted on college cycling teams or gain scholarships based on the racing and training they had done with us. We are an important link in the chain.

JC Do you think we can utilize the Star Track program as a peewee development feeder program? I know we have at least one promising youngster coming out of that program.

FC The Star Track program is a great way to introduce young blood into cycling, I know many of the kids will eventually be able to make it into the feeder program and 2 of the kids are now on Cuevas Development. This has worked out great because I believe the kids really love the sport.

JC This one is for you Fern. Tell the good people anything you like on any subject.  Also I want to thank you personally for all the work you do for junior’s in our area and for me personally.  You are the best.  Campocat

FC Well first I would like to thank you John for believing in me and what we have both done for juniors. I would really like to see more kids show up on Thursday at Kissena from any club or from the Star Track Program.   

29 Comments

T Crane

Great to know about people you see at the big races. At Fitchburg, I befriended a Cuevas junior on the RR course as we worked together. I started at 35, but had I known this best of sports in Jr. years…I would have hoped to run into Mr. Cuevas.

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Raul

Fern you have the heart & the energy, keep up the great work! You are a great ambassador for the sport, truely.

I LOVE MY NEW "CARBON"

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joe.p

Hey, do you guys know that Fern is sick right now w/ a bone marrow cancer that’s also shutting down his kidneys? Give the guy some positive energy. He’s too young for this.

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joe.p

Hey, do you guys know that Fern is sick right now w/ a bone marrow cancer that’s also shutting down his kidneys? Give the guy some positive energy. He’s too young for this.

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cuevasbike

Thanks again to all, i am starting my cancer tratment at Cornell in NYC in March, meanwhile iam going to dialysis
3 days a week.
Hope to see all of you in the next months at races.
thanks FERNANDO

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fernando cuevas

Thanks again to all, i am starting my cancer tratment at Cornell in NYC in March, meanwhile iam going to dialysis
3 days a week.
Hope to see all of you in the next months at races.
thanks FERNANDO

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Joe P

Hey, do you guys know that Fern is sick right now w/ a bone marrow cancer that’s also shutting down his kidneys? Give the guy some positive energy. He’s too young for this.

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Thomas Headset

Somebody smokes behind you. I am pretty sure that is how Lance Armstrong got it. They love people who are physically fit to test on. Somebody sits on their arse watching you, lighting up and smoking while they think about you because they are a loser who doesn’t even walk. I am sick of people smoking for me after I pass so some healthy person is used to test cancer while some scumbag buys his smokes.

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Joe P

Hey, do you guys know that Fern is sick right now w/ a bone marrow cancer that’s also shutting down his kidneys? Give the guy some positive energy. He’s too young for this.

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Thomas Headset

I have one and am wondering if you could tell me when it was made and if I can still get tires for it. I really like the bicycle and would like to ride it as it appears to be in good shape.

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Julien Crank

hello,

I used to race cat II at Kissena and T-Town, on the road too. Now I just ride and put together bike. And so, I’m wondering where I could find a Cuevas frame. I would like to talk directly with him or his son.

Could some offer me assistance?

Thanks!

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Saddlesore

hey how are you I have a vintage cuevas bike that i would like to sell? but in the uk noone knows about these bikes, is there any page or place i can sell it for the best price posible.

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Bernardo Tank

We need an Eli article. Where did he ride last weekend? Was it meaningful and chocked full of Eli-ish metaphores and similes?

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Eli

It was wet. Rainy, dirty, grimy, miserable. The rain was coming at us from every which direction. I’d tug my cap a little further down over my eyes but it didn’t help – the rain seemed to be coming straight up from the ground. I had left my rain jacket at home, along with my knee and arm warmers – weather.com called for clear skies. Our supplies were running low but spirits remained high in spite of the weather. We had our jerseys, our bikes, and each other. We reached Perkins and much to our dismay, the fence was down. Something about unsafe driving conditions with the wet leaves blanketing the asphalt coupled with the 10 foot visibility in the fog. We waited at the bottom for our soigneur to arrive. our motorcade of warmth. our broom wagon. Eventually he did, and we split. 2 went westwards, out to The Lakes. 2 resigned, swept up with the tears of the sky. 4 of us pushed onwards. Scurrying over the fence, we began our ascent into the heavens. The grimpeur among us took off for the clouds above while we suffered down below, enjoying the inability to see anything, anyone, anywhere. The knowledge that the road was exclusively open to us intoxicated us. Or maybe it was the altitude. The descent was frigid, but we managed to shiver enough to maintain body heat. Stopping for refreshments at Cove Deli in Tompkins Cove, we spotted Dylan Lowe before heading back out into the storm that had become laughable compared to its anger of that morning. One last stop in Nyack ensured we were well-stocked and our stores replenished before we trekked along the final kilometers of the route. All in all, a splendid birthday ride.

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