This is the late Vic Fraysee. Vic, his father Emile, and his son Mike are all in the Cycling Hall of Fame in Sommerville, N.J..
Here is Pete Senia. In his youth Pete was a rider with the old Long Island Wheelmans' Association. After he got off the bike, Pete served for many years as an A.B.L.A. and U.S.C.F. offical. His son Pete Jr. was a member of the 1968 Olympic team. Pete passed away a few years ago.
This is Vito Perucci with nine time National Champion Betsy Davis, after a training race in Uniondale. Betsy and Mitch were good buddies.
This is Vito with Leonard "Harvey" Nitz at the same race. Harvey is the most decorated American Cyclist. He has 25 National Gold medals, Olympic Silver and Bronze medals and a Silver medal from the World Championships. He rode in three Olympics... Oh, and he won this race as well.
Harvey was from California but he married Leslie Moore who was a national team rider from Flushing, N.Y. Harvey and Leslie lived in Flushing and did the local races in 80's. It was great to rub shoulders with a rider of that caliber. He was a real nice guy too. We all used to go out for pizza and beer at Giuseppe's in Westbury after Vito's training races. One day I'll tell you about the drunken foot race, in front of Giuseppe's, between Harvey and Billy "Black Sox" Bauer.
Mitch and another friend of ours, George Kozic, used to do a training ride with Harvey. After Leslie and Harvey split up Harvey moved back to California. George and Mitch still did the same ride but they referred to it as "The Nitz Memorial Ride".
That reminds me of the "Gimbels Ride" that has been going on in Westchester County for about 30 years. The ride used to leave from the Gimbels department store parking lot in White Plains. Gimbels has been out of business and the building knocked down for over 20 years but they still call it the Gimbels ride. Traditions die hard in bike racing.
This is Harvey Nitz untangling himself after a crash at the annual 50 mile criterium at Sommerville, N.J. Harvey got up and ran over to complain to an offical who was standing right in front of me. He claimed that he had been "hooked" by Danny Clark from Australia. I wouldn't be surprised if it was true too. Clark was one hard man. He was a veteran professional six day racer and had many "notches in his gun."
Here is a note from Wayne Stetina: Nitz did get knocked down very deliberately by Danny Clark while blocking for me on the Lowenbrau team. Danny was frustrated because Bauer was literally the only other rider in the entire field who was helping him chase. I won Somerville that year from Schuler (7-Eleven) in a 2 up sprint. But eventually finished 2nd in the Lowenbrau series to Steve Bauer.
This is me with a guy that you might have heard of; George Hincapie. I think this was 1986. George was from the same town (Farmingdale) as I. His father, Ricardo, was and still is a fixture in the local racing scene. George and his older brother Richard got their start doing the races here on Long Island and in New York City. As you might imagine, the Hincapie brothers showed considerable promise. My friend John Issendorf (who took this photo) set up an elite junior squad, built around Rickey, George and John's son Charlie. They were sponsored by Atala / Corso Distributors. In this picture George is wearing the Atala kit as well as a very stylish Bell V1-Pro helmet.
In the photo we were doing a points race. I attacked and George covered me. Once we were away I told him that we should take turns winning the sprints. He went along with that until the final sprint which is good for double points. After I took the next to last sprint George attacked me and I was not able to respond. The field was bearing down on me but somehow I hung on for second place.
In 1989 (I think) George left Atala to ride for Toga. Fred Mengoni sponsors a big race every October in Central Park. In '89 George and Charlie Issendorf were Juniors but they rode in the Pro,1,2 race. Charlie got away and George bridged up to him. The two "kids" stayed away and embaressed the national caliber field. They crossed the finish line side by side and caught the attention of Fred Mengoni. Fred approached John Issendorf. They cut a sponsorship deal. The Atala team became G.S.Mengoni and George came back from Toga.
Interestingly, George placed second at the Junior Worlds during the year that he rode with Toga, and he still had a year to go in that age group. The next year Junior Worlds were in Colorado and everybody figured George for a shoe in. George's team-mate, Jeff Evanshine got in an early break. George was forced to block and he (only) finished 5th. Evanshine won the race. John Issendorf had to go meet with Fred to explain why George didn't win. John stood there like a school boy in the principle's office and told the story in three part harmony. After John finished, all Fred had to say was "he should-a make-a da break." End of meeting.
Fast forward to 1993. G.S.Mengoni is the premier New York City Team. This photo was taken under the Brooklyn Bridge by John Issendorf. We were there for a team photo that was on the cover of the Bike Nashbar Catalogue. L to R: Jim Daughterty, George Hincapie, Rickey Hincapie, me (Jamie Swan), Ryan Ochers (who is Jackie Simes' nephew), Brad Hogan, Radisha Cubric (National Champion of Yugolavia), Charlie Issendorf, and Yanni Feldman.
For quite a few years I built wheels for these guys and worked on their bikes. Radisha rode my wheels in the Olympics in Barcelona. George rode in Barcelona too. At the time he was on the National Team and G.S. Mengoni simultaneously. I know that he had to ride his National Team bike in the Olympics but what wheels did he use?
This day was the first, and only time, that I got to meet Fred Mengoni. He shook my hand and thanked me profusely for helping his "boys." What a gentleman. Good thing none of them broke a spoke though.