Chad Gerlach started his career 14 years ago as one of cycling’s most talented riders, winning races in China and Poland.
“From the time I turned professional in ’95 I found success.”
But he had a reputation as a hothead. During an appearance on Capital Public Radio’s Insight this week, 35-year-old Gerlach told host Jeffrey Callison that he didn’t have a very positive attitude.
“I was a pretty angry guy. I took it out on my teammates.
He even got into a scuffle with cycling legend Lance Armstrong.
“I had made a comment to him at the Olympic training center in Colorado and yeah, it was just one of those incidents, a kids thing.”
Gerlach says he turned to drugs to deal with the pressures of cycling and childhood issues.
“In my time off, I always loved to enjoy the party season in the winter. You know, just those addictive traits grew in me over the years.”
By 2002, Gerlach was out of cycling eventually becoming homeless and addicted to crack.
“The low point for me would probably be right at the end. I was suffering from being lonely and lack of friends and family in my life.”
He credits friends who got him into an intervention program on a reality TV show
“It definitely made it easier for me to change my life and obviously I have several friends to thank for where I am today.”
Gerlach says he’s looking forward to competing against his old nemesis Lance Armstrong who’s also expected to race in the Nevada City Bicycle Classic this Sunday.