As an Olympic Bronze medalist and Tour de France stage winner, Davis Phinney has celebrated the most victories of any cyclist in American history. From the late 1970′s until his retirement from professional cycling in 1993, Davis achieved more wins – 328 victories in all – than any other US Cyclist. Along with Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, Davis is one of only three Americans to win multiple stages of the Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious bike race.
Among the hundreds of wins Davis has achieved are the Olympic Bronze Medal (1984), a Pan-Am Games Gold Medal (1983), and four National Championship titles, including the coveted US PRO title in 1991. Fittingly, he was also one of the most successful riders in the history of the Coors Classic (the successor to Colorado’s Red Zinger Classic) winning the overall title in 1988 and collecting a record 22 stage wins.
In 1993, after almost 20 years of nearly unprecedented success as a cyclist, Davis retired from pro cycling. His last professional win set yet another record that is still unbroken; he finished the legendary “Hotter Than Hell 100″ in Texas in an amazing 3hrs. 23 minutes. To this day, no one has ridden faster.
After his retirement from cycling, Davis’ career continued as a well-known sportscaster for ABC, CBS, NBC and OLN. In 2000, after years of feeling not quite right, and an almost endless round of tests, Davis was diagnosed with Young-onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD). Finally, the years of battling constant fatigue, the mental fogginess, the muscle cramping and bouts of sudden numbing weakness had a name.
Shortly after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Davis, his wife (Olympic medalist Connie Carpenter) and their two children moved to Italy, in part to adjust to the disease and in part because many of their Bike Camps were based in Italy. While living in Italy, Davis was contacted by a former Bike Camp client Kathleen Krumme who asked Davis to lend his name to her ride in Cincinnati to benefit PD. And from those beginnings, the Davis Phinney Foundation was born.
Realizing that there are ways to improve the quality of his day to day living, Davis started the Davis Phinney Foundation as a way to promote and fund innovative research that demonstrates the effects and importance of exercise, speech and other elements that are critical to quality of life. In 2008, Davis underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery to control his Parkinson’s symptoms.
Today, Davis lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife of 25 years, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, and their children Taylor and Kelsey. Davis continues to celebrate the daily victories in his life and inspires others with his message of optimism and encouragement.
The Happiness of Pursuit
For two decades, Davis Phinney was one of America’s most successful cyclists. He won two stages at the Tour de France and an Olympic medal. But after years of feeling off, he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. The body that had been his ally was now something else: a prison.
The Happiness of Pursuit is the story of how Davis sought to overcome his Parkinson’s by reaching back to what had made him so successful on the bike and adjusting his perspective on what counted as a win. The news of his diagnosis began a dark period for this vibrant athlete, but there was also light. His son Taylor’s own bike-racing career was taking off. Determined to beat the Body Snatcher, Davis underwent a procedure called deep brain stimulation. Although not cured, his symptoms abated enough for him to see Taylor compete in the Beijing Olympics. Davis Phinney had won another stage. But the joy, he discovered, was in the pursuit.
With humor and grace, Phinney weaves the narrative of his battle with Parkinson’s with tales from his cycling career and from his son’s emerging career. The Happiness of Pursuit is a remarkable story of fathers and sons and bikes, of victories large and small.