From Baseball To Pro Cycling: Blog by David Richter

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From Baseball To Pro Cycling: Blog by David Richter

Blog by Klean Team Sponsored Athlete David Richter

BIO: David began his cycling career as a BMX champion at just 10 years old. But BMX had always played second fiddle to his first love, baseball. David’s skills on the diamond netted him a minor league contract offer right out of high school, but he chose to attend college, where he jumped on a mountain bike and found his new passion.

Since then, David has excelled in the professional ranks of mountain biking, cyclocross and road racing. He rode as a professional for Team Yeti off-road, and the switch to road subsequently brought David to the Subway Professional Cycling Team under the tutelage of Rene Wenzel. Team Monex was David’s next stop, where Director Roberto Gaggioli imparted his considerable wisdom in the art of winning. After that, David traveled to the Canadian Italpasta squad and spent a season with Redline on the North American pro cyclocross circuit. His experience on the pro circuit has brought him all over the world, and he has graced the podium in UCI and NRC races (including that top step).

David’s reputation as a great bike handler also netted him a spot in the the Red Bull Road Rampage, to which only 19 of the best cycling bike handlers were invited. He really enjoys teaching the fundamentals and intricacies he’s learned over the years that enabled him to compete with the best.

David has been the captain of every team he’s raced with. A natural leader, he has not only been a national champion himself (NORBA Hill-Climb, Mammoth and AMBC Cross-Country), but has built and coached them as well.

David is co-owner of Métier Racing & Coffee in Seattle, Washington. To learn more about Seattle’s premier cafe, training gym, yoga studio, cycling club, bicycle pro shop and service center visit

David Richter is on Twitter.

Photo ©Ben Lindbloom

When Klean Athlete announced their partnership with the Major League Baseball Players Association, one of my eyebrows involuntarily lifted. I was excited to see a major American sport involved with what endurance-based athletes have embraced for some time: Klean Athlete. Baseball will benefit not only from the great Klean Athlete product, but also from the intangibles that Klean brings. Klean is clean! Klean being NSF Certified for Sport® ensures what is put-in, is what you, the athlete, get out. Bravo Major League Baseball Players Association, bravo Klean Athlete!

Now back to my eyebrow. My DNA has baseball in it. From age 0 to 19 I lived to play baseball. I was a student, player, fan and destined prophet. My transition from baseball to professional cycling was a bumpy and very personal quest…one that a few words would not do justice…that’s another blog, but baseball forged me into the athlete and coach I have become today. An endurance athlete rarely comes from one of the big-3 sports. I did, and I’ve brought what I’ve learned from baseball to cycling.

One thing I’ve noticed in endurance sports is that many athletes train alone, and most of the time, these athletes coach themselves. Often this combo leads to “training rides” that consist of just riding a popular 3-hour route. It sounds more like something done for fun than for training. Not that “fun” is bad; training is fun, and improving your game is usually why we train. In baseball you always have the guidance of a coach…and a hitting coach, fielding coach, assistant coach, bench coach, etc. Anytime we play baseball and coaches are not present, it’s called a family reunion, picnic or recess. Baseball practices were structured from start time to finish time, and every minute in between was accounted for. We worked on basic fundamentals every day. It’s rare to see an athlete or coach practicing fundamentals in cycling. My practice ethos have helped me tremendously as a cyclist, and even more as a coach. Thanks, baseball.

Another trait I learned from baseball was the art of the match-up. Baseball is THE ultimate team sport, but it’s full of individual match-ups. Hitter vs. pitcher is a classic. I would study everything about a pitcher. What was his wind-up like, where was his release point, what was his cadence, did he throw the same sequence, how much did his curve break, etc.? I would always welcome the challenge. In cycling I study competitors, courses, situations, previous results, weather, etc. In cycling, most of the riders, even the successful ones, do the same things over and over. In baseball, if someone steals every time they get on base, a pitch-out would and should be called.

Side-note story…I was a good baserunner. When I was in high school, I remember every time I reached first base I couldn’t wait for the steal sign to pop up…I knew I’d steal the base because I studied the pitcher’s moves, watched the catcher’s throw to second between each inning, and knew exactly how long it took me to there. I had convinced myself that I was impossible to throw out. I convinced my coach to let me steal even without the steal sign on.

My stealing prowess gave me more pitches to hit, because a walk had become a virtual double. I felt like I had one up on the pitcher every time. Even when an “intimidation” brush-back pitch came high and tight, I would up the pitcher’s intimidation to the next level by turning into the pitch and taking it in the meat of my non-throwing shoulder. It looked as though I was evading the pitch, but really I was marking my territory. I dropped the bat and trotted down to first base with a straight face, like I didn’t mind getting hit because it didn’t hurt…even when it did hurt. I knew I’d soon be standing on second base, in scoring position. My intimidation factor (in a good way) roots in baseball, as does my systematic way of thinking.

Baseball has transformed me in every way, and has left a lasting mark on my life. It’s a beautiful game. The hand/eye coordination, timing and spacial awareness were valuable traits to amass. The fierceness and intimidation of stealing a base and the swag of popping up after sliding into the bag are what we dream of when we’re kids, and really what sport is all about. When you watch baseball at the highest levels, you see players playing with ease — that’s when you’re at the top of a sport. I take pride in seeing the partnership between Klean Athlete and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and look forward to seeing them prosper together to make sport better.

Photo ©Ben Lindbloom

David Richter is on Twitter.


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12/29/2015 F. Black