Eddie Borysewicz, remembered as a star coach upon bringing star cyclists to multiple Redlands Bicycle Classic events, died at age 81 last week.
Remembered as “Eddie B” throughout international circles, the Poland native stood at the center of winning teams and cyclists that traipsed through Redlands. Anyone who knew the sport since local roads were on the map can remember Eddie B.
He was a fun interview. Understanding his broken English was another thing.
And, yes, any time you throw out this sport from the 1980s, 1990s and into the current century, that drug-infested sport scorches some of cycling’s biggest names.
Cycling’s biggest names: Greg LeMond, who was not linked, and Lance Armstrong, who was linked, are a pair of Eddie B protégés. There were plenty of others.
Craig Kundig, who was Redlands’ race director in those days, delicately tried to keep Eddie B’s name as pure as possible.
“Blood doping was legal,” said Kundig, “at that time (banned in 1985, in fact).”
Kundig’s in a tough spot here, folks. He’s not just a fan of the sport, but he’s been a builder of the sport as well. The sport grew largely on the backs of drug-aided performances. Redlands had its share. Some local cycling history was built on some of those backs.
He’s among a high number of race purists that to endure a series of years when Redlands’ own champions were admittedly tampering in a world of performance enhancers, blood doping and other factors that led the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to eventually show up to test local competitors.
On a more serene note, however, Kundig shoots high praise toward Eddie B for other reasons.
“I can remember him when I was race director … walking toward me with a serious look on his face,” said Kundig.
Team managers on those power walks toward a race director can only mean one thing: Someone’s got a complaint.
“Then he’d start telling me how much he appreciated what we were doing.”
Not that he didn’t have a complaint or two.
Said Kundig: “He taught me a lot on how to run a race. Taught me about the sport, some of its nuances. To make adjustments in the race bible. There’s a lot of things I can talk about that I learned from him in his broken English.”
Cycling’s better overseas, but places like Redlands was a giant leap for improved relations for the USA.
Over a four-year span, Eddie B called the shots for Tomas Brozyna, Darius Baranowski, Jonathan Vaughters and Christian VandeVelde, U.S. Postal riders that claimed Redlands’ yellow jerseys from 1996 through 1999. Eddie B coached ’em all.
At the time, Redlands was a polarizing site for cycling, both nationally and internationally.
Eddie B was part of the USA coaching group that helped lead the Americans to its best-ever Olympics in 1984. Let’s rephrase that: Eddie B was hired on as USA’s head coach. They notched nine medals.
Absent of Eastern Bloc nations due to its boycotting the L.A. Games, the Americans took full advantage, especially when Alexi Grewal sped to victory in the men’s road race in Mission Viejo.
Five years later, Grewal brought victory to Redlands by winning the five-stage event.
Eddie B’s influence was felt by a myriad of cycling names that came to Redlands, having shepherded the Postals and Subaru-Montgomery, among his other teams. Eddie B, who died overseas, lived in the San Diego County city of Ramona.
* * *
Isaiah Simmons, a pass-rushing linebacker for the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals, is driving me crazy.
He wears jersey No. 48, which bears some similarity with Kylie Fitts’ No. 49. So when Simmons sacked Seattle QB Russell Wilson last Thursday night, Nov. 19, I started writing the notation that the ex-Redlands East Valley defensive giant, Fitts, had himself a sack.
That is until Fox Sports play caller Joe Buck called out Simmons for the tackle. Fitts, the well-traveled football player from San Bernardino, plays special teams. During a second half physical skirmish, he was spotted in the midst of it all.
* * *
There’s a 13-minute video out in YouTube land with retired cyclist Phil Gaimon, a two-time Redlands Bicycle Classic champion, giving a nice rendition of the race, which could see its second straight cancellation in 2021.
We’re hoping for medication to save 2021. On Gaimon, it’s part history lesson, part law enforcement, part cycling humor, part travelogue.
I always seem to catch a little hell from anti-cycling readers who believe high school sports — or any other local sport — trumps anything the pro cyclists do on local roads.
There’s room for everything that’s news … provided I hear about it. Gaimon’s YouTube video is refreshing, entertaining and something I wish I could’ve provided for my readers.
* * *
John Thomas, a 1959 Redlands High graduate and eventual Terrier Hall of Famer, died recently. More is to come on John, who spent plenty of years coaching at the youth level, high school softball, plus college.
This guy has a requiem of memories, not the least of which was that he played for the early Dallas Cowboys, apparently 1963 version. He played offensive line, which means he blocked for the likes of Don Meredith and Hall of Famer Eddie LeBaron during practice runs.
He probably had some stories to tell, too, about going up against Hall of Famer Bob Lilly in practice … or playing for legendary coach Tom Landry. RIP, John.
* * *
San Bernardino Unified Schools opened with its first workouts last week — Wednesday, Nov. 18 to be exact — eight months after prep sports shut down.
Not since March has that legion of schools — Arroyo Valley, Cajon, Pacific, San Bernardino, Indian Springs and San Gorgonio — seen its swimmers, runners, ballplayers, shooters, kickers and other genuine athletes collectively surge through San G’s tennis court entry ways.
Compared to, say, Yucaipa and Redlands districts, which started workouts on Oct. 1, it left San Bernardino schools training well behind the scenes. Get ready for it, area sports fans. Absence of a vaccination, it doesn’t seem logical that prep sports is set to play.
Complain all you want, parents. We’re in that same line of complainants.
* * *
I’m betting there isn’t a single solitary voter in this readership that ever believed they were granting Gov. Gavin Newsom the play-or-not order the last time he was on the ballot.
Question: Would you change your vote if you knew? Just asking!
Got a sports tip? Want to chat sports? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.