If you’re up in Nederland, Colorado, hammering out some windy road miles on the Peak to Peak Highway, keep your eyes peeled for retired pro Timmy Duggan, doing the same.
Born and raised in Boulder, he currently resides with his wife and dog down the road from Eldora Ski Area—the perfect location for his current endeavors. After retiring last year from an 11 year pro career culminating with an Olympic appearance in 2012 and a U.S. Pro Championship win in 2012, with a final year on the international Team Saxo-Tinkoff in 2013, he’s returned to the passion of his youth and is coaching Alpine Ski Racing for the Lake Eldora Racing Team programs.
Of course, you’ll also find him slinging dirt as a realtor for Boulder Property Network at ReMax of Boulder, working as a Skratch Labs brand ambassador and making appearances in the cycling world for his Just Go Harder Foundation. Duggan also recently teamed up with Ridgway’s Axel Project for some charity rides this summer/fall helping promote getting kids on bikes.
We caught his wheel this summer to find out what it’s like to be off the pro circuit after nearly a dozen hard fought years.
What’s it been like not working as a professional athlete this summer?
It’s certainly been a transition. All I’ve known for years as an athlete is focusing on doing one thing really well. Now my attentions and energies and passions are more divided; this is great but also a struggle! It’s been nice to devote energy to those areas of my life that get neglected when you’re racing.
I was pretty much a ski bum this winter—I went to Japan, Europe, and of course all around the backcountry in Colorado. I even did an extreme skiing competition! Also a lot of gym, weights and agility work, its nice to get back to my athletic roots and be more multidimensional. I feel more balanced and strong than I have in a long time so that’s awesome. My chiropractor and acupuncturist don’t see me as much any more.
Why should Americans care about pro cycling?
Because it is the most beautiful, dramatic, and difficult of sports. And everyone, no matter who they are and at what level, can step out the door and ride a bike. The average person can participate and relate to it much more than many traditional sports.
We need to move on. I don’t think we should get too focused now on what happened 10 years ago, other than we must learn from it. The focus needs to be in the now and on the current generation of cyclists coming up who grew up in a very different environment. Myself, in my generation, doping was never an option, never pushed on me, never suggested. If anything, the peer pressure recently has been very, very, strong not to dope.
What are some of your personal fitness tips to help us Average Joe’s stay competitive out there?
Maintain a focus on skill building, whether that is bike handling or your ability to move through a peloton or read a race. There is so much more to bike racing than just the numbers and physiology of it.
Any regrets from your career? What was your greatest moment?
For me, being named to the Olympic team in London was the biggest honor. I’m super proud of that.
Regrets…not that I could control it, but I had several injuries during my career that had a big impact. Ultimately I was fed up with being hurt and still trying to perform, so breaking my leg last season was really the beginning of the end. If that hadn’t happened I would be in a different place. But that injury basically put me on the mental path out.
Tell us one of your harrowing tales of survival from your time on the pro tour?
To be honest I think I’ve blocked most of the bad ones from my memory. You gotta have a mind like a goldfish sometimes to keep doing this. In 2010 I just finished up a trip re-conning some Vuelta stages. I was back home in Girona training on my TT bike and dropped my handlebars over a speed bump. Broken elbow. My wife drives out and picks me up in the car. Surgery that night in a Spanish hospital to repair it. I speak pretty good Spanish but I definitely was forced into improving my Spanish medical terminology. They roll me into surgery, the doc, in Spanish, is telling me “OK, were are going to stick this needle into the nerve in your shoulder. You will feel strong pain for a moment, don’t worry when your arm starts shaking.” Oh good, this will be fun. They were stabbing me with some nerve blocker first. Anyways, I came out the other end ok. But that was an epic couple days. Do not break your elbow…that is the worst in the world.
What’s going to be most important to you going forward?
I just want to balance my life and spend time with a few different passions. I am joining the family business at ReMax of Boulder doing residential real estate. It was always something I wanted to do post-cycling so its exciting to get that rolling, and a great way to share the passion for the community that I grew up in. I’ll also be working with the ski/cycling club I came up through, Lake Eldora Racing Team. I’ll be coaching with the alpine race team this coming season, serving a mentorship roll to the mountain bike program, and helping the club with business development, sponsorships and fundraising. I’m starting to do a fair amount of motivational speaking to a variety of audiences. I’ll also stay involved in cycling in a few different ways… working with Skratch Labs, the USA Cycling Board of Directors, and various one-off events and rides.
—Aaron Bible is Elevation Outdoors’ digital editor