February 20, 2013 – As the news slowly broke yesterday of the passing of cycling coach Jeremy Storie, many of the people whose lives he had directly impacted began to share their memories of the man.
The truly remarkably thing about Jeremy was the number of roles he managed to juggle simultaneously – taking on a dozen challenges at any given moment with equal, and total, commitment to each of them.
Jeremy was never a man of half measures, and if you raced bikes in the Pacific Northwest long enough, odds are you ended up butting heads with the man. But on the flip side, you undoubtedly benefited from one of his many initiatives. Whether it was as the organiser of the Spring Series races – a blueprint for what excellent grass roots road racing can be in this country – or in his work at the Burnaby Velodrome. In some way your cycling was probably furthered by Storie. One official remarked that while he often challenged officials at events, he always did so “in the spirit of sportsmanship.”
Former national team track sprinter Matt Chater talked to Pedal about how he initially did not get along with Storie, but that they developed a mutual respect over time. Chater said that he felt fortunate to have had Jeremy with him at the 2004/2005 World Cup in Los Angeles as he was an excellent professional. In the end Chater had nothing but respect for the hours and hours that Storie put towards the riding community, to the development of athletes and the dedication he showed towards the sport.
Among his lists of talents was an incredible flair for race announcing. Every Friday night at the velodrome would be marked by an endless stream of commentary over the loudspeaker with signature phrases like “grouppo compacto” punctuating the action. One of the real honours that riders could aspire to was one of his colourful nicknames.
While Brian “Do Me No” Wong was a personal favourite, other memorable names included calling the young Pope children the Pope-sicles, and the iconic Mike “The T-Shirt” Sidic. Many riders remembered jokingly how Storie would often coach his own junior racers while announcing the event – working in calls to counterattack or bridge into his colour commentary.
Leslie Vice pointed out that the nicknames were more than just amusing – in the often intimidating environment of the track, saying “hearing Jeremy call out you nickname during a race made you feel like you had a place there, main contender of not. I can imagine that for the younger ones it did a lot for their confidence, knowing they were not anonymous.” Vice commented that it was just a given that he would always be at local events and willing to help out. She is saddened that she will never hear what nickname Storie would have given her own son.
Professional rider and European 6-Day veteran Daniel Holloway remembered Storie for both his announcing and as the organizer of the first ever six-day Holloway attended, setting the stage for him to compete in a series of European six days.
One of the real legacies that Storie leaves behind is the dEVo cycling program that he helped found in 1999. The club continues to give youth and junior riders a program where they develop and mature within the sport. The number of riders that he coached and mentored over the years is far too expansive to list, and some of the programs most successful alumni include former National Champion Cam Evans, ex-Livestrong rider Cody Campbell, and current Optum pro rider Marsh Cooper.
Many of the young dEVo alumnu have talked about what a pillar Storie had been in their development, not just as riders but as people as well. His involvement in their lives was far broader than just cycling – and in some cases continued after they were done racing.
Brett Boniface recounted a snowy ride with Jeremy just this past New Years Day, and that two things had stuck with him. One was Storie’s sense of humour, and the other was his passion for youth, not just cyclists. Many might not know that prior to coaching cycling full time Storie had worked in the BC school system with troubled at-risk youth.
Long time EV club member Jonny Chung remarked that one of the things he noticed in the athletes that Jeremy took under his wing was that they often became ambassadors for the sport. And some, like current BC Cycling coach Jeff Ain, became coaches in their own right after their stint in dEVo.
To be honest I don’t know much about Jeremy’s own racing history, other than he loved the team pursuit and Madison events. Keith Bruneau recounted how at some point Storie had travelled to Australia for racing and returned with dread locks. Just three dreadlocks however as his hairline was already beginning to show the transition to what would shortly become his signature shaved head.
Bruneau recounted how the dreads were part of an aesthetic that always had Storie on the edge – be it dreads, or tattoos, or a brand done with a spoke (!!). But what Bruneau remembered most was that in the 25 years he knew Jeremy, was that his commitment to the sport never wavered.
Storie first transitioned to coaching 17 years ago, working with the U17 BC Cycling team. He was able to put his love of team pursuit to good use in recent years. Five years ago he was on the ground floor of building what would eventually become Canada’s Olympic bronze medal winning women’s squad in London. His Giant squad of Steph Roorda, Jenny Trew and Laura Brown captured Canada’s first ever national title in the event.
More than just coaching, Storie was an exceptional director sportif, with a head for tactics and a mind for how to win bike races. One ex-Symmetrics rider commented that Jeremy understood “what parts of racing really mattered.”
Over the years Storie worked with the 800.com and Giant Women’s team as well as the powerhouse Symmetrics men’s team. Jenny Trew was the captain of the Giant squad under Storie and is now in turn using those lessons in running the Steven’s women’s team. Trew remarked that in the years she raced after Giant, she was never again part of a team that was as cohesive and tight knit as the squad run by Storie.
Perhaps if there is anything to take forward with us in the wake of Jeremy’s passing, it is to try and collectively remember him by doing just one of the multitude of things that he did each and every day.
Help out a junior.
Volunteer at an event.
Rest in Peace Jeremy.