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THE ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD : Veteran Thurlow Rogers Develops a Companion in Competitive Cycling--His Younger Sister Dara

August 24, 1989|TIM BROWN | Times Staff Writer

Women's racing, however, has not reached the heights of its men's counterpart. Quality teams and generous sponsors are rare, which makes Dara's new-found dedication to the sport more difficult. She is gathering information for her resume, which this season has been bolstered by impressive showings in the road and track National Championships and various other events, and invitations to the Olympic Trials in 1984 and '88. It could land her a position on one of the few recognizable teams, to which she would bring a veteran racer with solid cycling genes.

Dara estimated that there are 25 women who make their livings as cyclists. Perhaps there is room for another.

"Going to Nationals and seeing those girls, they didn't seem that much better," she said. "They were not a quantum leap ahead of everyone else. I thought if I raced with them, I could be very competitive. And if I wait any longer, I really will be over the hill."

With the racing season slowing for Montgomery/Avenir and Dara concentrating primarily on races close to the Los Angeles area, Thurlow and Dara have had a chance to coordinate the occasional training ride. It is a luxury they could not always afford. Dara studied at UC Santa Barbara and Thurlow seemed to always be traveling with a team.

"I may have encouraged her a little bit," Thurlow said. "But what she did she did on her own because I was off racing at the time. The times she decided to go hard, she did really well.

"And she goes out and has a good time."

Said Dara: "Thurlow was devoted. He gave up a lot to race. Not like me--wishy-washy. It's not the same intensity that he does.

"He's got the killer instinct, I think. He definitely has to be the best."

That was the drive that led to Rogers' Pan American gold, Olympic team berth, European contract and then positions with various prestigious teams. The focus, however, has changed. Because of Rogers' longtime professional contracts (he since has regained his amateur status) his career course is no longer directed toward concrete payoffs like the Olympics.

"It's definitely more difficult now," he said. "I don't have the real obvious goal and the easy steps that you knew ahead of time. Granted that system had a little more pressure. Here, since what I'm doing is more spread out through the season, it's more difficult to focus."

Rogers is the team captain for Montgomery/Avenir, which is coached and managed by Borysewicz, Rogers' amateur coach. Rogers does not look to Borysewicz like a man searching for focus.

"Thurlow is a very good example, a good man," he said. "He shows riders how to ride as a team. He is our main man on the road." Rogers can find solace in that--even five years removed from his greatest cycling moment. Especially after five years.

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