OLYMPIA — By any standard, Richie Frahm is a success story.
He starred as the most unstoppable scorer in the Greater St. Helens League as a senior at Battle Ground High. He lived the fairy tale as Cinderella when his Gonzaga advanced to the Elite Eight in the 1999 NCAA tournament. And his NBA highlight, the one he could tell over and over now that he’s in retirement, came on a cold and weary night in Denver when the millionaires on the Seattle SuperSonics roster felt like they needed a day off, but Frahm picked up their slack by scoring 31 points.
Still, Frahm’s fire won’t go out.
So he filled his garage with five expensive bicycles and brought a 1993 Dodge camper van to drag his wife, their little dog and the ever present competitive companion that never leads his side five hours from their home in Spokane to this race headquartered at an elementary school in Olympia.
Frahm — the 36-year-old version of that legendary
captured image of the young man jumping into the arms of a teammate after Gonzaga’s Sweet 16 upset over Florida — has taken to competitive cycling. It’s been a year now. He’s lost some early races, peddling as nothing more than a 6-foot-4 windshield for the opponents smart enough to draft behind him. He’s also won a few, climbing up the points system to become a Category 3 cyclist.
He once described retirement for a professional athlete as a first death. So, this feels like a rebirth.
Frahm needs this new hobby.
His long and circuitous ride in basketball may be over, but his overpowering urge to compete just won’t take a seat in the rocking chair.