Pro Cyclist Chad Gerlach: Losing the Fight with Addiction
Former professional U.S. Postal Service cyclist Chad Gerlach has recently relapsed. The cyclist gained popularity for his appearance on A&E’s “Intervention” for a 5-year addiction he had to crack-cocaine and alcohol.
Gerlach spent several years panhandling the downtown Sacramento area streets, where he resided as a homeless for several years prior to his appearance on A&E’s “Intervention”. The transition from pro cyclist to homeless crack addict sparked after being booted off the U.S. Postal Service team for issues involving Gerlach and a team member, Lance Armstrong.
With a support base of family, friends, and TV network A&E, Gerlach rebounded from his addiction and went on to sign with the Amore&Vita pro cycling team. A recovered Gerlach caught the attention of many cycling enthusiast with his successful return to the saddle. Fans were inspired by his saga and began comparing it to Lance Armstrong’s battle with cancer. A new Gerlach emerged.
Tragically, in early July of 2009, Gerlach said he reverted back to using crack-cocaine. I caught up with him late last month in front of a Downtown Sacramento pub, a location he deemed his spot to panhandle for the night. With a crisp grey t-shirt on, some shorts, and a pair of Specialized cycling shades, Gerlach didn’t appear homeless at all. Behind him, perched against a wall, stood his transportation, true to form a yellow Specialized mountain bike. When asked where he was living, Gerlach replied jokingly, “‘District 9′ . . . like the movie”.
The once professional cyclist expressed his desire to “kick the habit” again, stating with little confidence in his voice that he’s checking into rehab soon. As he hustled for cash, Gerlach shamelessly heckled on-goers in a humorous fashion as they passed by, while still remaining engaged in our discussion.
“I’ll race again one day”, Gerlach assured. The very talented Gerlach hopes to be competing against his former teammate Armstrong again one day. Now a father to a newborn baby girl, Gerlach has one more reason for checking into rehab. Gerlach reminded me that he’s still working on a book, which he said he is having trouble completing.
We at Bike Reviews wish you the best Chad.
by Zach Medina