This is Andrew Juiliano and I'm sure that a lot of people who know about my bikes have followed his racing over the years. For those of you who have not known his odd path to racing cyclocross in Europe and his association with my bikes , I'll try to tell the story from what I remember of what I saw, think I saw, imagined I saw, or maybe I'm just making some of this stuff up......Andrew can clear that up if he wants. He offered up some photos but I thought that the ones that I had were of his pre-Europe days and speak to his roots.
Andrew was from New Jersey originally but he also has roots in Idaho. For some reason he found himself in Santa Cruz and got a job in a millworks in the same building where my shop is located. A few years earlier Drew had been racing mountain bikes at a really high level, even getting a top ten at the nationals. He pretty much hung up his cleats after that and did odd jobs- working in a restaurant , being and EMT and of course, the millworks. He rode an older road bike with triple crankset when he was working at the millworks and didn't appear to have much in the way of cycling clothes.
After awhile, another tenant of the building got to know Drew and invited him on some rides. It was clear that he was a strong cyclist but wasn't much aquainted with road cycling. The other tenant told him that he should join the Tuesday lunch ride- one of the more spirited rides in the county and one that attracted many of the faster cyclists. On his first go, Drew did well for about half the ride, his tee shirt flapping in the wind at 25 MPH in the paceline with all the lycra-clad local hotshots. He got dropped on the return leg of the ride but it did not deter him from coming back for more in the coming weeks.
After getting used to the ride and getting some better riding gear it became obvious that Drew was possibly stronger than anyone else on the ride. It was at this point that the tenant who had invited him into our cycling group decided that Drew needed a spot on the Rock Lobster CX team. I was happy to have him aboard, not knowing how he would adjust to CX as it was a totally new experience for him. Drew didn't bother riding with the lower ability groups and went directly into the A category with no experience or ranking at all. In his first race he did OK in spite of his lack of experience. Pretty soon he was getting on the podium at the local races and thinking about going for the UCI domestic circuit and really seeing how he stacked up against the best in the country. He was becoming the best rider on the team and one of the best in California.
After a top-20 finish at the nationals and a number of good finishes at UCI events that garnered him some of the hallowed UCI world ranking points, Drew decided that the real racing was happening in Europe so he made plans to get there. All through his racing he rode on bikes that I built-testing them to the max and wearing a couple of them out faster than anyone else as far as I can remember. He threw caution to the wind and flew to Belgium and raced the most iconic races on the European circuit.The unique thing about Drew was that he was a good writer and chronicled his race experience in a way that nobody previously had ever quite pulled off.
He officially left the team and was doing his own thing but still riding on my bikes. The more he raced, the more I wanted to put him on the latest stuff. Drew resisted at first, wanting to continue racing with cantilever brakes and cable shifting. He was a holdout for longer than most but a couple of years ago he finally went with what I now call the World Cup CX frame- I can only call it that because Drew raced the world cup on the bike-actual quantifiable and verifiable race experience , for Drew and the bike.
Drew's racing career was exciting, getting a podium at a race in Spain- something that American racers have almost never done. He finished on the lead lap at some of the hardest races in the sport with the finest fields. In his last season he was having difficulty in the last third of the race-an intestinal problem that was getting worse week by week. He needed to see a doctor and after trying to race through it he finally did. The problem was colitis-a debilitating painful condition that has no treatment. Drew changed his diet, changed his training and really tried to manage the illness and still race. He was able to have a good race now and then but the writing was on the wall- the best thing to try to beat the disease was to discontinue the thing that was making it worse-racing CX on the world cup.
Drew continues to be involved in the bike world and still pedals a bike a bit but is much more involved in surfing at this time. While it isn't likely that he will race again at the world level , he definitely made his mark- a privateer on the world cup circuit riding on a bike built in a shed by one guy. I don't think that there are many other guys like that. In his last season, Max Judelson, and old Lobster team mate came over to Europe and raced with Drew in his last races. The two of them were often the only Americans in the field. They provided entertainment and I'm sure that a few of you reading this might have seen them on TV when the 2018 European CX races were covered by NBC sports.
There have been a lot of notable people racing bikes that I have built over the years but I have to say that Drew garnered the largest following of just about anyone, and that includes a lot of really popular people from the team. It is because of him that the top-end team CX bikes I build now look and ride the way they do. I don't think that I would have come to the current design without having input from Drew that he garnered riding the muddy off-camber ruts in the north of Europe.