Laurens ten Dam wasn’t voted most popular in his high school yearbook.
“I was already racing my bike by 17,” he says. “Which was considered pretty weird in comparison to drinking beer and smoking pot. But then maybe you were a little bit the outlaw because you were really into sports.”
Ten Dam, who now rides for pro tour team LottoNL-Jumbo, is no longer the outlaw and he certainly does not lack for popularity. He has over 75,000 followers on the popular athlete site Strava and those same followers gave his nine mile ride to the grocery store last week 1660 kudos.
“I just try to be myself,” he says. “I don’t try to make up something to be popular.”
We caught up with Ten Dam outside the world headquarters of Strava. He was making a quick appearance between a three-week training camp in Tahoe—part of his Tour de France prep—and his flight back home. While he was in Northern California he made sure to secure the Donner Pass KOM on Strava to add to his virtual trophy shelf.
“Getting those KOMs is like any other mountain top finish,” says Ten Dam. “I had to just sit down.”
He sipped on his macchiato (“This is good coffee.”) and when we asked if he would like some fruit or something else to eat, he declined. He is watching his weight (or lack there of).
During our brief time together, we tried to get the answer to the questions the main stream media are afraid to ask.
What’s your spirit animal: They call me Wolfman. He says he got this nickname a few years ago when he showed up at the tour with a full beard and long, long hair. “Like an animal.”
Toilet paper, over or under: Over
Stemware up or down: I just had to put it down while I was in Tahoe, but at home, up.
Favorite color: Red, um no Yellow.
Three friends using three words to describe you: My best friends would say I am a pitbull, never giving up. I’m honest. And I’m a pain in the ass. I can trigger them. Always moaning and bitching. Always bitching.
Boxers or briefs: What’s a brief? Oh. Boxers.
Favorite food: BBQ Steak
Least favorite: Sugary foods. I like them, but I don’t eat them.
Favorite race: Tour de France
Least favorite: I love racing. I’ve even done the kermesses in Belgium. Actually you can put me in any race.
Favorite non-bicycling activity: enjoying a nice Belgian beer.
You seem to be very popular with the dudes, but not so popular with the ladies: I don’t know maybe they see the ring on my finger and I’ve been with my wife since I was very young, so I don’t know. You will have to ask them.
Longterm plan: I want to ride my last professional year with an American domestic team. Maybe live in Santa Cruz, ride four hours, go the beach and bbq some steaks.