The TA FRD is the fastest track bike in the world. Period. Featuring radical technological innovations like asymmetrical airfoils, the most complex and advanced carbon fiber lay-up on the planet, and a radical left-hand drive system for optimal aerodynamics inside a velodrome, the TA FRD is nothing short of an engineering marvel. You can read the complete story about its development and innovation here.
But what of the riders who actually get to experience the thrill of racing it? We’re not talking about the Olympic medal-winning professionals of Team USA, we’re talking about the enthusiasts who have plunked down their hard-earned cash to buy one. Meet David Fetah, an avid Masters track racer, retired finance executive, and the newest owner of a Felt TA FRD.
FELT: Tell us about how you got started racing bicycles.
David: Like many kids growing up in the United States, riding bicycles was a big part of my life. I always had a bike to ride, but I played more traditional sports like American football, baseball, and basketball. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, so those were the more popular sports there when I was a kid. But there was also a velodrome in the eastern part of the state, so I was always aware of track racing. After I graduated college from Penn State in finance, I got a real job, and began enjoying riding bicycles as an adult. So I started doing triathlons for fun and to be competitive. As triathlon started to grow and become a bigger sport, bikes became more and more sophisticated, and I also started branching out into other forms of bike racing. One of the first bikes I ever had was an early aluminum Felt B2. So I’ve been riding Felt bikes since the early 1990s.
FELT: How did you become interested in track racing?
David: I started racing bicycles more frequently about 15 years ago, and gradually got a bit better. But as I got closer to retirement, I thought that maybe I could be an even better cyclist since I would be able to devote more time to riding. So I decided I’d go ride on the track in order to better my skills, which was a very foreign experience to me, because most of the really fast guys I knew rode on the track regularly. They were fit, efficient pedalers, and they knew how to race with tactics in mind. So I bought a Felt Tk and became a bit better, and starting winning some races as a masters athletes. I went to the Masters World Championships in 2015 with a team pursuit squad, and we won the world championships and set a new world record. In 2016, we went and did it again, we won the world championship and broke the world record again.
FELT: What made you decide to purchase a TA FRD?
David: Throughout the course of that experience, I quickly learned that track racing is a sport that revolves around fractions of a second, and it’s very much like track-and-field athletics in that regard. So it became very important to me to not only become the best cyclist I could be, but also to have the best equipment I could get, because even if you’re an efficient cyclist and smart tactically, if you don’t have the right equipment, then it may not matter. So this past year I made a big effort to become more aerodynamic on the bike in terms of my fit. Also, in talking with some of my training partners, they said you should go buy the new Felt TA FRD if you want the best of the best. I watched the Team USA women’s pursuit squad featuring Sarah Hammer and Chloe Dygert, and I just thought, “Wow!” I know I’m never going to be as fast as them, for sure, but I thought that maybe I could improve my overall racing and the efforts that I do.
David's world championship-winning Tk track bike, and his new TA FRD.
FELT: What are some other bikes in your stable?
David: I have a garage full of Felt bikes. I’ve got an AR road bike, I have a DA that is my time trial race bike, and I have the Tk track bike on which I’ve set world records. So I’ve always believed that Felt is on the cutting edge of bicycle design and technology. I don’t know what other bike I would ride if I couldn’t ride a Felt, especially on the track.
FELT: What’s the first thing you’re going to do with your new bike?
David: I’m taking it to the track tomorrow, and I better be ripping it up!
Rally UHC Cycling’s road captain, the venerable Svein Tuft, is calling it a career at the Grand Prix Cyclistes de Québec and Montréal on September 13th and 15th. The 11-time Canadian National Time Trial Champion and two-time road champion will lead a roster full of Canadians at North America’s premier WorldTour one-day races.
A cyclocross bike is ideally suited for going fast on a racecourse, while a gravel bike is best for all-day adventures over mixed terrain. But what separates these two types of bikes in terms of different riding experiences? And can’t you just have one of the two types of bikes to use for both gravel and cyclocross?
We're race fans through and through, and we'd love to watch our favorite racers roll up to the start line for one more season. But life is much, much more than bike racing, and we're always thrilled when our athletes can retire on their own terms. Thank you, Allie, for the memories—we salute you.