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Louis Garneau: An Interview with a Legend

Last December, I had the privilege of conducting a nearly hour-long interview with one of cycling’s most important figures, Louis Garneau. Of course, I had to get there first, and I’ll tell you, getting to Quebec City, Quebec isn’t easy. First, there’s the flight to Chicago, which always leads to an extended layover in Chicago. Incidentally, there are only two cities that fly to Quebec City — Chicago goes directly, and New York connects from Calgary. Either way, you’ll probably come in on a late-night puddle hopper, only to land in a dark, cold, and almost entirely French-speaking country.

As for me, this was all true, but I had the added benefit of being shortly detained at customs, only to be quickly frozen to my core in the dead of a December night. Regardless, I had an audience with the man himself in the morning, and I was excited. Of course, I’d done my homework, and what I’d found was a man with tremendous ambition and an incredible streak of altruism. He was an Olympic road racer, an accomplished professional cyclist, a cofounder of Team Rwanda Cycling, and oh yeah, the founder of one of the biggest cycling companies in the world.

After an hour of picking Louis’ brain in the middle of his Dream Factory, I found all of these things to be true, only far more interesting in person. Below, you’ll find the interview in its entirety. For the past eight months, I’ve wrestled with the task of transcribing it, but honestly, it’s better to hear it from the source.

 

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It all started here — Louis’ first bike.

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Louis Garneau’s headquarters are massive. However, Louis still has the palmares to keep most of the building littered with his cycling accolades.

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Headquarters from outside. I’m sure that there’s a Tim Horton’s around here somewhere.

_MG_3665Dubbed the Angel Room for pretty obvious reasons, this is where all of the big decisions get made. There’s also a pretty impressive duck decoy collection hanging from the rafters above.

_MG_3621Jerseys galore — you could get a pretty deep book going from this case.

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They really love Tommy V is this building.

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The Dream Factory, downstairs, is Louis’ pride and joy. You’ll also find his boys running the show.

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It’s difficult to capture the shear amount of awesome. It’s especially hard to capture when it’s five o’clock on Friday in a union-run facility.

I wish that I was able to capture more, but the building is intended for work, not field photography. If you’re ever fortunate enough to see it, Garneau HQ has one of the best indoor training facilities I’ve ever ridden in. And when it’s sub-zero for most of the winter, this is a very good thing.

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