Meet BMX's new Super Hero: Bacon Boy
In 2020, the Chase for two of the No.1 Amateur Championships came down to two teammates, down to the last turn, and down to a major move from the second place rider to score the win. In Amateur boys, Minnesota’s Cole Frederick was The Kid who pulled off what everybody thought would be impossible.
Cole Frederick knows his Bacon. Explain to our readers why they call you Bacon Boy.
COLE: The first reason is at the Gold Cup, everybody in my moto had a nickname, except for me. So I felt out of place. So, because my dad is a pig nutritionist - and he makes pigs taste good, it seemed like a fitting nickname.
Really? That’s what your dad does?
COLE: Some people call him a Pig Doctor. So first it was just going to be “Bacon” but then we thought Bacon Boy sounded more like a super hero.
So up until the Gold Cup, you’ve never had a nickname?
COLE: I didn’t. All of the Cole nicknames were taken. Cole-Train. Cole-dozer. There weren’t any Cole-ones left.
So from what I’ve heard from those who’ve had it, your dad’s bacon is the best.
COLE: He used to work at a farm, but he switched jobs with one up in the cities. Now he can work remotely from anywhere.
So what’s his secret to good Bacon?
COLE: It’s all about their diet. Normally, his job is to figure out the diet that makes the pigs grow faster and healthier in a short amount of time. But during quarantine, when all of the slaughter houses were closed, he had to figure out a diet that would keep them growing but at a slower pace - until they re-opened.
How much bacon do eat on a weekly basis?
COLE: Well, on Sundays, I’d say we eat about a pound and a half.
So that solves the Bacon Mystery. Let’s start off with the 2020 season. When do you and Sean Day start racing against each other?
COLE: Las Vegas was the first one we raced together at, and then he ages up. Then I age-up at what we call “the practice race” - in Louisville. I just age-up for Louisville, so I’m giving it a full 100-percent, all the time to the finish line, to see where I stand before the Grands.
You guys had some good races in Louisville, right? How’d it go for you?
COLE: Except for the first day - up until mains, I struggled a bit. Plus we had Marshall - six foot one, next to you, signing in the chutes.
Marshall is becoming a giant, isn’t he? Doesn’t he get to race the same class two years in a row due to his Grands birthday?
COLE: I think if it’s a leap year, then he ages up at Grands. ...or something like that.
So basically, Louisville is the test event to see if you can beat El’ Suave or stick close to him?
COLE: I think it’s a test for both of us. We don’t get to see each other all the time, so he might not have any idea how fast I’m going to be, or doesn’t know how fast I am, we come together and push as hard as we can. See where we are, and what we need to work on.
So after Louisville, what were your thoughts? Were you feeling good about it?
COLE: My dad showed me videos. Even though he’s not a coach, he’s about knowing what I need to work on. He’s picked up some stuff from Burlin (Harris). Other times we’ll send video to Burlin and he’ll tell us what I need to work on. It’s just a lot of back ‘n forth between me, my dad and Burlin.
I thought I’d heard something about you bumping up your gearing in Louisville?
COLE: We were trying to find the right gear and I think we played around with my headset spacers. That was my first race on my new carbon-fiber Radio, so we were testing the waters.
Then you also raced the Gold Cup in 2020. Normally you don’t hit that one, right?
COLE: Yeah, at first we weren’t going to do it, but since it was at Mankato, I really wanted to do it. I hadn’t raced a Gold Cup in four years. It’s only 45 minutes away from home, so it was fun to race against the Minnesota kids - and have fun, rather than staying home and training.
That is one thing we’ve noticed - that you really know how to have fun at the races. Racing with a glue-on mustache or cruising the Grands pits with a mullet wig.
COLE: You’ve always got to put a smile on.
What were your thoughts coming into Grands? You were No.6 in points and Sean Day had a pretty impressive lead in the No.1 spot.
COLE: I really didn’t know where I stood. My dad told me, ‘Cole, if you win Grands, I don’t think you’ll have enough points to win it.’ I was like, ‘Well .. either way, I’m still going to try my best.’ Throughout Grands, I was riding around after every race trying to clear my head. Listening to music, talking to random people. Talking to my friends. They were telling me don’t screw it up. Just coming in to Grands, I was just like ‘Let’s go! Let’s have some fun!’ My mom has always said ‘I don’t care what place you get. I don’t care if you get moto’ed, just as long as you try your best and have fun. But once you get to quarters, we’re going to focus and get serious.’ We always have that one talk before a Grands main, with my parents, and they tell me they don’t care if I get last place, as long as you try your best and have fun. But in my head, I’m thinking about this quote they have on the wall of the high school gym, and it says PAIN IS TEMPORARY, PRIDE IS FOREVER. So I go by that now.
I think to myself - if you crash, then you might feel hurt for three or four days, you might be sore for a week, but you’ll be back on your bike in no time. You just take that leap of faith.
Aside from BMX, what else are you in to?
COLE: Food is one of them. I’d say food, cars and then college football. Those are things I’m into.
Being a teenage boy, are you a picky eater or eat-anything type?
COLE: I’m not picky at all. My mom tells my friends moms that I’m a garbage disposal. When we go on vacations, I’ll try anything. I tried octopus once. I had fried frog-legs down in Florida - tasted like chicken. I’ve tried alligator. A lot of strange things taste like chicken.
So you’re also a 3-time World Champion. What did you think of racing in different countries?
COLE: I liked all of them, but probably my first one in Rock Hill the best. Remember how hot it was? And my mom ran over a bird that was still alive and it took out the A/C in our car. It’s just a fun experience.
Has everybody in your family raced at one time or another?
COLE: Everybody has tried it. My dad, he raced until he broke his collarbone. My mom practiced but never raced. I think me and my brother traumatized her. Every time she’d go into a turn, we’d cut her off. My sister tried it but didn’t stick with it. She chose soccer. My brother raced for a while but got injured a lot. He plays football, soccer, wrestling and track. He prefers football.
Now with your size, we’d bet that every school coach wants you to give up BMX and play school sports.
COLE: I’ve done football and wrestling, but I went away from wrestling because of my weight and always have to wrestle all of the big, buff older kids.
Ever tried hockey?
COLE: I tried to skate one time, but I needed one of those walker-things. My friends say they would just throw me out on the ice so I can run into somebody. That’s my job in football. Just run the ball and go straight.
Seems like you grew about a half a foot taller over the summer. Or have you always been one of the bigger kids in your class?
COLE: I don’t even know. In Minnesota, you’ve got all of the tall people playing football and all of the short guys playing hockey. I think about two year ago was my most dramatic growth spurt. I grew three inches in three months. I’m not the tallest kid in my class. Must be something they put in the Minnesota water.
We were thinking it was all the bacon.
THAT GRANDS MAIN
Let’s talk about the big one - that incredible Grands main. Talk us through that race ... let’s start with staging. What was going through your head?
COLE: back in staging, I was just watching the races in the jumbotron, talking to Sean - making sure we’re buddies. Talking to everybody - trying to make everybody laugh at least once. ‘Cause I feel I want to be like Marshall, and keep things light. But then when we start going up the back of the hill, then it’s time to get serious.
Right before I get into the gate, I’m not talking to anybody. I’m focussing. When I get up to the curtain, I start thinking about what things can go right - instead of what things can go wrong. I was in lane two. Sean was in three. I’m used to that. I’m just thinking - get a good gat, maybe move him over a little. Mostly try to go as straight as I can. Try to get to that first turn first.
How was your gate?
COLE: My start didn’t go as planned. I was trying to recuperate from that. Trying to stay clean. Making sure to grab pedals in places my parents told me to. Putting pedals in where I didn’t think I could. Even pedaling out of turns - I pedaled way sooner than I thought I ever could. I didn’t think I could stick it.
So you come out of the Tulsa turn, speeding toward the Z-jump. What are you thinking right then?
COLE: What’s going through my mind is I’ve gotta catch up to him. I’ve got to be close to him - to make a move in this final turn. I was hoping to be able to pass him thru the rhythm, before the turn. But when I saw how fast he was going, and I was going, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I was too nervous and started over-manualing stuff. I’d have to resort to something I knew would work, so I started pumping thru the rhythm.
You’d been in this position before - in the previous year. Right?
COLE: I was so close to him last year. I had him, but just didn’t finish it. So this time, I was going to finish it. Even if I did crash, I know that it’s only going to hurt for a week, maybe.
It seemed like about halfway thru the rhythm, you opted to move toward the inside. Was that your deciding moment?
COLE: Like Burlin always told me, plan ahead. Think of everything you can do to pull off a good move. I was thinking about what I was going to do in that turn. I just let my body do what it normally does - which is pump, and went go into that turn, full send. Kinda closed my eyes a little bit, hoping I could do something.
When I made contact with Sean, I was thinking - ‘Oh shoot! I hope he doesn’t go down. Hope he just pulls his brakes.’ But he left the door open, so I wasn’t going to back down. I took it. Sadly, he went into the soft stuff.
It’s a main event that will be watched over and over for years to come.
COLE: Afterwards, Brody Cole asked me how I stuck it that low. I told him - G-force. Actually I’m still surprised that I
stuck it. ‘Cause you see people sliding out in that last turn like it was nuthin’. I watch it and think - ‘Dang, man. Did I have extra traction on my tires?’
It was a Bubba-move. I’m sure Burlin will agree with that.
COLE: Burlin always tells me the story of how Bubba made impossible moves in turns. So,
if I’m going to be like Bubba, I’ve got to do this. We’ll make this turn possible.
So after winning the main, you know that Nick Adams can still win the title if he wins 17-20X. What were you thinking as you watch that main go down?
COLE: First of all, I didn’t know who needed it. When I saw that someone was in front of (Nick), I was like - ‘GO, whoever-that-is.’ Honestly, I thought Ronnie Kim was ahead of me in points. I would’ve been OK with that. But once BA announced it, I was shaking. It was just luck, you could say.
Not bad for your first Grands win, ever. Plus, you’ve earned every available #1 plate you could earn in 2020. That's a pretty awesome year! Congratulations.