Newsletter - 2004 Archive

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Roger's Memorial Ride and an Outlandish Proposition

by Susan Barr

March 7, 2004
It's hard for me to believe that a year has passed since Roger's death - I still "see" him out riding, before I remember that of course I can't be seeing him. Today was the day of the Memorial Ride, and despite the fact that it was fairly dismal - the rain was coming down steadily - at least 20 of us assembled at Bean Brothers in Kerrisdale for the ride. I was on my commuter bike (which is substantial!) and had to work fairly hard to keep up with what was actually quite a modest pace (this information is included here to point out that oxygen deprivation may cloud one's thinking process). On the way out to Iona, I was talking to Karen Smith about how this was where I'd last seen Roger. It had been a beautiful spring day just over a year ago, and I noticed this quickly-approaching blur of cyclists in my rear-view mirror (I was on my commuter bike…). At the head of the pack was Roger, with a great big grin on his face, accompanied by Susan Allen, Doug Latornell, Keith Nicholls and Cheryl Lynch. I sucked wheel for awhile, but then had to head home while they completed their customary Sunday morning "Tour de Richmond". When I heard the news a couple of days later, it just didn't make sense, and it still doesn't.

Anyhow, the ride went on. People talked about their memories of Roger, and about their plans for the coming summer: Tour BC, the Rocky Mountain 1200, an "exciting, challenging" 1000 km, a five-week canoe trip, and more. I briefly mentioned contemplating doing a 1000 km ride, as my longest ride to this point is a 600, but at that point I was mostly making conversation. We headed out to the end of River Road, and then turned around for the ride back instead of heading south to go to Steveston. (Everyone was pretty soggy, and comments were made that "Roger got the last laugh" when it came to the weather!) Several of us decided to stop for another coffee at Bean Brothers at the end of the ride, and it was at that point that Ken Wright made the outrageous suggestion that I think about signing up for the Rocky. He was planning to ride it with Roger and Ali Holt, and assured me that it would be fun. He also pointed out that the entry deadline was fast approaching….

In order to appreciate the rest of this tale, you need to know that I am NOT a risk-taker - I've always said that my adrenalin kicks it with almost no provocation. It's certainly not like me to jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim, and that's what the idea of doing the Rocky felt like. But I kept on thinking of Roger, and how one of the things I'd admired so much about him was the way he "seized the day" and did the things he wanted to do, now rather than later. So somehow I found myself on the BC Randonneurs website at the end of the day, downloading the entry form (the effects of the oxygen deprivation during the ride must have been longer-lasting than usual…).

Post-script: At this point it's March 13 and I'm sitting in the Denver airport, reflecting on what still seems like my insanity. However, the "faint hope clause" is still in effect: Two days ago, with a week left to the registration deadline, there were 100 riders registered, which is the limit. Given an expected flurry of last minute entries, it looks like the lottery will take place. I honestly don't know whether I'll be relieved or disappointed if I don't get in - but I think the odds are weighing in the direction of disappointment. So stay tuned!!

Post-post script (April 3): I'm in!! And I'm excited!!!