Friday, June 25, 2010


I rarely write about my commute because there's rarely much to say. "I rode to work. There was traffic. It was hot." But, today was unique.

First, I stopped by The Dutch Monkey donut shop and ate this, amazing thing:

 Dutch Monkey Treat

Then I got a voicemail that I needed to hurry up and get to the office to handle, but rather than take the standard route in, I tried to take a route that I sometimes go home on instead, missed a few turns and ended up wasting about 20 minutes trying to figure out where I was. And, if that wasn't bad enough, I actually managed to fall over because I couldn't get clipped out. How long have I been riding?

When I finally did get in to the office, I immediately read that Dave Blumenthal was killed yesterday while riding the Tour Divide. I didn't know him, except by name, but we have enough in common for it to hit me pretty hard.

Every now and then I hear about a rider getting injured or killed, but it's so rare, it's just not the kind of thing I even associate with mountain biking, even long distance, self-supported mountain biking. I mean, I'm very careful when I ride, and I've had friends that have gotten hurt, some pretty badly even, but when I hear somebody's going out for a ride, it simply doesn't occur to me that they might not come back.

When I read that he had a wife and young daughter, my heart dropped through the floor. It physically hurt to think about. When I'm in the woods by myself, I think about my girls all the time, sitting at home, watching TV, and I imagine that first instant when it strikes them to wonder why I'm not home yet, and the cascade of fear that would follow if I wasn't actually coming home. It makes me shudder, it keeps me focused. It reminds me to swing wide on Winding Stair.

And the driver of the truck that hit him... If I were that driver, even if it wasn't my fault, eventually, the guilt would be strangling. That guy's got a long road ahead too. This thing is tragic on every side.

With so much sadness, there are two things that might lift it, just a bit. Dying while doing something you love is very, very high on the list of good ways to go. May I be privileged to end my life that well. And, the details are sketchy, I don't know whether he was making a left or right turn. If it was a left, then there's a lesson here too, one I've seen so many riders ignore, but this death may drive it home... Swing wide on those blind, left hand, FS road sweepers. Yes, it is slower, but it can also save your life.

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