We lost my father 11 years ago today.
Dad was a strong quiet man, a provider and protector. He was very careful about how he did things, always reading, observing, studying and then addicted to whatever it was he was pursuing. Very determined and to the point, when dad set out to do something he would never waver and 98% of the time came out on top.
Way before we became a bunch of health crazed bike riding nut jobs, My dad was a pack a day smoker. That is until he realized he was killing himself and his family so he threw the cartons away, woke up the next morning and never smoked again. It was all about succeeding to him.
I remember the day my father went on his first bike ride. He left the house on a brand new Schwinn High Sierra and set out for an “Around the Golf Course” loop that I think was maybe a 5 mile ride. He came back 45 minutes later, red faced- half way to a stroke and staggering to the shower. The next week he bought his first pair of “real” cycling shorts and never looked back. He was a member of Cascade, Tacoma Wheelmen and his own club at work Team N.E.D (Nuclear Engineering Dept.) He racked up the rides, STP 1 day, RAMROD, Daffodil, PMC and many others and went on to buy a tandem that we all (Mom, Evan and myself) stoked on but it was with mom that he found the most fun riding with at multiple tandem rallies across the area.
In late 1994, My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was a shock to say the least. I mean, prostate cancer is an “Old Mans Disease”, right? Dad was only 46! With the same determination he charged headlong into the fight. Pouring over articles and online support groups he was very involved with his own treatment. The occasional cry over an AT&T commercial or a trip to a Sears White Sale (due to hormonal therapy) brought a bit of levity to the situation and dad did keep a sense of humor through it all.
Though he fought hard the next few years, he lost his battle in our home on May 24th 1998.
Dad is in our thoughts everyday. He is and always will be part of our lives. Every time I ride he is right next to me reminding me to keep my elbows bent and to always try the hardest I can at everything I do. Evan has some great memories too that we always gravitate to whenever we hang out.
We love you dad… keep on riding.