Friday, August 6, 2010

Coming up for Air

I decided in the spring of 2007 that I really wanted to become a mountain biker. One of the first things that I did was sign up for a mountain biking skills clinic. My friends Shawn and Christine also signed up to advance our skills.  The clinic was divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced riders. Right away Shawn convinced us that the beginner group was not for us. They were learning how to shift gears and clip in to their pedals. He insisted that we would be fine in the intermediate group so off we set. Chris bailed and headed back to join the beginners but Shawn and I soldiered on. At the first obstacle we came upon to practice, I expressed my concern but Shawn confidently insisted that we would be okay. The further we progressed along the trail the less confident he became. When one instructor went off a drop and broke off his rear derailleur and another performed a slow motion endo (picture, somersault over the handlebars) Shawn looked at me and said "dude, we are in so far over our heads!".  That pretty much sums up how I have been feeling for the last year about undertaking the Leadville 100.

Not too long after this day we lost Shawn to a tragic accident when he was on his road bike. He was taken too soon and didn't get the chance to explore his new found love of mountain biking for very long. Shawn's last race was an Xterra triathlon and the joy on his face was contagious.

Shawn at Xterra Temecula 2007

If you happen to be riding near me during this years Leadville trail 100 and I am whooping it up on a descent, join me in honoring Shawn's joy for life. He couldn't ride a descent without hollering a little. If you think you hear me talking to myself, just know that I am telling Shawn "dude, I'm not in over my head anymore, I've come up for air!"

Shawn and our good friend Tony

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