Tuesday, May 10, 2011
In Memoriam - Wouter Weylandt
Usually when a athlete or other public figure passes away in a tragic way, I'm usually not affected all that much. This sounds horrible I know, but let me try to explain. I certainly sympathize with the family, but not having a close personal connection with individual, I continue on with my life. The death of Wouter Weylandt on stage 3 of the Giro yesterday affected me more then a little.
Maybe it's because I could see myself lying there on that pavement on my favorite training loop. The descent down the Passo del Bocco was probably just like any other for Weylandt, just as another training ride is for me. As cyclists, be it professional or amateur, crashing (whether in a pack during a race or from being hit by a car) is an accepted risk of riding our bicycles. While we certainly don't like to think about crashing, it is always in the back of a cyclists mind. But we accept these risk because we love riding our bikes.
I obviously didn't know Weylandt personally. But I can say this with 100% certainty. He loved riding his bike. You don't make it to the professional ranks because you simply like riding. The road to the top is often one of low pay, under-appreciation, and hours upon hours of hard work on the bike. To make it in the sport you need to love riding.
So to all those who are unsure if they should race or ride this week because of what could happen, I say this - get on your bike and ride. Ride fast, ride slow, ride one mile, or ride one-hundred. Just go ride. This is the best way we can honor a man who loved riding his bike. You can best believe that's where I'll be.