11.22.2004




This weekend past I had the honor of receiving a sportsmanship award from the promoters of The Classic Series presented by TREK. This is the first year where the promoters are giving an award to memorialize the passing of their friend and fellow cyclist Andrew Mein. I will give you a better understanding of what this award is about by posting the speech that Marc Vettori presented before he handed this award off to me.

Ambassador for the sport.
No better word could be used to describe what
Andrew Mein was for mountain biking in our area. Andrew was for many a
new rider, the first person in the “bike scene” to lend a helping hand.
Andrew would often take folks under his wing and help foster their
young passion for the sport. Andrew would teach us of the greatness of
Tomac, six day racers, the Belgium classics, the tour de france and men
who would look at our scrawny legs and just laugh. Andrew never would
flinch to help some one become initated in the local racing scene,
sorting out who was a true player, a sandbagger or just had too much
disposable income. As a racer Andrew found much success. As an
ambassador Andrew would impact so many more riders. Andrew was one of
the founding member of the wooden wheels mountain bike team, and as a
technical rep for Specialized, Andrew traveled the country wrenching on
peoples bikes, helping them to find to joy of cycling, and bring smiles
to faces. Andrew was selfless in his support often times forgoing
racing himself, to support his teammates efforts. A very intelligent
man, Andrew had a very eclectic tastes. On rides Andrew would often
lead choruses of Monty Python’s “I’m a lumber Jack and I’m okay…”
“Henry the 8th I am, I am …” or the repeated chant of “fire, fire…”
from one of Andrew’s favorite shows of the time Beavus and Butthead. A
huge proponent of technology Andrew was the first person in the area to
run SPDs, and to set up a disc brake. Andrew also believed in the true
suspension of 2.3 tire in the front, and low pressure. Andrew was not a
big fan of the corporatization of Mountain biking, and he would have
been proud of the grass root commitment of the Classic Series. Andrew
could often be heard saying “ mountain biking is about freaky people in
lycra riding their bikes in the woods” Andrew owned quite a fleet of
bikes himself, including his heartfelt “SS vomit boat” a steel single
speed/ fixed gear courier bike which he commuted on. Andrew would
often say of commuting through Newark by bike, “15 minutes by car, 10
by bike” In late November of 1998, while finishing one of these
commutes, Andrew was hit by car on Elkton road in Newark, and passed
away two weeks later at the Christina hospital. Andrew was survived by
his wife Olivia, his parents Simon, and Nan. And I am proud to be part
of an an army of cyclists whose passion for the sport was molded it’s
early stages by Andrew. Andew Mein, ambassador of the sport, and
tonight, in Andrew’s honor we present our Andrew Mein sportsmanship
award.
Prior to hearing this speech I had thought that I fully grasped the loss of Andrew Mein and the creation of this award. I had done some minor research on the incident that lead to the death of Andrew and I thought that my own personal life experiences of losing close and influential friends gave me proper empathy. But it was only after I heard this speech and stood in a room surrounded by Andrew's friends, family, and fellow cyclists did I actually understand the meaning of this award and the impact of the loss of Andrew Mein on so many lives.

I had not thought of the parents who lost a son. The women that lost a lover. The empty chair or desk at work. The bed that no longer had anyone sleeping in it, that extra tooth brush with no teeth to clean, the clothing that would never be worn again. I had not thought about the empty bicycle seat, the same set trails that would be different without him riding them, and the group of riders that lost their riding partner and their friend to wrench with. I had just seen a name and heard a story. But I had not really felt any loss. But, after gathering with these people and hearing this story I had a better feeling of how important one person can be and how important life is. Andrew died living. He died doing what he loved. Death is a topic that the cyclist likes to avoid. We all know it is out there, yet we try to ignore it thinking that it will go away. Death will not go away, death is around us. We must respect it and avoid it. Test our limits without testing our fates.

There will continue to be rides, races, and parties where people will slow down and think about Andrew and what life was like with him and what life is like without him. People will get drunk and curse GOD and question WHY! Only to find that there is no answer. There may be moments where someone comes around the corner and for a second a person may think...is it...can it be? But it won't. Andrew is gone. There are very few things as sure and true as death.

I can not say that I understand life and know its meaning. In respect of the Andrew and all others that have died I will not try to sum up life with a simple metaphor, but I will say this. Perhaps it is sad that Andrew did die, but we must all be happy that he was here and he did live, even if it was for an abbreviated time. Better that he lived fast and hard to die young than to have not lived at all. Let all that knew Andrew be happy that when he did pass through this life as short as it may have been, that he passed through and touched your lives. His actions helped to make your lives better.

Through the experience of winning this award and meeting some of Andrew's friends I have been touched by Andrew, not by him directly, but by those who were close to him. Now, his life has meaning to me.
Let his life continue to have meaning.
Lets all go out and ride!



maybe next year I will compete in more races hosted by the folks at Wooden Wheels and Mountainbike Racer.com and get a chance to better know some of these people

what did I do to earn this award?
just what I would hope that someone would do for me....
I stopped my race (which I was in the first place spot in the Clydesdales) to help a racer who had crashed off trail and appeared to be injured. The second place racer also stopped to lend a hand. We were able to resume the race. I ended up taking second not placing much significance on us having to stop for another racer. It seemed like the most basic thing to do.

Solidarity and Competition are vital in cycling....but I intentionally stated SOLIDARITY first; as it is more important.

even my GWADZILLA size does not diminish the size of this trophy




Race Report on the Granogue Race with mention of stopping for an injured racer

and

Halfway down the page is the Race Report from the Fairhill Classic
you do have to scroll down past some stuff
I really need to back up this info
and
design it so it is cleaner to surf through

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