Every rider in the 24 Hours of the Old Pueblo was preoccupied with fatigue, the elements and the treacherous, dangerous, spiky desert terrain, but there were two guys with other bigger issues on their minds.
Colin, Bill, Tony, and Damian were ready to race in the 4-Man category for their fifth straight year. Then fate intervened.
Tony found out he needed a stem cell transplant. He’s beaten cancer twice before. He was fighting this one off, but it was too much. That’s him in the upper photos.
The three remaining friends didn’t think twice. They’d ride in his honor. Then Damian went over the bars on a training ride and broke his leg.
They could’ve bailed out of the race and nobody would’ve questioned it. Hell, I considered bailing on the race from time to time for such miniscule things as the travel cost or work issues.
But that wasn’t an option for Colin and Bill. They rode for their friends. Damian even hauled himself into the desert to support them – he’s the one in the two bottom photos.
With this mission in their hearts, it’s hard to know if they carried their teammates or vice versa. But as tough as the elements, trail, and competition were, they were always aware that their battle was nowhere near as tough as their friend’s.
Now, a little background here: Colin is a reader of our blog, 18milesperhour, and wrote in to wish us well on our race. He also promised us a beer afterwards. Colin and his teammates never mentioned their plight. They never wore this battle on their sleeves – although nobody would blame them if they did. It was only after I asked why their four-man team became two that he revealed why.
Now, I don’t know or care what your feelings are about this kind of thing but let’s send some good vibes out toward Tony in Mesa, Arizona. If you’re the praying type, send up some for him. For all of them. They’re good people and they deserve all the good vibes you can squeeze out.
Here’s to Team ToDoIt. They were all out there that day. They all won.
18 Miles Per Hour is Brian Miller and Rhys Newman. See more at 18milesperhour.com.