Friday, July 3, 2009

To Jeannie: from Richard

Hi Jeannie:

I realize that I could speak to and write to you privately, but because your work touched so many lives during our race, I'm hoping that you might not object to a personal message also being a public one.

We spoke openly about RAAM for the first time almost a year ago, remember? It somehow seems like only yesterday. You had said that if I ever raced in RAAM, you'd like to be on the crew. And so there we were in my backyard having a beer last July and I was asking you to accept a crew position. I sensed that you had some concerns about not knowing very much about bicycle maintenance, but I assured you that as long as we secured a couple of good mechanics, being a good crew member didn't have all that much to do with that. I said it had so much more to do with letting go of ego, working well with others who you may not know well at first, and while never getting enough sleep, selflessly doing whatever it takes to help the racers succeed. After I explained all that, thankfully, you still wanted to do it.

During RAAM, you had two big jobs. One was to take care of Charlie and me as we entered the RV for our nighttime sleep breaks. You were incredible at your work. As soon as I entered the RV, you immediately attended to my nutritional needs and your calm, confident manner always put me at ease. You gently woke me in the perfect amount of time to get ready for my next riding shift. I know that you were at times exhausted from lack of sleep, but not only did you never complain, you always kept a smile on your face. Your attitude was contagious. It became clear to me throughout the race that if you were willing to work so hard to help me accomplish my RAAM goals, I somehow owed it to you to go out each and every time and ride to the very best of my ability. From speaking to Charlie, I know he feels exactly the same.

As wonderful as you were at your RV work, your work on this blog leaves me nearly speechless. Several times during the race I heard murmurs from other crew members about how great the blog was. Toward the end of the race I found myself looking forward to getting home and sitting at a computer in a quiet room and reading it, along with all the comments. You touched many, many lives with your incredible talent. Charlie and I had so many family members and friends who were able to experience this race through your amazing efforts. Your work on this blog has been a wonderful gift to all who followed Team Reaching Heights and the blog itself will be something that Charlie and I will treasure for the rest of our lives. I simply don't know how to thank you enough.

No Jeannie, you don't know as much about bike maintenance as some, but you were the perfect RAAM crew member.

With the deepest appreciation and affection,



Jeannie said...

Richard - It seldom happens, but right now, words fail me. I can't tell you what your words mean to me. Thank you. I was very nervous about crewing, but I knew I wanted to be part of nurturing your dream to fruition. Now that it has happened, I will always treasure the memories we created - most especially our private conversations on that last day when the big moment was nigh. You are a very big man with a very big heart, and I love every inch of you. You're a wonderful neighbor, a great friend and a helluva champion. Thanks for allowing me to share this experience with you.


(Kelley) Brooke said...

Jeannie....He's right about you, you know. : )


Somebody else who also knows how great you are.