Everything came to place... the weather was freezing cold, only a few inches of snow, and I was off work....Was a balmy 8 degrees F which took a little self motivation but I put my a boot in my butt and got myself to the trailhead with 29er in tow.
Twas a glorious ride, even though I didn't break the trails snowginity, the ride was awesome nevertheless. A heavy snow flurry was hanging around making the ride even more surreal - Narnia-like... The only soul who dared the woods at 9am when it was 8 degrees outside... my mother telling me how crazy and stupid I was to be out riding in this stuff... Must be an inner rebel in us mountain bikers saying who says you can't ride when it's below freezing... Hypothermia -- fuggetaboutit!
Everything was going great until I got home and opened Facebook... I learned the news that my buddy Stan whom I met in 2012 and went and rode with at Fruita in 2012 passed away a few days ago on December 21, 2013. To say I was shocked was an understatement...I was totally floored. I still can't believe it even today - even though I only knew him briefly, it feels like I have lost a friend that I knew for a long time.
Stan was such an upbeat fellow.. I knew he had battled cancer and even during his fight with cancer, chemo, and radiation therapy, he went to Fruita in 2012 and rode everything like a champ - never complained one bit. He was always with a smile on his face and rode every trail from the easy to the challenging better than most people who are perfectly healthy could ride them. He was tough and had true grit.
Even when my slow carcass was in the back of the pack, Stan hanged back there with me to give me company and it was all about the good times and social experience. This is probably the biggest impact Stan made on me. He could have been miles ahead of me and that is the gospel truth, Stan did a lot of riding and was really good at it. Did charity rides over 150 miles and all that stuff. I ride 20 miles and think how much of an accomplishment that is.
Stan was one of the original Earthriders - the mountain bike club than in the past 15 years or so brought over 100 miles of excellent singletrack to the Kansas City, Missouri area. Smithville Lake was one of his puppies - he was involved with the attaining permission from the Clay County Parks to get trail at Smithville Lake, to scouting the woods for where to put the trails - learning all about trail building and stewardship, to being a guy when work days would occur you could pretty much bet he was there.
The trail I rode just happened to have been dedicated to Stan just a few weeks ago prior to his passing by the Earthriders crew in honor of his many years of hard work and dedication. Stan's Southside Loop located at Smithville Lake in Smithville, Missouri.
Stan was dedicated to mountain biking and trails. The whole mountain biking community in Kansas City are so indebted to his hard work and dedication. I will always remember you Stan.
Stan, my prayers are with your family and friends at this time of sad loss. I pray we meet again soon in Heaven where I know you are building golden singletrack for those of us yet to get there and look forward to riding with you when I arrive my friend. I know if you are up there building trail, it is going to be some sweet singletrack because the singletrack you helped build down here on Earth was some of the best you could ride in our area. You were part of one of the best crews in the country as our trails are always trimmed, maintained, and ready for action.
Godspeed my friend!
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