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  1. #1
    fc
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    Death and Life at TNGR

    Death and Life at TNGR-26167649_10155862932718213_1974205127398180123_n.jpg
    RickyD and Smilerz are in the TNGR photo

    To the uninitiated, TNGR is the South Bay weekly ride of Mtbr. It started more than 10 years ago as local Norcal Forum riders got together after work and actually met and rode together. What a concept huh? TNGR is stands for Thursday Night Gap Ride and it's a short or long ride, early or late depending on daylight. But it's characterized by a potluck beer session after. It occurs more than 20 times from spring to fall as time permits.

    Death and Life at TNGR-20106383_10155364398003213_621260548546488279_n.jpg

    I've met hundreds and hundreds of folks through this ride but today, two people come to mind.

    One is John Smilie aka 'Smilerz' in the forum. He joined the ride about three years ago despite some trepidation about his speed or lack thereof and advancing age. He used to be a pro soccer player and had taken up mountain biking recently. He asked for my advice on what beer to contribute to the party and I said, "St. Bernardus ABT 12 750ml" as a challenge. Well he brought it on week one and then on week 2. This went on for 20+ weeks as he did NOT miss a single TNGR ride that year. St. Bernardus was shared each week.

    This year, he hardly showed up to TNGR. He mentioned some health issues earlier this season and it's been quiet. Last week, I learned of his tragedy. He lost his wife of 40+ years, 3 months after a diagnosis.

    TNGR members went to a service last night and hugged John and talked. The tragedy is so devastating it's hard to comprehend.

    Here is the obituary: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/me...q9FLMTaYs9P6EM

    Death and Life at TNGR-46495934_10156669254063213_57006727257653248_n.jpg




    The other story is one of life. Last year, a new guy showed up at TNGR and his name was RickyD. Taking the time to get to know him, I learned that he was a military guy who just moved from Hawaii. That's not common.

    Prying in, he finally shared that he relocated to help his son get treatment at USF. Cystic Fibrosis was the disease and this was the only place that could help him at this stage. He uprooted everything, got a job at Lockheed and stayed with his son through treatment.

    Death and Life at TNGR-20431411_10155413975733213_3779386781474130289_n.jpg

    Today I read this from his kid: https://cysticfibrosisnewstoday.com/...AToE5XZKzYzVwk

    His son is healed and has decided to stay here. Ricky is back in Hawaii with his wife. I hope Ricky and John will consider me and other TNGR folks as friends.

    Death and Life at TNGR-36840287_10216349647238082_7959213859988832256_o-e1542394151407-1400x480.jpg

    Ride, Show up, Share and get to know people. Some of the best people in the world are mountain bikers.
    IPA will save America

  2. #2
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    Great post FC, especially around Thanksgiving. We need more good-vibes content like this!

    Smilerz, sorry for your loss. RickyD, RAD!

  3. #3
    fc
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    And then there is the story of Kris, the only female in the group TNGR photo. Her story is even more tragic and will take much longer to tell. Next time.
    IPA will save America

  4. #4
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    This a great thread. Thanks for sharing. For me, 50% of MTB is being on the bike, but the other half is meeting and hanging out with folks. I might have to join in on a TNGR night some time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Ride, Show up, Share and get to know people. Some of the best people in the world are mountain bikers.
    Completely agree. I'm probably too narrowly focused but I'm having harder time connect with non-cycling people. I think 90% of the people I hang out with either are hardcore into it or at least do it enough to understand this passion.

    Great Post. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  6. #6
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    Awesome post, I'm not teary eye'd, something just got in my eye... A good reminder that there are no guarantees and to live life and love like it might be the last time you see that friend or loved one.
    2018 Trek Farley Ex 8 - One bike to rule them all!

  7. #7
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    It's hard to hear about peoples individual tragedies and hardships, but heartening to know that a group of riders make things easier and instill a sense of community in others.

    Happy Thanksgiving all!
    Why Johnny Ringo, you look like someone just walked over your grave.

  8. #8
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    Nice to know people like John AKA Smilerz. He truly is just a nice man and heartbreaking what happened to the love of his life. I never met RickyD but that his story is amazing. Thanks for sharing these stories as we all share common interests in MTB but also have become an extended family.
    They never made the "Slowster"

  9. #9
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_kman View Post
    This a great thread. Thanks for sharing. For me, 50% of MTB is being on the bike, but the other half is meeting and hanging out with folks. I might have to join in on a TNGR night some time.
    My son and I were RC Racing when he was young. But those folks were not good to be around (in general). So had to put a stop to that during his developmental years.

    I wanted him to grow up around mountain bikers.

    He found baseball and those folks are a mixed group. But I made sure mountain bikers were always around him.
    IPA will save America

  10. #10
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    FC, thank you for sharing these stories. A good reminder to listen to others and be sympathetic to others situations. I am very thankful for so many things including my family and friends and I will not take them for granted!!
    "The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the
    pilot." By: Michael Altshuler

  11. #11
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    Great post FC. I enjoyed meeting some of you at the Demo rides a couple weeka ago and I will plan to join the TNGR next spring when it revives. Need to force myself to socialize more.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all
    Hunt Hard, Kill Swiftly, Waste Nothing, Offer No Apologies...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    My son and I were RC Racing when he was young. But those folks were not good to be around (in general). So had to put a stop to that.

    I wanted him to grow up around mountain bikers.

    He found baseball and those folks are a mixed group. But I made sure mountain bikers were always around him.
    Yeah, there are exceptions in every group, but as a whole, I have always been impressed with the MTB community. I find the same type of good people in the climbing/mountaineering community as well. Maybe there's a correlation with the people who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, maintain a healthy level of fitness, and put themselves at varying levels of risk?

  13. #13
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    Great post bro.

  14. #14
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    Great post FC... and great to see so much support for John last night (tons of family/friends and several TNGR/MTBR members). I am not surprised that someone with a personality like John had so many folks come out to offer a kind word, handshake, and a hug... but it was good to see.

    Now lets go enjoy some herodirt from all this rain!!! 🤘
    "...That said, we exhausted the comedy material in this thread, so we're done here." -KMax

  15. #15
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    Death and Life at TNGR

    Great post FC. This community is strong and supportive, which is not a thread that runs through many groups. Im not an extrovert, but this makes me wish I was more connected to the South Bay group.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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  16. #16
    jms
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    Timely with the season and well done. Excellent writing FC. Thanks for putting it up.
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  17. #17
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    Good stuff man. Hope the two fellow riders can get back on their bikes soon and carry on. The TNGR clan sounds awesome. StB12 is rad - makes me want one right now.

    Since August we here in the ElDoCo have been riding Tuesday nights. The Locos are having a great time riding, sharing stories, hanging after. We usually start and end at Mraz Brewing Company. Last night it was one of the Locos house where we ended with tacos, beers, a lot of laughs, smack talk, laughs, cornhole, beer, and beer.

    Lots of quality time spent with the Locos. When we aren't riding, we're sharing 100's of texts daily. Most of it is outright nonsense, dirtbag stuff. Poorly edited photos of misc Locos and well placed phallic images, or bottles of Zima. Good dudes, good friends. Happy thanksgiving.

  18. #18
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    Having lost my wife of 20 years 2 years ago this coming Christmas I can say the only thing that held me together was biking/skiing and the good friends that I enjoy those activities with. I was in a dark place for a long time and still grief, life is short, live it the best you can.

  19. #19
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    Having lost my wife of 20 years 2 years ago this coming Christmas I can say the only thing that held me together was biking/skiing and the good friends that I enjoy those activities with. I was in a dark place for a long time and still grief, life is short, live it the best you can.
    Knowing a little of your backstory, I smile EVERY time I see a riding post of yours. Go Buddy.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    This year, he hardly showed up to TNGR. He mentioned some health issues earlier this season and it's been quiet. Last week, I learned of his tragedy. He lost his wife of 40+ years, 3 months after a diagnosis.
    I'm so sorry, John. I'm not on social media any more, and I hardly check in anywhere, just tired of the internet and good being unplugged, but hard to learn about all the happenings. My condolences. Take care! Chin up!

  21. #21
    fc
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    Death and Life at TNGR

    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeBC View Post
    Having lost my wife of 20 years 2 years ago this coming Christmas I can say the only thing that held me together was biking/skiing and the good friends that I enjoy those activities with. I was in a dark place for a long time and still grief, life is short, live it the best you can.
    Good share. Thank you. The way you go after adventure and pursue life is legendary.
    Last edited by fc; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:55 PM.
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  22. #22
    fc
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    Rode with Smilerz yesterday. We talked quite a bit and I learned more about this deep tragedy
    IPA will save America

  23. #23
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    Thanks for the post
    Vintage MTBR norcal.
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  24. #24
    fc
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    In August, they got the diagnosis and then her health fell off a cliff. So they simply had no time. No time to live and to talk. Everything happened so quickly especially speech, brain and motor functions..

    This is what John shared on FB:
    ----
    November 17 at 8:50 PM
    Its with immense sorrow and sadness I share the news about the passing of my beautiful wife Frankie Smillie. Frankie passed away Sunday, November 11 only 3 months after she was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) a horrible fast progressing disease that affects the brain. There is no cure or treatment for this disease and it is always fatal. She faced this diagnosis with incredible strength and courage, never once complaining. Over time the disease took away her ability to speak however before that happened we had some time to talk to each other and one night when she was having difficulty with symptoms associated with the disease, she reached for me hugged me and whispered: I am sorry John. Those may have been the last words she spoke to me, but that was Frankie, she was thinking more about me and not what she was going through.

    I was blessed to have spent the last 40 years with her and I have lots of wonderful memories. I will miss her wonderful smile and beautiful big blue eyes. I will miss her every day for the rest of my life, and hopefully if Im lucky I will get to see her again someday. I want to thank my Family and Friends who have been helping me through this difficult time. You have all provided me with incredible support to help me get through the days.

    - john
    ----

    Hopefully, the mountain bike can help heal.

    Death and Life at TNGR-img_0818.jpg
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  25. #25
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    I am so sorry to hear about you loss, John. Thinking of you and your family and wishing you all the best. Take care, you have a solid group around you.

    Love always, Reed

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