Anyway, Randy and I were more acquaintances than true "friends" I guess, but we were certainly friends of friends.
It seems like it was just a month ago that I heard Randy had developed pretty severe cancer and that things were less than optimal. What started off as a "simple" skin cancer near his nose turned into a severe and fast spreading case of cancer that eventually took over his liver. All of this took Randy's friends by surprise- all too quickly too.
This past Sunday, on the 9th, Randy passed due to the cancer. Randy's death comes on the heels of another cancer-related death in the cycling community just a few days before. Again, I can not claim that Randy and I were "tight" with each other, but receiving the news of his death today was another gutting experience. I always knew Randy as a quirky guy who really and sincerely cared about cycling- with a very real and meaningful passion. His good soul is evident by the number of people who are deeply saddened by his passing. Randy's life and now his death has touched many people and that influence will hopefully spread faster than any cancer ever could.
Skin cancer is something that many of us nearly take for granted- simply an inconvenience from being in the sun "a little too much". It was a simple skin cancer that ate it's way into Randy's world and eventually his liver. I am one of the worst when it comes to remembering to use sunscreen. Hell, just this past weekend I got a sunburn on my face, neck and head from walking around for hours in the sun at a local street fest. I simply forgot to get my hat and put on some sunscreen- a process that would have maybe slowed me down by about a minute to two minutes. Maybe. For those of you who are cyclists, I understand not wanting to use sunscreen all the time- it can be greasy, it can burn your eyes as you sweat it off, it can leave you covered with a thick film of grime after a ride, etc, etc. But- it can also save your life and spare your friends and family the agony of having to say goodbye to you too soon. It's impossible to say if sunscreen used sooner or more often would have saved Randy's life, but it's my guess it would not have sped it up. Sunscreen should be as obvious as strapping on a helmet. I know that I am going to try to become extra vigilant in my own use of sunscreen because I want to be around as long as possible and because Randy's death serves as a painful reminder that it isn't just reckless drivers that can kill those of us who ride bikes.
Please, in honor of Randy, remember to put on sunscreen when you ride your bike.
Rest in peace Randy; wherever you are, I hope there's always a tailwind and a clean line to the finish.
PS- Here's some information on a memorial ride happening this Saturday at the San Diego Velodrome;
PLEASE JOIN US TO REMEMBER AND HONOR OUR FAMILY MEMBER, FRIEND, TEAM MATE AND THE PERSON WE LOVED.
WE INVITE ALL CYCLISTS TO JOIN US ON THE TRACK FOR ONE SILENT LAP FOR OUR FALLEN TEAM MATE. AFTER THE LAP, PLEASE REMAIN IN THE INFIELD.
ALL NON RIDERS, PLEASE JOIN IN THE STANDS. AFTER THE FINAL CYCLIST LAP, PLEASE JOIN US IN THE INFIELD.
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO BRING A FLOWER TO PLACE IN THE INFIELD.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.
RANDY I. CLARK