Monday, November 12, 2012

A little look back.

I posted this a few years back on Rob Fusco's blog. Just been a little nostalgic lately so here it is:

 Rob posted via twitter: tell your story. I disregarded it at first, thinking what do I have to say to the world that I haven’t said or that I actually want people outside my close circle of friends to read. Nothing had came to mind until today after riding about 60 miles when I passed the cemetery where two of my friends are buried and it came to me. I would tell the story about the loss of a friend and the making of a new one and how that process had changed my life and maybe the lives of a few others.
Billy was diagnosed with cancer on Oct 4, 2006 when a tumor in his large intestine ruptured and he was admitted to a local hospital in excruciating abdominal pain. Billy was 27 years old at the time. How the fuck does someone 27 years old get cancer?
At the time, I was a few years removed from racing downhill mountain bikes and was really into rock climbing. I had always loved stories of mountaineering. One day while visiting Billy in the hospital I asked if he needed any books or magazines. He said he wanted to read about the mountains. I brought him a few books, one of which was Mark Twight’s book “Kiss or Kill”. Billy tore through it. He loved the intensity, the rawness and uncompromising spirit. He was so excited he kept taking about some local climbs he wanted to do together. About this time, I discovered the Gym Jones web site, and with no direction, I tried some of the workouts with no rhyme or reasons. I just jumped in. I would destroy myself. I had no idea what I was doing but I found something I liked a lot! I slowly started to figure some shit out and started climbing a little better.
If any of you know someone who has died  or battled cancer knows there is an ebb and flow, the patient has brief moments of feeling better, just enough to give him or her a little hope. This hope is contagious when see your friend feeling better and you start to think he can beat this. We would make plans and the cancer would just slap him back down.
Summer 2008, I told Billy about a race in Utah I was going to do (my second road race ever) and there was a pretty good chance Mark Twight would be there. Billy was so excited, he said “you have to beat him, in fact when you pass him you should pull out your cock and wave it at him”. We laughed, but I insisted their was no way in hell I could beat him and I was pretty sure he raced in a different group than me, but I would try to meet him.
June 17, 2008, in front of Porcupine bar and grill we lined up, and on that day they started the Cat 4 and 5 racers together. As I was looking around, there he was, MFT. I smiled and said “Hi Mark.”  He said “Hi” back but looked slightly confused, like “Who the fuck is this guy? Do I Know Him? WTF?”   The starters gun went off and the race was on. The nice thing about the Porcupine Hill climb race is there are no tactics. It’s a thirteen mile race all up hill and it takes the pros about 1 hour. We start off hard and I have no idea about the course except that it goes up hill, so I am just riding as hard as I can. At one point, I get spit off the back of the group I was riding with, and I hear a voice say “hop on my wheel and lets catch that group” I looked over and who was it but Mark Twight! In my head my brain was yelling at me “stay on that wheel, Mark Fucking Twight is helping you, Stay on that fucking WHEEL!”.  We caught the group pretty quickly and right when we caught back on, a guy attacked and I went with him. I looked back and yelled at Mark to come with us but he didn’t make the move. With just a couple of miles to go, I started to cramp up, but I just kept telling myself “this isn’t shit to the pain Billy is feeling right now.”  I held on to finish 16th in my second ever road race.
After the race, I thanked Mark for his help and told him I liked the web site. He invited me to attend a seminar in Oct, and he also told me I should race the Everest Challenge, but that is another story for another time.
I was super psyched when I called Billy.  Not only did I meet Twight, but he was cool as fuck!  Billy was so happy that I was invited to go to GYM JONES and I beat our hero in a bike race. I had to apologize to Billy because there was no way in hell I was going to be able to wave my cock at Mark. I was way to hypoxic to do anything but hang on to the handlebars. Billy laughed his ass off! He was so excited for me.
Billy Pine Died two months later on August 19, 2008. He is survived by his wife Janis and their  daughter Sydney.
I’ve raced Porcupine Hill Climb the last two years and thoughts of my friend come flooding back, not of him dying but of his contagious laughter and smile. I wonder if it wasn’t for Billy would I be on the path that I am on now. I am now lucky enough to call Mark Twight a friend.  We end up racing against each other a few times a year and he beats me more often than not.  I have upgraded to CAT 3 and I’ve been to GYM JONES multiple times and have earned the “intermediate” certification. I now help  other people train and try to help them achieve their goals. Without the inspiration a dear friend gave me, I don’t think I would have done any of these things, and when I am suffering in a race and want to quit, I think of the that inspiration and I hope I can do the same for someone else one day.
My original copy of “Kiss or Kill” is in a box of Billy’s work stuff.  I hope one day Sydney will find it and maybe it will inspire her as much as it did me and Billy. 

Thanx Rob for a forum to post this.