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?
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.
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.