Monday, July 6, 2009

Riding with Mr. FJ

This Saturday saw another opportunity for a special ride. The plan was to get a very early start from the town of Sonoma and then hang around with the families to watch the 4th of July Parade. So Tim and I headed out to Sonoma at 5:45 where we met about 10 others. It was our largest group ride in FJ (Fitness Journal) kits this year.

Right at the appointed time we roll out and head for Cavedale, which is another famous local climb. We all climb at our own pace and regroup at the top. The descent is very fast and technical and on Saturday it was wet with fog. So we take it easy and head into Napa. The only issue at this point is we are a little behind schedule.

The climb and subsequent pace lines cracked Chris a bit. He has been very busy and doesn't have the base miles the rest of us do. So we let the rest of the group go while Tim and I rode in with Chris. We rode along at a leisurely pace and talked about everything. If you were watching us you would think it was just an ordinary ride. But it wasn't. This would be our last ride with Chris for a very long time. You see, Chris and his family are moving back home to New Hampshire.

Chris is one of those guys that when you meet him you immediately like him. You also wish you could have met him much sooner. In the few short years I've known Chris we have had some amazing adventures and I fully expect to have many, many more.

One of the first times I rode with Chris we were climbing Spring Mountain Road. As some of us were chatting, we hear this screeching voice behind us singing Roxanne. This became one of Chris's trademarks. Then there was the ride at Union Lake Reservoir where we quit counting how many flats Chris had that day. By far the greatest adventure was our road trip to Colorado in the FJ Mobile which is a fully wrapped RV.

When not riding, Chris spent many hours in the FJ Mobile sagging for us on long rides. He put together a fully supported ride for the local FJ'ers to ride the entire Tour of California stage from Sausalito to Santa Rosa last year. In addition to supporting the FJ crew, Chris volunteered his time and the FJ Mobile at many local events as well. The New Hampshire cycling community does not know how lucky it is to have him arriving.

Chris is also very creative and you never know when your face will show up Photoshopped into some crazy photo. A couple of years ago he created these magazine covers for us, which were just frigging awesome. The captions on the cover were all customized for each of us and based on conversations Chris had with us over the year.

It has been a long time since a good friend has moved away. While I am very excited for the new opportunities that await Chris in NH, I am saddened to see him leave. However, in today's world of e-mail and Facebook, it easier then ever to stay in touch and I am confident that Chris and I will do just that. In fact, I am already looking forward to riding the covered bridges of NH.

I wish Chris and his family the best of luck on their cross-country move. He may be 3,000 miles away physically but I will think of him every time I slip on my FJ kit and hit the road.


1 Comment(s):

Sarah said...

Great post, Lee, and great tribute to Chris. He really is an incredible guy and one of the nicest people I've ever met.

I'm definitely bummed they're moving but I know it inevitably means a road/bike trip at some point down the road!

Thanks for highlighting some great memories with Chris. Don't forget the way he surprised us all that time we did the TT and he was taking photos of all of us at the top of the hill! :)