Newsletter - 2003 Archive

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My memory of Roger Street

Val White


I didn't know Roger Street very well when he accompanied us on the first and only 600km ride that I have completed. He was one of those big, fast, popular riders in the club who I saw at the start of the ride for a few minutes and never afterwards. He rode with the 'in' group.

But, back in 1997, Roger didn't have anything to prove and I did, having previously attempted, but not finished, two 600km rides. Danelle and I were planning to ride the August 600km ride along with the unruly bunch of Bob Marsh, Bob Bose and Keith Fletcher who just wouldn't or couldn't ride in a proper paceline. I don't know how it came about but Roger deigned to ride with us, as he just wanted to make the miles to get his Super Randonneur pin, and didn't care about the time. It felt great having someone take charge.

We set off in the early morning and sweated through a hot August day, the group sticking fairly close together. Roger was keeping the boys in line and we were actually riding with some kind of synchronicity. In the early evening we were really humming along in single file when all of a sudden we crashed. Danelle, who was in front of me, went down, I rode over her wheel and went down, and there we all lay sprawled at the side of the road. Bob Marsh, who had been up front and not involved, came back to lift us up off of each other and to try to determine what had happened. It turned out that Roger's wheel had seized completely in an instant, bringing him and all those behind him to an abrupt halt. (Roger had taken his wheel apart, greased it and put it back together the night before!-I'm not sure what that said about his mechanical skills!) I do remember that as we stood at the side of the road cleaning our wounds and with blood dripping down our legs, several nice Americans stopped and offered assistance. We had just left a control town, so "No problem" said Roger, "I'll just take a lift back to the town and call Sharon". The rest of us resigned ourselves to continuing without Roger, figuring that Sharon would just come and pick him up. We rode shakily off and finally struggled into the motel at about 3am where we were to have our two hours of sleep.

After we had had our showers and fallen instantly asleep, Danelle heard a knock on the door and answered it, saying, "Oh, it's another Rando rider!" We had thought we were the only group doing this ride, so were surprised that someone else was showing up. Then she said, "Oh, it's Roger! How did you get here?" He was like an apparition. In our exhausted state, we just couldn't figure out how he could be arriving at our doorstep, not too long after we had gotten there! We obviously didn't know Roger and Sharon very well. Roger, not to be deprived of his Super Randonneur pin, had asked Sharon to drive down to wherever it was in Washington State, not to pick him up and take him home, but to bring another wheel so that he could continue the ride! And Sharon actually did this in the middle of the night! We were amazed and impressed, but soon went back for our second hour of sleep. Roger had to sleep on the floor.

We finished the ride without mishap the next day, all of us between 39 and 40 hours, Danelle having a flat in the last 2 km and Roger and Bob staying to help her fix it.

Since then I have felt that I owed a great debt of gratitude to Roger for his encouragement and example in helping me to get through that event.
Thank you, Roger