How many of you know how you started in cycling? Did you never lose the fever that we all once had as children? Did you decide to start riding again when you got older? Do your knees hurt, so you gave cycling a shot? Did a doctor tell you to get in shape and cycling caught your attention? Or...like me...did someone spur the interest in you many years ago?
My story begins some time ago. My best friend, and brother-n-law, stirred the interest for me. We both bought bikes and started riding. There was this crazy race that we decided to do called The Iceman...maybe you have heard of it. Tim started the craze for me with little pressure. He brought home a race flier and a Trek brochure. I started looking through the pages filled with shiny new bikes and the ideas started flowing. When we bought our bikes the debates started.
Who's bike was better?
What manufacturer had superior quality?
Who was faster?
In those first two years we rode ourselves skinny. We did a few races. We ate, drank, and slept bikes. One day we were riding close to home. We just wanted to do a quick little ride. We thought we were cool and he tried to bunny hop a log. Front tire clear. Rear tire...not so much. He endoed, breaking his fall completely with his face. Knocked out and Bleeding. For a second I thought his neck was broken because when he landed his helmet turned on his head...giving the appearance of his head being turned past the breaking point. With a tall build of 6'4" I had my work cut out getting him untangled from his Trek. Clipless pedals are very efficient...even in a crash. I got his bike off to the side and said his name once again. Tim?!?!! No response. I reached down to pop the strap on his helmet and when it popped....he sat straight up. I told him that he crashed and was bleeding so it was time to go. He wiped his eye and looked around. I asked him if he knew where he was. Behind the school.....he said....looking at the branch....then he smiled and said....apparently I didn't make it? Knowing that he probably had a concussion....I wanted to get him home. We walked a few steps....and he threw his leg over his bike and started to pedal. The next mile to our houses was rather interesting.
In that mile he started to forget what happened. When we pulled up out front we were joking around and then our wives saw us. Panic. We, Tim and his then wife Kim and I went to the ER. 7 stitches in his eyebrow and a concussion. He never really rode after that. He told me that he lost his confidence...and that he had no business being in the woods on a bike. Later he sold it....but recently I have been thinking about our riding.
You see....he passed away Sunday morning. My wife's brother. My niece's father. My children's uncle. My friend. The one that started it all.
He taught me so many things over the years. We renovated our entire house, with him showing me what to do. We blew breakers while cutting down walls. I cut his wedding ring off of his finger when a nail grabbed it as the porch was pushed off the house. We laughed. We cried. We got angry. We laughed some more.
So I will finish with this....a short letter to my brother.
Thank you for everything that ever did for me. Thank you for teaching me how to finish drywall, and not caving the roof in on us that day. Thank you for believing in me when I felt my worst. Thank you for bringing home that brochure. Thank you for introducing me to bikes. Thank you for riding with me for those first few years. Thank you for fixing our computers all those times and answering any questions we ever asked. Just....thank you for everything. I was thinking about the day we met. You were buried at your kitchen table with various computers and parts. I sat down and tried to offer my help....do you remember? That was almost 14 years ago. I wish that you were still here so we could start working on stories for the next 14 years. Rest in peace brother. Tell our passed loved ones we say hello. Play a song. Build something. Relax. Enjoy.
R.I.P. Tim Counterman. 47. Taken from this Earth for reasons we will never know.