Most of our T-town crew won't know this guy, but it still sucks. I got an email from Paul the other night with a link regarding the death of Mike Janelle. Here's the link if you want to check it out. http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/13715.0.html Apparently he and JAson Sager were friends, too. He's got a post on his blog, as well.
Mike was a long time bike racer in the Colorado area. I met him on RAAM, two years ago. He was part of the 4-man team Beaver Creek / Vail. Since Team Type 1 was heads and tails above the other corporate teams, our goal was to beat the rock star veterans who had dominated the year before, The Beavers. Our team had huge heart, and against anyone's predictions, took the fight to reigning champs. I'll never forget how much fun we had when we finally caught them in the flat midwest. In some town who's name I can never remember, our first pass was made. We threw out Phil and Big Joe to go 2up against their one man, thinking they could team time trial and just blow by to establish a gap. Rookie mistake! We were so excited about the catch, we didn't check the map book for the upcoming roads. We threw those two right as we were coming into a town with a ton of turns, stop signs, and traffic lights! There was no way they could work together to do any kind of damage. In the meantime, Janelle was in his leapfrog team van, bouncing off the walls. He saw us throw those two guys and all he wanted was to be on the road to teach us a lesson. When Janelle hit the road, he caught the boys quickly, rode up between them, said "hi", and then attacked them like it was the last corner of Florida crit race! We'd been racing for days, not hours, and he just threw down! That boy was motivated! It took us forever to catch them, again. We did finally catch and pass them through corn country, but when we hit the East coast mountains of OH and WV, they finished out their lesson plans, and we graduated 2nd overall, but a hell of lot wiser.
This year, we went back to RAAM and used the lessons that Mike and his boys had taught us, to take an overall victory! But across the first third of the country, at a lot of the rider transfers, we were parked next to the Beaver's transfer vehicle, so we got to hang out an talk. Mike was just as competitive as ever, but the whole team was friendly. They complemented us on our improvements and when we talked about the year before, Mike's face lit up like a Christmas tree. We all had a good time with the close racing last year. That just doesn't happen on RAAM, and it sure broke up the monotony.
Maybe with what's going on in my own house hold right now, I'm hypersensitive to this kind of thing. But my heart goes out to Mike's RAAM teammates, Zac Bingham, Nat Ross, and Jimi Mortensen. But most of all, I feel for Mike's wife. She's 6 months pregnant with their first kid! Damn, that's a tough blow to handle.