I just don't know what to say. I write because it helps me cope. I took Sylvia for a ride and she didn't come home. I just don't know what to do so I am doing what I know how to do.
Perhaps some of you think I acted irresponsibly or unnecessarily risked my children and in many ways you are right. Every time I remember that day I look back and think about all the things I could have done differently.
In any case Thank You all for your understanding, thoughts, prayers, and kind words. Doubly thank you to those we encountered on the trail, to the emergency response people, and the other countless individuals who helped us on that day. I can't see how I could ever stop mountain biking when this is by far the best group of people I know.
For those local please feel welcome but not obliged to come to the memorial service on Monday at 7:00 PM at St. Michael's Church in Stockton, CA. (Note: about 300 people showed up to the memorial mass)
We had an RV for this vacation and we had planned our most ambitious summer vacation yet. We set out from Stockton on Saturday morning and headed cross country at a fairly easy pace, hoping to get to Green River by Dark Thirty. RV travel was a bit slower than I figured so we fell a bit short and wound up overnighting at a rest stop about an hour shy. So we took it easy that day and stopped at all the Vista Points to enjoy the natural beauty of Utah.
We arrived in Moab around 1 PM and took one of our bikes into Rim Cyclery to have the fork swapped out and then hit the Moab Cafe. Afterwards we did the tourist thing with the kids for a while and picked the bike back up. Sylvia, Char (Fiona), and I decided to do a bit of urban assault to test out the Bomber we had installed on Sylvia's bike. There is a bike path that cuts through Moab and at the one end there is a small park sith some trails, so we cruised around for about an hour or two then headed out to camp.
We lucked into a camp site at Negro Bill camp area which is right at the base of Porcupine-Rim trail, doubly lucky because the shuttle was going to pick us up there so at the end of the ride we would be right there with air conditioning and cold drinks. Sylvia, Vivian, and I did some canoeing in the creek next to our campsite until dark and then we hit the sack.
I knew Porcupine Rim trail would be a challenge to my daughters and I gave them all the choice of going. My oldest daughter Liz opted out because she doesn't care much for rocky trails. Vivian asked about how much climbing there would be and Sylvia "Is there lot's of downhill?"... Sylvia loves downhill riding.
After a good sized breakfast (Couple Pancakes, Eggs, and sausage with OJ) I got all the bikes ready while Sylvia (over)filled the Camel packs with Ice and water. Just before we headed out I also grabbed an extra gatorade for each of us to drink on the way up or on the trail.
firstname.lastname@example.org -=- July 24th 2005
Dennis & Char, Old friend here, Marianne. I remember u growing up. I cut your hair, teased u & your brothers & made a life-long friend in your sister. I am so sadden by your loss. I want u to know that her death will not be in vain. It is because of her death that I realize how important my work is and to be able to fully emphasize the full impact of how the heat affects everyone. I teach CPR/First Aid to the Las Vegas community. You did everything right. God needed his angel back. God Bless u & your family at this most difficult time. You are in my thoughts & prayers everyday. Pull together & be strong. ~Marianne
We got to the top around 10AM, a bit later than I had hoped but I figured we would be done around 2-3PM and the hottest part of the ride would be on the downhill part so it wouldn't be so bad. The climb was a bit tougher than I remembered so the girls and Char wound up hiking a bit more than I figured they would. I helped as much as I could by riding up and then walking back down to them and either riding their bikes up the tough sections or carrying their bikes while they walked. I tried not to push the girls too much but we did try to keep moving because it was already getting hot as we neared the top.
When we got to the rim we stopped for a bit mostly for Char and the girls to rest while I snapped a few pictures. Everyone had an Energy Bar or two and drank some Gatorade and/or Propel or just water. Then we did the last half mile or so of climbing and started the downhill.
Right around 5 miles into the ride I was back a bit with Sylvia when I heard Char calling me. Vivian had stacked it pretty bad. In her words she grabbed too much front brake on a rocky section. Her front tire washed out and she tore open her chin which was bleeding a lot along with some huge trail rash on the insides of her elbows, one knee, and stomach. We spent some time calming her down and cleaning her up as best we could (and also used some of our water in this effort as well) and then set out.
At first Vivian didn't even want to get on her bike but I knew there was no way we could hike out in a reasonable amount of time. So after a little more delay we were back rolling.