Always Leave a Wake Behind You

One of the first impressions of the triathlon community I ever had was how close knit everyone was. We connect through sites like Facebook, and Twitter, and Daily Mile, and go years talking and supporting each other without ever having met the people face to face. The few I have met face to face have become good friends of mine over the past five years, but more often than not the majority of the people you meet, that you support, and that support you, go forever without ever laying eyes on them.

28667-daleBack in July of 2013 we found out some bad news.

We had lost one of our own.

Dale was one of the people on Daily Mile that connected with both Jennifer and I almost from the very beginning. He had a special way of writing his daily update that was unique; using all capitals on every third or fourth word. This became something we both looked for, and at times poked fun at, but it was HIS way of WRITING.

That night we got word that Dale was killed while riding his bike, something he did every day, either on the road or on the trainer. According to the article he was hit from behind at 5:55 AM and died at the scene. He was 37 years old and left a wife and three young children.

The true sadness I felt when reading the email surprised me. I had never met this man, so why did my heart feel so heavy? Maybe it is like KC said … we know in our hearts that it could be us at some point?

I went into Daily Mile the next morning to log a short run and noticed on the right side on my leaderboard that Dale was 2nd. There he was, as if nothing was wrong and life was still going on, at 59 km for the week. It was surreal to read the comments on this posting, and then notice halfway down how they changed when the word got out of his passing. I looked at his pictures, saw the one on Father’s Day of him on the couch with his kids before he went to work, and read his last post telling everyone to have a GREAT and SAFE week. Truly very sad.

But then I noticed something else.

Dale had over 930 friends on Daily Mile. On this post alone there are over 150 comments.

This man touched lives. I am betting he touched more than he even knew he did.

So, we have lost a supporter, a “friend”, a fellow cyclist, but he left a legacy. As we used to say in the Navy, his course left a wake behind him. People know he was here.

In the end, how much more can you ask?

5 thoughts on “Always Leave a Wake Behind You

  • July 25, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Sorry to hear about such a tragedy, my heart goes out to the family and friends. From a fellow Buckeye.

  • July 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    well written tribute JC.

  • July 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks for posting this…hate to hear about such a tragedy happening to anyone.

  • July 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    Beautiful post. I've been crying all day and wasn't even friends with him on dailymile. Our community is so tight, it hurts to lose someone.

  • July 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    nice writeup on a tragic accident and good man.

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