Monday, June 29, 2009

Two families suffer a great loss.

I don't know Bruce Giunta's family, but have heard many wonderful things about them over the past few weeks. From emails I've read and from hearing from those who visited Bruce in the hospital, it sounds like they are a strong, close-knit and loving family. Bruce passed away on Friday from the injuries he suffered in his June 2 bicycle accident. The more I hear about what an amazing man he was, the more I sense the enormity of this loss, not only to his own family, but to the Portland Velo family, and the cycling community as a whole. I am so sad for their loss.

We had our new Ride Leader kits delivered on Saturday and wore them in a fitting tribute to Bruce, pedaling harder on the difficult climbs as we were asked to do. Resplendent in our visible green, orange and white, with the same design as the regular black, blue and white club kit design, we ascended the west hills with grim determination. During the ride i paused to look around at the beauty of the view, soak in the warm sunshine, feel the wind on my face, and can only begin to understand the effect this one man has had on the local community. I recall only a few conversations with Bruce, but will never forget the last one. I commented on his bike, and could see the pride in his eyes when he replied. That day was exactly like Saturday - a bright, clear, cloudless warm day. I think it was Matt D'Elia who said that Bruce will always have a tailwind, and will climb like an angel. A memorial is set for July 11 at the Mountain Park Rec Center in Lake Oswego. This should be a wonderful celebration of Bruce's life.

I am so glad I forced myself to do all the difficult climbing and ride the entire route on Saturday. Recently it has seemed too easy and tempting to cut the route short or skip the hills, when I know I need to do them. I need every mile. However, after getting up very early yesterday (and arriving at Stoller Vineyard an hour earlier than I needed to) then riding a 30-mile route, I was really feeling it. My legs ached on the climbs, especially when I stood up out of the saddle. Lunch was good and it was fun to ride behind Carlo & Monique on their tandem or take turns pulling with Maggie. After a long drive home, I could barely keep my eyes open and ended up napping away most of the afternoon. Here's to hard rides and long naps to recover from them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yesterday's ride

We assembled at Longbottom's for a quiet gathering, Mary O'Donnell and family in attendance for a silent ride to remember Tim O'Donnell. Mary spoke briefly about her efforts working on the Vehicular Homicide bill, letting everyone know that the next legislative session is 2 years away, but she'd be happy to inform people who their legislators are, if they aren't sure. This bill is very important, because as Mary reminded us, the woman driving the car that killed Tim on his bike was fined $1,100 even though she shouldn't have been behind the wheel at all. So unfair, so wrong.

After a mostly silent rollout, the ride was smooth and fast, at least for me. My legs felt heavy, the muscles tight, my heart rate stayed high. Some of us chose not to do the Dairy Creek portion of the ride, which was fine with me, though I could have used the miles. Everyone took care to ride ultra-safe, pointing out debris on the road, potholes, and being especially vocal about communicating when turning, slowing and stopping. This is how we should always ride.

No update on Bruce Giunta's condition today. I spent some time assembling a few photos into a collage for the website. Here's a preview:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prayers for Bruce

It could happen to anyone. A large rock, a stick, a pothole. Yesterday it happened to a Portland Velo club member, Bruce Giunta. Here is the information from Vancouver's newspaper, the Columbian:
Bicyclist, 69, critically injured in spill
Tuesday, June 2 | 10:32 p.m.


A 69-year-old man was critically injured in a bicycle crash Tuesday morning when he was riding with a group of cyclists along Northwest Lower River Road.

It was the first of three bicycle accidents Tuesday that were handled by the Vancouver Fire Department, said Firefighter-spokesman Jim Flaherty.

Bruce Giunta of Tualatin, Ore., was rushed to Southwest Washington Medical Center with critical injuries from the 9:54 a.m. crash near Northwest Gateway Avenue in the Fruit Valley neighborhood, Flaherty said. Giunta was in intensive care Tuesday night.

A second cyclist, James Mazzocco, 61, of Aloha, Ore., suffered scrapes and bruises, and also was transported to a hospital as a precaution.

Giunta, well-known in Portland bicycling circles, was riding with a group of between 18 and 20 cyclists from the Portland Velo Cycling Club, a nonprofit cycling group. His bike hit road debris, likely a stick, and he was thrown, Flaherty said.

He was wearing a helmet and protective gear.

Riding team members performed CPR on the man. A passing Vancouver Public Works vehicle stopped and two workers rendered assistance.

Duane Lane exited the truck and held Giunta’s neck stable, and Rick Freeman positioned the truck to block the road, protecting the cyclists, Flaherty said.

Bruce and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. I am also very grateful for the fellow Portland Velo riders who were with him yesterday and who continue to show their support by helping out any way they can. I am hoping for some more positive news after Bruce had some very complicated neurosurgery today.