25 May 2022

Riding Without Running Away

 The other day, I enjoyed a nearly perfect ride to Connecticut and back.  An overnight rain broke the weekend’s heat wave and I pedaled, with a brisk wind against my face on my way up and at my back on the ride back, under a clear sky accented by light cirrus brushstrokes.

When I’m enjoying such a trip, such a day, I never realize how lucky I am and, however ephemeral that privilege may be, it’s still more than so many other people have it—and how much more orderly yet joyful my world can be—even if only for a few hours—than what lies not far beyond.

Yesterday I learned, from my friend Lillian—who is recovering from a back injury and wants to ride with me again—that a mutual friend, Glenda, had passed away around four in the morning.  That wasn’t much of a surprise, as her lung cancer was overtaking her doctors ‘ ability to treat it and her body’s ability to resist.  

She also told me that Edwin, for whom we sometimes ran errands, filled out forms and did other things beyond his computer skills and simply provided company, passes on Thursday.  That, of course, solved the mystery of why we hadn’t heard from him though, of course, that was neither a relief nor a consolation.

Oh, and there was another mass shooting in a school. The cynic in me is not surprised:  In a country owhose mantra is, “Children are the future,” we haven’t made it more difficult to get assault weapons or easier to get mental health care, educational services or stable housing and employment since, in an eerily similar incident almost a decade ago, 28 kids and two teachers were murdered in a Connecticut school. Or since, more than a decade before that, a dozen students and two teachers were slaughtered in a Colorado high school.  Or after any number of attacks during those years.

That I can say “any number” of such incidents is a sad commentary on the situation in this country.  So is the supermarket shooting in Buffalo a week and a half ago. Again, my cynicism kicks in:  That horror doesn’t surprise me because if nothing changed after white kids were gunned down, I’m anticipating even less after a tragedy in which the victims were Black and, mostly, elderly.

So why am I invoking the Howard Cosell rule and ranting about such things on my cycling blog?  Well, it seems almost frivolous to talk about anything else.  For another, I wanted to express my understanding of my good fortune, though I am trying to avoid a lapse into guilt. Finally, though, I trust that you, dear readers, and cyclists in general, have a good sense of justice.  

24 May 2022

Comments Accidentally Deleted

Hello, everyone!

Sometimes, in the course of Spring Cleaning, I unintentionally toss out the wheat with the chaff, so to speak.

So it went when I cleared out some “spam” comments.  In the process, I accidentally deleted a bunch of good comments. 

If yours was one of them, I apologize.  Mea culpa. (That’s Latin for “My bad!”)

Love Triangle Ends In Death For Gravel Racing Star

 The world of professional cycling has seen its share of tragedies and scandals.  Until recently, they didn't seem to involve gravel racing.  Perhaps the sport hasn't been around long enough (though, I think, people were gravel riding and gravel racing long before the sport got its name or bikes were built specially for it) to attract bad actors.  Or it may just have to do with the fact that most gravel racers are young and aren't steeped in the "this is how it's done" or "everybody does it" mentality that seems to affect people, not only in the more established areas of bike racing, but in any other long-standing institution.

But now gravel racing seems to have been thrown into its first scandal--and tragedy. And it involves someone named Armstrong who lives in Austin, Texas.

No, I'm not talking about Lance.  Nor am I referring to anything that involves illicit substances.  Rather, I am about to relate a story that involves something we don't often hear about in professional cycling:  a love triangle.  And the Armstrong in question is named Kaitlin and, to my knowledge, not related to Lance.

She lived with alleycat rider-turned-gravel racer Colin Strickland.  Both are in their mid-30s.  Their relationship took a "hiatus" for a couple of months last fall.  During that time, according to reports, he dated Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson, ten years his junior and considered one of the up-and-coming stars of the gravel racing circuit.  After Armstrong and Strickland reconciled, he continued to stay in touch with Wilson, which did not make Armstrong happy, to say the least.

Wilson was scheduled to race in the capital city of the Lone Star State on the 11th of this month.  She arriveed the day before and stayed with a friend.  Someone called police after hearing shots in the apartment, where Wilson was found, fatally shot.  The only item missing from the apartment was her bicycle. And, according to an anonymous source, Armstrong talked about killing Wilson . 

Anna Moriah "Mo" Wilson, from Dartmouth College Athletics

The day after Wilson's body was found, Armstrong was brought into the police station for questioning, where a detective said things "don't look good" for her.  Not long afterward, Armstrong deleted her social media accounts and simply vanished.  Now local police and the U.S. Marshals are following leads in the hope of finding her.

Say what you will about Strickland seeing Wilson. I will, however, criticize him for this:  Last December and January, he bought two guns, a Springfield Armory and a Sig Sauer, and gave the Sig Sauer to Armstrong.  Now, I'm not keen on firearms, but I understand that Texas has a different culture and set of laws about them than what we have in New York.  Still, I have to wonder what he was thinking.  Why a gun for each of them?

Those guns were recovered when police searched their apartment. On the 17th, police tested the Sig Sauer and compared the shell casings to ones found near Wilson's body.  

The detective is right in more ways than one:  things don't "look good" for Kristin Armstrong.  And the world of gravel racing is without one of its brightest lights in Anna Moriah Wilson.