My boys, 10 and 11, counted Kevin among their short list of sports heroes. Not only was he a world class athlete but he was friendly, open, approachable and modest. Kevin still is a shining example of the best of sportsman, a person who can take loss or defeat without complaint, or victory without gloating, and who treats his opponents with fairness, generosity, courtesy. He is, and will be, missed.
Since Jamie is likely to read this I wanted to share a very brief encounter I had with Kevin. In the '07 Desert 100 I had stopped to give aid to a downed rider. As those of us who worked together to help the rider gathered ourselves after the unsuccessful CPR, we were told by a course worker the number of the deceased rider that had been radioed to the pits. Unfortunately, there had been a terrible mistake and MY number had been radioed to the pits. My wife was in the pits. I never want to experience again the dread and horror I felt thinking my wife had been told I was dead. I rode back to the nearest checkpoint to get to a radio and found that they not yet found her.
Flooded with relief I decided to ride the course back to the pits. I was pretty emotional but began to ride very relaxed, and since relaxed and not in a hurry I rode as well I had ever ridden to that time (I started riding late, at 36). My new found speed notwithstanding, I heard a friendly voice behind me. It was Kevin, who I had met and ridden with before, but there was no way he would have recognized me as he overtook me. As he passed me, the lapper, he could not have known who I was yet he nicely, really almost cheerfully, told me which side he was going to pass me on.
That was a rough day for me. A guy died while racing, despite that myself and several other people were doing all we could to keep him alive. None of us knew him, but we all felt the loss. My outlook on life, riding and racing was deeply affected that day, but not in the negative manner some might think. Kevin’s few seconds to be kind to a lapper made a big impression on me.
Because of the efforts of the riders I gave aid with and the graciousness of Kevin as he passed me (to him I really was only one more obstacle to his victory) as well as Kevin’s friendly open demeanor after the race, I came away with the sure knowledge that I have the privileged of riding and competing with great people who know that the value of life is not contained merely within the act of breathing in and out, but rather more with how life is lived and the people life is shared with.