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You just never know...
I was in Asheville this past weekend, to celebrate my girlfriend Cathys birthday, take in music and art at the Bele Chere Festival with Cathy and my daughter Lyndsay, and to get in a ride or two. On Saturday, as fate would have it, I suffered an air leak in my tubeless rear tire. I took the offending component to a little bike shop, just beyond Bent Creek. Carolina Fatz is a small mom-n-pops type shop that caters to the local mountain biking community. There, I was met by Jason the owner, a young man whose name I didnt catch, and a fellow of basically my age, their lead wrench, Keith. They took turns attempting to reseat my tubeless tire (now with a tube in it) on the rim with minimal success. Fitting my seemingly simple needs into their overloaded schedule was really appreciated by me, the lowly flat tired rider. They worked selfishly for about an hour to get me back on the trail.

I called the shop this morning to thank them once again for their efforts to make my weekend of riding a success. When I called, I was told that Keith, the lead wrench, was killed on Sugar Mountain on Sunday, while preparing for the downhill race next weekend, apparently the victim of a broken neck. Here was a guy - my age, mind you - who loved the bicycle and the thrill of riding downhill as fast as his equipment would allow. Our meeting was brief, but I will always appreciate his efforts to make certain that my weekend wasnt spoiled by my rather insignificant tire issue. Ya know, ya just never know. Less than 24 hours after our encounter, Keith was gone. But he left this world quickly, on the bike of his dreams, doing something that he truly loved. That would be my hope, to move on from this world with a smile on my face.


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Tarheel Trailblazers | 182 Saddle Road | Mooresville, NC 28115
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