Every time we did Mark’s Rhode Island Smack Down (RISD) ride, I hobbled home after only 35-40 miles feeling like I had just been put through the proverbial wringer. The funniest part was that every time, Mark would finish the ride with some sort of comment to the effect of “jeez, you guys were killing me” or “I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up some of the time”…but every time, the rest of us just looked around and scratched our heads. The person who had been making all of us suffer the whole ride was Mark, and pretty much Mark alone. On one ride, I lamented the fact that we didn’t have the (then new) Versus work-load calculator that shows the percentage work being done by various members of a breakaway. On the RISD rides, our work-load monitor would have shown that Mark was doing 75%, with the remainder of the 25% being done by the rest of us, who were only barely surviving. Mark, however, never saw it that way and sacrificed himself for the good of the group and to give us all the beating we clearly needed.
Just back at the end of March, Mark sheepishly downplayed expectations as we turned onto Mount Tom. As soon as the ridiculous pitches started however, the other three of us watched Mark calmly ride away, seated the whole time, as if 25% gradients held no particular fear for him.
And why should should they have? He was, at the time, silently battling a recurrance of his brain cancer he had beaten a few years back. Just 2 weeks ago, he was still leading the RISD ride and still making the rest of us suffer (except me, sadly, because Tuesday night rides no longer fit in my schedule). Mark, you will be missed.