Saturday was supposed to be one of those great cycling days. The weather was great, the legs were snappy and we had a solid group of riders heading out. It all went sour just 15 minutes after we left the parking lot in Lehi, UT. Bill Corliss clipped the wheel in front of him and fell beneath a passing vehicle. He was killed instantly.
Cycling has always been a life affirming activity for me. It is something I do to enjoy my environment, my friends and my physical abilities. It is an activity that renews the mind and body, the spirit and soul. It is a sport that is supposed to give life, not take it.
We stood in shock and disbelief at the scene before us. A sheet now covered Bill. We were helpless to do anything but cope with our own feelings and emotions. Boris was sitting on the side of the road sobbing, I put my arm around him, and not knowing what to say, I remained silent.
I still can’t believe what happened. The imagery shooting through my mind seems unreal, or surreal. It doesn’t feel a part of any memory, but rather something from an unwanted fear or nightmare.
Selfishly my thoughts turned to my wife and three kids. The horror of the reality that this could have been any of us in the group sunk in. I felt an odd sense of empty relief that it would not be my family receiving this horrible news. I felt ashamed feeling this way, at that moment. I knew that in Park City there was a wife and a son that were about to experience the worst of human emotion and grief.
Training and racing are important to me. But they can’t hold the wheel of my family. Not even for a moment. I have been hugging my wife and kids a little more often, and a little tighter today. I am still haunted with dark thoughts about things that could have been yesterday. The nature of the accident could have taken multiple riders down. We were grateful that was not the case. But we mourn for Bill and his family.
Later in the day a storm rolled into the Wasatch Front. The bright skies turned dark and heavy as the warm temperatures dropped. It was a dark ending to a dark day. I will forever be connected to the riders in that pace line Saturday morning. Some were long time friends, others, inlcuding Bill Corliss, were people I had just met. We stood speechless with one another on State Road 68 realizing that for a long time, if not forever, each time we got on our bikes we would think of this day.