Words by Sal Ruibal
The world has gone mad. At least it seems that way on this gray and wet afternoon. On the macro level, our society is unraveling. At the personal level, two amazing cyclists I admired and aspired to be like have met tragedy, both as a result of a simple twist of fate.
On October 3, American road and cyclocross racer Amy Dombroski was killed in Belgium at 4 p.m. while being motopaced on a training ride. She was on the verge of breaking out as a huge international star in a sport that has captured the imaginations of thousands of new racers.
If cycling is a religion, Scott "Scud" Scudamore would be a living saint. Scott was born with a unique internal clock that somehow compresses massive amounts of trail work, race planning, training, kibitzing, cajoling, laughing and loud encouragement into every single day of his life.
He retired as a Captain after 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and began riding at age 43.
Cycling on the East Coast wouldn't be the same without Scott. I used to think he was one in a set of triplets because everywhere I looked – in the park on trail-work days, at an IMBA conference or in a bar sipping a pale ale — Scott was working the crowd with his big hand always outstretched and a huge smile on his face.
And top of that, he's finished 16 Xterra races and is a loving grandfather and husband.
On Sunday, Sept. 22, "Scud" was mountain biking with his granddaughter and other family members at Bryce Mountain resort's downhill mountain bike park. The riding was winding down, but Scott wanted one more run on a trail with a jump. Something went wrong and he flew over the handlebars and landed hard on the top of his helmet.
He was helicoptered to a hospital in Charlottesville, Va., near the lakeside retirement home he and wife Margaret had planned for years. Scott is fighting on despite several severe spinal injuries. I will not say that his cycling days are over. I do know that the life-force that is Scott Scudamore will not give up without a hurricane of resistance.
Amy had no second-chance. We will never know what she could have achieved in the sports world. She had the strength and attitude to become a world champion in a sport that is beginning to get worldwide attention.
The poem "To An Athlete Dying Young" was written in 1896 and every year we bury our dead again and again. In 1971, I was hit by a car or truck – I don't know which because the driver left me on the side of the road – and could have easily been killed.
What we can't control with certainty is the moment when we will leave our mortality behind, helpless against a simple twist of fate.
For information about Amy Dombroski and to contribute to the family memorial fund, go to Amydombroski.com</strong>.
If you would like to help the Scudamore family, go to the Scudamore Recovery Fund at www.scudfries.org.