Friday, February 25, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Biker, Skier, Tough Guy, Teacher
When I became a teen-ager, Wayne was the ski stud who was winning all the races. Once he skied the snowmobile trails from his house to Eagle River on the way to a marathon race they had over at the golf course. It was a huge day for me when mountain bikes came along and I was able to beat the great Wayne Fish at a little race they had in Tomahawk in 1987. That didn't stop him from dropping me going up the hills out of Rosie's Field at the Birkie in 1989. I was 18 and doing the Kortellopet. He was 40 and doing the Birkie. It was always hard to get Wayne out on the bike past Labor Day because he'd insist on training on those miserable roller skis.
One year at the 24-9, even though Wayne was the best mechanic on the team, he was the one to break a chain or something and have to run to Redbud Road. No one there had a tool for him so he ran the entire loop on the other side of the road before finding a tool when he got to the road again. He still turned in a good time, and I don't know if we even lost the lead.
I don't know how many times I came across him at Smokin' Spoke trimming branches with the weed-wacker or blowing leaves. Just before last year's race I found him carrying 5 gallon pails of road gravel out to the trail to fill in a rut even though the doctor told him not to even drive because of some injury.
I wish I'd seen him more toward the end. I guess I just expected to see him out on the trail. I will still be looking.