Friday, June 24, 2005

Dr. Breedlove Dead

I tried the Google Cycling News link off another site for the first time and was surprised to read that Dr. Robert Breedlove was killed yesterday morning while competing in the Race Across America (RAAM). Although born Canadian, I pretty much grew up in Des Moines and Breedlove was a big figure in the cycling community there. I never actually met him personally, but a longtime friend and cycling companion of mine rode with Breedlove a lot and in fact Breedlove had bought a custom tandem sized to fit my buddy Mark to do the Paris-Brest-Paris ride in France. Once I was down visiting my Dad and had stopped by Mark's house. He and Theresa have four kids, I added my two to the mix, and Theresa and I were feeding them all lunch when Mark came in off a 150-mile ride with Breedlove.

Apparently, according to Des Moines Register article (I'm not sure how long this link will work), Breedlove was riding in Colorado when he veered across the centerline into the path of an oncoming truck. The truck hit him and he was killed instantly. As with early reports, it's hard to say what's going on. The driver of the truck was 15; he says Breedlove appeared to slump over his bars right before veering over. I think there's going to be an autopsy so perhaps some problem will come to light. Perhaps it won't, and this will just go down as another accident.

This has little to do with Practical Cycling, but this guy did do some very impressive miles (15,000 miles a year) while keeping his orthopedic medicine practice going. He still holds the tandem record for the RAAM race. People I know well knew him well, and the bike shop owner quoted in the article (Forrest Ridgway, owner of Bike World) was another high school classmate of mine, though we weren't close.

The Race Across America is continuing. I hope the other riders are careful.

In a later update (I'm editing the already-posted article), I had emailed my other cycling buddy Paul, who was just up here a couple of weeks ago to work the Great River Energy Bike Festival races, and he said that my other buddy Mark had left Wednesday to go to Kansas to work on Bob Breedlove's support crew through to Ohio. Paul hadn't heard yet from Mark. You can see a photo of Mark and Paul in 1980 on this page, when they rode a tandem together to Boston. I'd just graduated from Iowa State, Mark was going to start medical school in the autumn and Paul had another quarter to go before graduation. Funny, a quarter century has elapsed and we're all still doing biking.

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