On June 14 I was riding on Berthoud Pass with Bradley Allen, climbing on the lower section, tears in my eyes. Then I knew I had to have a Ride of Silence for Jamie Roberts. She had been killed the day before and I was numbed by the news.
The logistics were relatively simple. We weren't going to Kentucky so I made a decision to host it in Rockville. I had to wait for the 4K for Cancer to finish on August 9 so I was thinking mid-August. But Jamie's team, Team Portland, suggested a date near her birthday and, working with her family, we settled on this day.
I sought permission from Ride of Silence and they told me there is the one event every May 3 but we could have a Tribute Ride. And so it was that today was the Ride of Silence Tribute Ride for Jamie Roberts.
I had no idea how many to expect. I first thought we would have a dedication circle, 4K style, but upon seeing all the people, roughly 60, we instead brought everyone into a circle, with their bikes. I welcomed the group and gave instructions on the ride (keep silent and ride on!). Jamie's father, Bob Roberts, also thanked people and gave us more details on the route.
Although Team Portland brought more than half of their team, I asked Shelby Perkins to read a modified version of the Ride of Silence Poem. Shelby was also a 4K alum, Team Seattle, but was a college classmate and teammate of Jamie's as well.
|Barry Sherry, Anthony Venida|
Today we number many but we'll ride as one
To remember Jamie whose ride is done
To remember Jamie whose ride is done
Our helmets on tight and heads down low,
We ride in silence, cautious and slow
The dark sunglasses cover our tears
Remembering her we held so dear
Today's ride is to make others aware
The road is there for all to share
To Jamie -- not with us or by our side,
May God be your partner on your final ride
(Credit/paraphrased from Ride of Silence Poem, by Mike Murgas)
|Rock Creek Park|
And then - I forgot to add a moment of silence! I suppose it wasn't necessary since we would ride for the next hour in silence but I still wanted to do that.
We started on Bauer Drive then rode towards Rock Creek Park. It was beautiful looking back and not seeing the end of the riders.
|Passing Jamie's house|
We reached Rock Creek Park and tried to maintain double file on the path since going to single file may cause a traffic jam. As we came upon a walker, Bob, who was riding side by side with me, coughed loudly to get their attention. Later, as we came upon a couple stretched across the path I announced we were coming by with a funeral procession on bikes. The guy laughed! I imagine he was embarrassed when he saw our silent procession, with black arm bands and lights flashing.
As we entered Jamie's neighborhood there were a couple of hearts drawn on the street with Jamie's name. As we passed her house we saw a 4K Flag and signs for 4K JR and Jamie Love.
|Ariana Staffen, Julia Roberts|
We rode at 10 mph and complete the 10 mile loop in one hour. Back at the school we gathered once more. Bob spoke and hugged every single rider. He asked for anyone to talk and called on me - and I was deep in personal thoughts to share with him, so I declined. But Shelby spoke and then we started saying our goodbyes.
|Jackie Weiss, Shelby Perkins, Rachael Callahan, Eric Tien|
Both Team Seattle and Team Portland asked me to meet them for lunch. Team Seattle was first which is the one I accepted but wish I could have gone with both groups.
It was an amazing day honoring Jamie. Friends, especially her Team Portland teammates, some "strangers" (other 4K alumni that had not met her), some of the Key to Keys riders, and total strangers joined her family in riding for her today.
I could feel Jamie's presence in the wind and how the leaves fell. Complete silence except for the crunching of leaves under the wheels. I wish we didn't have to have this ride but since the events of June 13 were tragically real, it was great to honor her.
|Chey Hillsgrove, Barry Sherry|