Last Word

Rid­ing with the Le­gends

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - BY GORDON SIN­GLE­TON

Be­ing ac­tive in cycling for more than 40 years, I re­mem­ber many tales of such past greats as Torchy Pe­den and Jo­ce­lyn Lovell. I learned that along with ev­ery ac­com­plish­ment comes a mem­o­rable story sur­round­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence. The Cycling Canada Hall of Fame in­duc­tions in early Oct. and Le­gends Ride, proved to be an op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing past and present rac­ers along with en­thu­si­as­tic rid­ers, to ex­pe­ri­ence the love of cycling they all share, as well as to hear some of those amaz­ing sto­ries.

It wasn't sur­pris­ing that some rain and omi­nous clouds didn't de­ter many brave par­tic­i­pants of this Lexus-spon­sored ride. It was well worth the ef­fort, and when the skies cleared and the tem­per­a­ture reached 17°C, it ended up be­ing a clas­sic day for rid­ing. Cycling routes around Mil­ton, Ont. fea­ture beau­ti­ful ter­rain and lit­tle traf­fic with a back­drop of pic­turesque wa­ter­falls amongst the changing au­tumn leaves.

Three of this year's in­ductees, Gord Fraser, Brian Wal­ton and Alex Steida, joined the 100 mem­bers of the cycling com­mu­nity for the morn­ing ride through Hal­ton Hills along­side 2015 Hall of Fame in­ductees Steve Bauer, Curt Har­nett and my­self. Ad­ding to the ex­cite­ment, cur­rent Rio Olympians Hugo Bar­rette, Kirsti Lay and Kate O'Brien also rode along in this in­au­gu­ral event.

Af­ter the ride, a lun­cheon was held at the Cross­winds Golf and Coun­try Club and this year's in­ductees were wel­comed into the Cycling Hall of Fame by em­cee Randy Ferguson. Hu­mourous and touch­ing sto­ries were en­joyed as this year's in­ductees Fraser, Wal­ton, Steida, Louise Lalonde, Marie-Hélène Pré­mont and the 1908 Olympic Team Pur­suit squad were hon­oured.

The char­ac­ter of all th­ese suc­cess­ful and ac­com­plished ath­letes and builders was an in­spi­ra­tion to ev­ery­one present. They re­counted their own per­sonal sto­ries that re­flected in­te­gral con­tri­bu­tions of men­tors, fam­ily sup­port and fel­low ath­letes who made their achieve­ments pos­si­ble.

Th­ese be­hind-the-scenes sto­ries truly il­lus­trated just how an ath­lete reaches the podium. Th­ese hum­ble re­cip­i­ents all ac­knowl­edged, rec­og­nized and were grate­ful for such sup­port – signs of a true cham­pion!

One shin­ing moment of the af­ter­noon was a touch­ing trib­ute by Robert Vel­lend of

Vel­lend Tech Canada Inc. to the late iconic

Lovell, who passed away on June 3, 2016.

Vel­lend's son was named af­ter Lovell and also be­came his god­son. When Lovell met the new­born Jo­ce­lyn, he asked to have the baby placed on his lap and pre­sented him with a gift. It was his trea­sured

Commonwealth Games gold medal!

The story seemed to re­flect the theme of the day that a cham­pion isn't only de­fined by his/her fleet­ing moment of achieve­ment. A true cham­pion leaves a legacy be­hind. The sto­ries of th­ese great Hall of Famers be­come le­gends and in­spire the rest of us for years to come.

(top) The in­au­gu­ral Le­gends Ride fea­tured many stars, in­clud­ing (l-r) Kirsti Lay, Gord Fraser, Alex Stieda, Kurt Har­nett, Gord Sin­gle­ton, Brian Wal­ton, Hugo Bar­rette, Steve Bauer and Kate O’Brien.

(above) Alex Stieda flanked by John Tolkamp (l) Cycling Canada Pres­i­dent and Matt Jef­fries Mar­ket­ing Di­rec­tor.

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