A Memorable September

Written by Patrick Stelte - October 2017

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I remember the first time I met Randy Armstrong. It was after a Wednesday night Saturn ride. No, Randy wasn’t part of our hammer-head “A” group bent on taxing the physical limitations of body and machine. Randy had finished with Doug Myers 5:30pm group ride to Columbia City – a more relaxed, social pace. He came over to me with a big smile and said, “Hi Pat. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy riding with the club.” I shook his hand and we made small talk that left me feeling good about the day. For those of you that don’t know Randy, he is the co-ride leader for the Tuesday night Kreager Ride with Deb Watts. I would guess Randy is in his 70s, friendly to approach and welcoming to his fellow cyclists. Shortly after we met, I friended him on Facebook and have followed (with envy) his cycling exploits which include numerous rides in Florida over the winter months. I can only wish to get 1,500 miles in by the first day of spring.

This past September, I met Randy’s lovely wife Jade without realizing it. She was gracious enough to help with our Labor Day century tour that Deb Watts organized for the club at her church in St. Joe right off State Rd. 1. There were a number of volunteers that helped out that day; however, I only recognized Ed Lines wife Cristine. I met Kristine two years prior at the club’s century ride in Churubusco. She was helping with our SAG at the park pavilion. The next year, she volunteered to help me with the Jersey Ride. I learned later that the other volunteers for our St. Joe century ride were church members. They were so friendly and eager to help on a blustery, hot September holiday. It takes a great deal of effort to prepare a SAG: get there an hour early, hang around while everyone else is riding and wait for the stories that will linger over the food. At the end of the day, muster enough energy to tear down and clean up.

Anyone who has attended the Membership Appreciation Jersey Ride knows I have my hands full organizing the day with shopping, transporting, setting up and cooking for fifty or so club members at the Roanoke Park pavilion. Anticipation and preparation are keys to having everything ready when riders start rolling into the park with an appetite. This year, I asked Susan Hunt to help me set up and serve the food. That morning, the cyclists left the park for the rolling adventure through the Huntington County countryside and a kind-of familiar face walked over and sat down. I couldn’t place where I knew her, but she offered to help. Polite with a smile, we began talking during our preparations and she mentioned her husband was riding with the group – Randy Armstrong. I had not asked for additional help, but Jade wanted to lend a hand and by the end of the event, I felt indebted to her hospitality and kindness. Jade asked for nothing more than to make a contribution helping others.

This past September was memorable for the Labor Day triple century and Jersey Ride turn out. Over 100 cyclists took part in these two events. A few rode all four days. Memories were made and friendships were strengthened. The weather played a big part, but the kindness of those willing to volunteer their time and effort made all the difference. These selfless acts go a long way in forging a community spirit that keeps an organization like Three Rivers Velo Sport alive.