In all sports, masters deserve a medium for fair competition.
Jimmy's absence will leave a gap in the local cycling community.
I learned a lot from my great grandmother Amba.
Master's need a place to compete. This is the least we can do for a group strong with supporters of any support for decades. A 65 year old running 5ks has most likely spent tens of thousands of dollars on race entries, running shoes, and band-aids for chaffed nipples. Without a 60+ division all this person has to show is a closet full of poorly designed free T-shirts. Jimmy (I use him because he's the master's racer I know most) has spent more years than I have been alive immersed in the sport of cycling and contributing positively to it. He has benefitted the image of cyclists to those outside the community and enriched others experiences within the tiny cycling sub cluture we all know and love. For bike racers like Jimmy, and runners like my grand father (70 and still running 5ks), the least we can do is offer them a forum to compete against others like them... Like them? I mean people that have found something that they could participate in for decades. All bitching in the masters races aside, at the end of the day they're just a bunch of old farts that have continually been demonstrating their love for cycling in some way for a long time. They give back more as a group than many people can ever take from the sub-culture. It's the true masters (not the guys that start at age 58) that should take the credit for keeping the sport alive. This being said, I might have to open a masters category in the race I'm promoting right now. It's mountain, but interestingly enough it's the same weekend as gateway cup.
In some ways, there is a jimmy in every group. Some guy who's old as crap and who's seen it all. In another way, every group needs and old filthiez. On rare occasions do you find someone who has seen it all and is still willing to keep talking about it, passing down sound advice, and weaving parables on cycling and life with an eloquence lost in today's overstimulated and under focused society. When trying to glean advice from CBC I always went right up the heirarchy. I asked Butthead, argued a bit, took it's for what it's worth, then ask Ethan the same question. After hearing both sides, I would drop back in the pack to chat with Jimmy and ask him about both sides, letting him makes sense of it for me. Often the answer was, I don't know, but you should listen to ethan. Other times Jimmy would explain to me why each person would give that answer. It was kind of like reading a story on Fox.com, then CBS.com then going to jimmy as an unbiased 3rd party to find the real answer. Sometimes the unbiased remarks were cut short with an anecdote about the usefulness of performance enhacing drugs, or the neccesity for me to have as much sex as I can before my parts start sagging. I always make sure to listen in on jimmy giving advice to others, knowing that his opinions have been forged in experience and polished with years of point-counterpoint and logical evaluation. Without this veteran of the bike and of life, CBC will be missing something. Whoever jimmy falls in with down in OK will gain the pleasure of several more decades of Old Filtiez in all of his glory. I hope they recognize thier gain. I guess what I'm saying is.. Jimmy I'll lead you out any day.
It's not like that in only cycling. I'm still very happy that I spent many hours in my great-grandmother's house as a kid. I had the priviledge of living one block away from my great-grandmother during grades 2-5 and I took used that situation to my advantage on many occasions. Grandma Beckham was always ready to tell me about moving to Joplin in the when it was a booming little mining town. She was always happy to get out the viewfinder and tell me about the times she visited each of those places. I always like to hear stories about her husband winning state championships in checkers, and practicing while laying on the couch against other people playing in the kitchen. Her best and her worst quality was her unabashed critisicm of others. Amba was a God fearing woman who detested gambling, tatoos, men with long hair earrings and tight pants, and saw no reason to keep it inside. She let me know exactly what she thought I was doing wrong. Sometimes she was a little out of touch with the times, but today I respect her lack of fear towards confrontation or stepping on a few toes. She taught me a lot, and I feel blessed to have developed a relationship that spanned three generations. I have discoverd more and more that this relationship was unique in our age difference and in it's intimacy. Not only did I meet my great grandmother, and remember her, but I was able to soak up much knowledge of the way things used to be for people, and for my family. That's priceless.