2012 Induction, US Bicycle Hollow Fame
On a fine fall day, the great Peter Rich (owner of recently closed Velosport Bike Shop in Berkeley) picked me up from the bus stop to trundle north to U.C. Davis for a November rider’s ritual feast.
The last three autumns have featured a West Coast enshrinement ritual–the previous eighteen or so took place where the USBHOF was founded, in Somerville N.J., home of the annual criterium classic. In the early years of USBHOF, it appeared that the U.S. only had fast people in the East, but eventually George Mount was honored (he was the first American man to get close to the front of the pack at an Olympic race–his sixth place in Montreal 1976 was the best American men’s showing in 70 years–women were not yet permitted to compete at the Games on bicycles in 1976)
This year, my criminally humble offroad racing buddy Susan DeMattei would be lionized, along with some other men.
There are two events: the “Free I.P. reception” (=VIP reception, anyone can attend) on Friday evening at the Hall and Museum on 2nd Street, and the gala the following evening (attendees support the USBHOF annually by attending and buying a table for a cool grand or so).
The first person I met walking in the door was the Not-Yet-Enfamed Erin Hartwell, a thirty something fellow who took some Olympic track racing medals back in the nineties. We traded a few friendly jabs (I love verbal jousting with perfect strangers, and it takes a strong constitution on the part of the stranger to cope with it, I am sure). Next to him stood a woman whose nametag said “Gale Hartwell”. I clasped her hand and said “you must be his honey!”.
“No, I’m the mom” she smiled. We hit it off quite well notwithstanding.
Susan’s friends from nursing school came to the fancy event, but not before cramming into the host hotel room and showering her with champagne, good wishes and contagious cheer.