Tragic Day in Cycling

Today was a tragic day for cyclists worldwide.  A professional cyclist lost his life during Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia, a 3-week stage race that is Italy’s equivalent of the Tour de France.  Wouter Weylandt, a 26-year old Belgium pro racer who ironically won Stage 3 of this race just one year ago, crashed on a downhill descent and died on the scene from head and facial injuries.  It’s the first death in a major pro tour stage since 1995 and even longer for the Giro since 1986.  As much cycling as I do, this story makes me sick to my stomach.  But what makes it unbearable for me is that Wouter’s girlfriend is 5-months pregnant with their first child.  The similarities between us are eerie and unavoidable to consider.

This is a sport I love.  My passion.  And it’s dangerous.  While I’m not (always) hurtling myself down mountains going 60 mph like these pros do in a race situation, cycling even for us amateurs involves mountainous descents at high speeds and even worse, traffic on busy roads.  I read this story about Wouter this morning after having spent about 7 hours on my bike this weekend and having climbed and descended nearly 10,000 ft.  And I’ve got a child on the way too.  Scary stuff that forces reflection, particularly with a baby on the way and the gravity of that responsibility for the rest of my life.

Compounding my personal struggle with personal risk taking, my father died in a kayaking accident when I was 9-years old.  Another dangerous sport, but one that my father loved.  He was and avid kayaker, known for his responsible and thoughtful risk appetite, he simply did not take undue risks even though his sport is inherently dangerous.  His death was the result of a freak accident.  And I respect his choice to pursue his passion despite the lack of his presence in my life.

So here’s the deal.  I’m not going to stop living my life and doing the things I love the most.  And I want to teach my son that same philosophy – to unwaveringly, but responsibly and thoughtfully pursue his passions.  I don’t live a particularly dangerous or adrenaline-junkie lifestyle.  Cycling is probably the most dangerous thing I do and its not clear to me that driving your car on LA freeways is any safer.  My point being there are risks all around us, however remote the probabilities may be.

Is that a selfish view?  I don’t think so.  There are endless reasons not do do something, especially if that something involves a perceived or even a real danger.  It’s the responsible and thoughtful pursuit of happiness that I try to use as my own personal barometer.

But here’s the rub – what constitutes “responsible and thoughtful” behavior in the pursuit of our passions, dreams and interests may be completely different for you than for me.

What do you think?  How much risk is too much risk in the pursuit of personal happiness?

Advertisements

About Rob
I'm passionate about building businesses and have been doing so for 15 years. There's a few successes over the years in online community, transforming how cars are sold and pricing innovation for retail. Currently, I'm building a business helping companies manage their shipping and supply chain. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way but hopefully have learned from most of them. I am an avid angel investor, cyclist, Ironman, husband, father of 2 and traveler living in Austin, TX. More detail about my professional experience can be found on LinkedIn. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or pitch me for investment on AngelList.

2 Responses to Tragic Day in Cycling

  1. Rafael Garcia says:

    What a great post rob… I always think about the responsibility I have with my kids and my wife. Certainly having kids puts everything in a different context and there are certain things that are not my passion, but I would have liked to do that now are out of the question, such as sky diving or bungee jumping.

    Also as important is to enjoy every moment with your family and be aware of the little things. Something I try to do every time I say bye to them, I try to make it meaningful. I always have in mind that many of the people that were at the WTC probably didn’t say goodbye to their loved ones, and I always think of that. So when I leave my kids at school I kiss them and I look at them in the eye.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: