7 November 2010
On Friday we lost one of our strongest, steadiest, funniest, most cynical, and most sarcastic riders to a freak accident that should happen to nobody, the least of all Joe McBride.
There's a hole where he used to be, and the best we can do is fill it with memories.
He was fond of long rides and steady riders, less so of big hills and squirrely cyclists.
He was the Big half of the Joes.
He wore red.
He gave me his old De Rosa jerseys.
He brought me gummy lobsters from Cape Cod. Twice.
He taught me how to ride flat centuries.
He loved going to Belmar and riding along the Delaware River.
He didn't like long rest stops.
He didn't like big groups.
He was a good listener.
He was smart and insightful.
He had certain gestures.
He had certain phrases:
If he said, "Fuck you," it meant he liked you.
"You know I love you like a brother, but..."
"JESUSsaves!" whenever we passed a church.
He called Cheryl "the Hub of the Club."
When Mike M pulled us for miles and miles, he called him "Mighty Mike," and it stuck.
Under all that rough exterior was a man dedicated to the sanity of others. He could spot a person in trouble from a mile away.
He showed up in my blog time and time again:
Joe knows Drew and Murdo; I figure this out because he’s cursing at them already. (4/27/08)
Cheryl was talking about her family, about her being one of a large handful of kids. Big Joe asked, “Are you the youngest?” “Yep. I’m the baby.” “I could tell.” “Fuck you!” Oof! She got him! The first “fuck you” of the day and rather than coming from Joe it hit him smack-dab in his dignity. He grumbled about it for the rest of the morning. (7/11/08)
Big Joe fired off a “fuck you” or two before anyone could beat him to it. (7/11/08)
Mike M. notices that we haven’t had a “Fuck you” from Big Joe yet. The lapse is quickly remedied. (8/8/08)
Big Joe laid down the rules right away: we were to ride in a pace line and there would be no stopping for pictures. This elicited the first FU of the day by yours truly. There was no pace line and there were pictures. (8/10/08)
We weren't much further along, but at least we were on a shady road, when his tire went "Pfffftttt!" again. More F-bombs, and someone wondered if he'd gone over his F-bomb quota. He pulled out a boot -- a four-inch long section of old tire -- and placed it between the gash and a new inner tube, courtesy of Little Joe. Tom said, "You get one more time, Joe, then we're leaving you." I said, "I thought our love for Joe was unconditional." Jack H. looked at me, paused, and said, "Heat getting to you?" (7/24/10)
We miss you already.