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Bike Rides 114
The Darren Dash

This week’s Bike Rides’ column will be unique in that it’s not a story about a ride I’ve already taken, it’s a story about a ride I’m about to take.

What’s also different is the fact that it’s not just another ride; it’s a race. Hardcore readers of the Bike Rides’ column (my parents) will tell you I don’t usually get involved with formal races because I believe competition can escalate quickly and before you know it every ride becomes work, with a lot of goals, objectives, and statistics that murk up the all the fun just like a real job (not that I’ve ever had one) does.

Yet without doing a lick of training, not even so much as a single time-trial, I can almost guarantee I’ll be the first one across the finish line. In fact, I’m completely confident I’ll be leading the entire race from start to finish. I know, pretty bold for a hack old mountain biker but I’m willing to take your bets. I suppose the fact that I’m the only one who’ll be on a bicycle might play a role in this absolute certitude as well but that’s really just a minor detail which shouldn’t necessarily taint the glory of actually crossing the line first.

The first annual Darren Dash is a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) being organized and run in Austin to commemorate the life of a friend of mine, Darren Lewis, which ended way too soon last September. My Raleigh and I have been asked to serve as the bike and guy to lead the pack (I guess it’s customary for a cyclist to lead a marathon) as we zig and zag our way around the streets of Austin; sorting out who’s been thumping the treadmill or who’s been piling on the pasta this past winter.

I was just one of many people Darren touched and impacted in his life so I consider the request a great honor and I’ll humbly and dutifully carry it out to the best of my ability.  Man, I hope I don’t make any wrong turns.  This could be one of the most important rides I’ve ever taken, and frankly I’m a little nervous.

Darren was an avid distance runner who successfully ran in marathons on and off throughout his 39 years. In fact, at age eight, Darren was the youngest competitor ever to run in Duluth Minnesota’s infamous “Grandma’s Marathon”.

He crossed over into biking more successfully than I ever traversed into running and that’s how we really got to know each other over the years, taking bike rides, hanging out and throwing Frisbee.  Darren was perfectly capable of shifting from competitive running in the afternoons with real athletes to leisurely riding with me, and my neighbor Hank, in the evenings.

Darren Lewis was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle, boss and friend. On any given day Darren could be randomly spotted around Austin with his children in tow at the Nature Center, Coffee Shop, Re-fest, the Paramount Theater, anywhere something cool might be happening and making it even cooler by his presence.

The half marathon is being organized by Darren’s brothers, Scott and Brett and sister Dana who’ll be running as well.

Dana will be making a special appearance on the Bike Rides Radio Show this Friday on KMSK, 91.3 FM in Austin at 1:00 pm or you can listen to the entire hour on demand, for free, anytime after Friday by visiting dansbikerides.com.

She and I will be selecting some songs to commemorate her brother and my friend’s life as well as playing some motivational tunes to prime everyone for the big race on Saturday.  Plus, reflective of Darren’s highly spirited personality, we may have a few surprises up our sleeves for the show as well as the race, so be sure to listen Friday and come out to watch Saturday. 

The race starts in Lafayette Park at 8:00 a.m., snakes through Austin’s bike trail system around Mill Pond, Todd Park and finishes later that morning back in Lafayette Park.

There’s also a 5K and a kiddie run.  Darren’s nearly nine-year-old son and my pal, Jayden (Jay-Dog) Lewis, will be leading the kiddie race on his bike.

Every race needs cheerleaders so please plan to join us at Austin’s Lafayette Park, 8:00 am or anyplace along the route, this Saturday for all the fun.

For more Information click this link:

Thanks for racing along.

Traffic Tip: When approaching an intersection on your bike, first look left, then look right, then look up, and then down. This completes the sign of the cross and it doesn’t hurt sometimes to get a little extra help just to make it through.

See Bike Rides at www.dansbikerides.com
Email Bike Rides to bikerides.dan@gmail.com
Find Bike Rides on Facebook.
Hear Bike Rides from your radio Fridays, 1p.m. on KMSK, 91.3 FM.
Take Bike Rides whenever you get the chance.

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