Roger is my bike. And today he decided to get a flat tire while I was on a ride out to Lake Monroe on a beautiful Bloomington Sunday with Helen and Laura. We were only 10 miles out on 446 (for Bloomington local) when my back tire flatted. And of course none of us had a pump because Tim (our coach) told me that having one on my bike made me look like a dork. So I was forced to call our friend Alex, the team 'doctor,' to pick me up. Needless to say I was not amused on the car ride home, as I had just wasted a glorious day. But as I was sat watching Penn State attempt to upset OSU in the Big Ten Tournament I started laughing.
My bike is named after one of the most influential men in my life Roger Millikan. Roger was a household name to many in the Southern California cycling community during the 80s and 90s and a close family friend. He raced with my parents in Southern California and was the founder and coordinator of the El Dorado ride, a weekly ride in El Dorado park that included riders of various categories. He was famous for his loud personality, passion for the sport and unwavering dedication and loyalty to his friends. He taught me thevalue of hard work, how to tape handlebars, what love means, and that In-and-Out Burger makes everything better. Tragically he passed away in 2004 after a 9 month battle with Pancreatic cancer. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to witness. I watched a man so full of life waste a way in a matter of months.
Five years later I found myself in Bill Armstrong stadium watching the Women's Little 500 race as a Freshman and I knew that I had to ride the next year. I joined Team Relativity and we rode to a 7th place finish in 2010. I know that Roger was there that dayat the track and that he was screaming louder than the whole stadium combined. And I know that both Rogers, my bike and Roger Millikan, are on every road ride with me. So today I know he was probably laughing at me for being more concerned with looking like a dork than being safe. And I know if he had picked me up from the side of the road a double-double and milkshake from In-and-Out Burger would have followed.
It's impossible for me to stay mad at Roger for too long. Now that he is all patched up I will be happy to be back on the road tomorrow with all the girls as we count down the days until Qualifications. And I know Roger Millikan will be there in spirit next Saturday on the track when we qualify for the 23rd annual Women's Little 500 and I guess a Steak-n-Shake milkshake will just have to do.