I've tried writing this post three times. Nothing quite seems right. There is absolutely no making sense of what happened to Max. I can't even comprehend that he won't be at our weekly Bikery meeting, giving his check-in that "Cross is here!" or geeking out over something bike related. It's all still too surreal.
To have a bright light like his extinguished so traumatically and violently, while halfway around the world visiting his girlfriend is just plain cruel. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones, and from the outpouring of love that I'm seeing all over Facebook, it's clear that he made quite the impact on every community and life that he touched. Even though I only knew him for a few months, he made a deep impact on me.
I'm not a religious person, but I do believe the Universe leads you where you need to be and gives you what you need, just when you need it. Late Friday night, Madi Carlson and I started the 2015 Coffeeneuring Challenge after our friend George's going away party. To adhere to the rules (silly randoneurs and their rules), we had to go at least 2 miles, and our ride to the party didn't count, since it was before the start date of the challenge (before midnight.) With a minimum distance of at least 2 miles to cover, we set out for Capitol Hill, in search of a non-sketchy park for coffee outside at 1am to officially kick of #coffeeneuring!
After practically walking our bikes through the bar crowds spilling into the bike lanes of Pike/Pine, we made it to the Seattle University Quad, a perfectly picturesque retreat amazingly hidden from the craziness three blocks away. Madi, as the Queen of the Family Bikers (seriously, you should go camping with her sometime, she has EVERYTHING) was prepared with everything! I even forgot a cup and she had me covered! We set up our little coffee shop without walls and had an excellent first cup of coffee. I don't know about you, but I think coffee outside always tastes better. We're also bike twins-Stragglers for life.
I heard the news about Max the next day. Max is a recent graduate of Seattle University, and had been super active in the Seattle University Cycling Community, including the Cycling Team. I hadn't been on the Seattle University campus in years. I know this is woo-woo, but I'm so glad I was there when I was on Friday night (before I heard the news.) Knowing that the SU campus was a special place for him makes me want to go back there and reflect on it more and reflect on his life more and the amazing impact he had on this world.
Sunday, I also went coffeeneuring. I went on a quick-ish ride (6 miles) to Fremont Coffee Company, followed by 11 miles through town back to the Bikery. We then one of our busiest days I've ever been around for. As I wrote in an email to our other volunteers today "There were a few minutes where all 3 work stands were being used, one person was on the floor working on a wheel, and one woman was waiting to use a stand. It was awesomely busy.
There were numerous times, where I definitely felt Max's presence and spirit. Whether it was somebody sitting on his crazy stool, or Jose and Becca coming in from Seattle U (who had never been in before but had heard about us from somewhere), it was truly a magical day."
I know this post is rambling. I'm totally processing the unexpected death of a friend. So, if you're still here reading, hug your friends and family tighter tonight. And, keep riding, working hard, exploring, and being a good person, because that's what Max would've wanted us to do.