Rick was a simple, easy-going man, and yet he was very complex. He had the heart of a child, always tried to be helpful and wanted to please. He was so mechanically inclined that the rest didn’t really matter. Diesel engines were second nature to him; gas jobs were lower on the food chain. In the fall of 2013 he was finally able to make his dream of owning a dually come true!
Rick had one speed: ON! He loved and appreciated life and was truly in his element climbing the Hills of Wisconsin, especially the Coulees!
He was proud of his military service and yet he would not talk much about it. He took the Classified status of his Navy duties very seriously, even after that era was essentially declassified. He carried many battle scars within his soul and was sometimes haunted by the memories he would not share. I truly believe he spent his life trying to atone for those actions of which he was not proud.
When we first met (on a blind date!), I was attracted to that smile of his and those beautiful, twinkling blue eyes. Our “matchmaker” friend told me later that Rick was “truly smitten” that very night! He begged me for my phone number but I was cautious. I agreed to meet him for dinner and dancing the following week and he was a perfect gentleman. At the end of the evening he handed me a small box of chocolates and a single rose; he kissed me on the cheek. That was probably when I started to realize just how special he really was.
He bought me my first pair of [padded] bike shorts a week or so later and “let” me ride his Motobecane with the fancy wheels; they had paired spokes with contrasting stripes on the rims. We were flying down portions of roads around the Minneapolis Lakes area at close to 20mph and I was keeping up with him – mostly! We ended up at Minnehaha Falls for a breather then headed back to the western suburb where he had left his truck parked, for a total of around 23 miles. Later that evening he confessed (over dinner with friends) that he had taken me on that little romp to see if I could actually ride – “like she said she could” – because that compatibility was so important to him.
In what was to become known to me as typical Rick style, he knew what he wanted and wasted no time. He proposed to me three months after we met! We were married on a beautiful (albeit very hot) Saturday in the middle of July the following year.
We joined the Twin Cities Bicycling Club (TCBC) in the spring of 2007. I had stumbled on the website while registering us for the Ironman Bike Ride and thought it sounded like a good way for us to do what we loved while also socializing a little. Needless to say, he blossomed within the club! His sunny smile and sparkling eyes were always welcoming of new riders; that meant new friends! He tried to encourage those who felt shy or unsure of their skills. Especially on his own rides once he became a leader, he would stay back with those who were struggling and pull them back to the group, or even all the way to the finish, still holding to his “no man left behind” training and belief.
Once he discovered racing, time trialing, and the hills in Wisconsin, he blossomed even more! Competitiveness was in his blood and he loved a good challenge to his endurance. He was always tired and hungry after a hard effort but once he had food in him, the spark was back and he would start talking about the next adventure on the menu. Rick started planning his (our) 2015 return to the Black Hills while we were still unloading the camper from the trip in 2014! Tragically, it was a trip he never got to take.
We had almost 10 years together, nine of which we were married. I will say again, in closing, that for both of us, with all of our baggage, those years were unequivocally the very best 10 years of our lives! I take some comfort in knowing that he died doing what he loved, with some of the best friends he has ever been privileged to claim as his own. I loved him with all my heart and I miss him more than anyone can ever know.