Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amy Dombroski Memories

I've spent a bit of time reading Amy's own words in her blog.  My goodness, this woman was wise beyond her years, a damn good writer, and just simply had a great way of describing life as a professional cyclist.  I literally was either laughing out loud, saying 'yea, exactly' out loud, or doing both simultaneously.  I wish we could have a conversation right now because, as usual, I can relate to almost everything she said in her musings.  What an unbelievable way of telling it like it is.  When she described a course as so magical it's like she was riding a unicorn instead of a bike, that is creative.  Period. 

All of her blogs are must reads, but here are two that I enjoyed immensely. 
Amy D Brilliance
More Amy D pure briliance

 Amy's service happened yesterday.  It was an incredibly sad day.  My sister, Sabe, and I got a chance to speak about Amy after the service.  We more or less free formed it but the following gives an idea of what we said.

Over the course of the last month, there have been countless adjectives thrown out to describe our beloved Amy. She had a certain grit that would come out as soon as the gun would go off on a start line.  In whatever endeavor she chose, whether it’s aiming for the Olympics for ski racing or bike racing, she threw herself into it.  Once she had her mind set on something, she was all in and would go about it with unrivaled passion. But, she was so much more than just a fierce competitive athlete.  She balanced this primal toughness with an amazing ability to write.  She has written some of the most powerful poetry I’ve ever read, and she was hilarious. She had a rare wit that always left me laughing.  It wasn't just a light chuckle, but a belly laugh.  It was real.  It was genuine, just like Amy . But, we don’t want to remember her with just adjectives because a million words won’t do her justice.  We wanted to tell some of the stories and memories that we cherish with Amy.

The first funny memory that comes to mind is “the cat in the pond”.  Amy, Dan, Sabe, and I were all standing by the pond talking about how to jump a bike into it, and then the cat walks by.  Amy says to me, “check this out, we usually throw this cat in the pond.  Here Sabe give it a try”.  She said “Ok” and picked it up and heaved the animal into the water like a hammer throw.  Amy looked at Sabe and said, “seriously Sabe, we drop the cat into the pond.”  From then on out she would say to Sabe, “Arbas (Amy created nickname for my sister), you’re an animal abuser.  I’m never letting you go near my animals”

Another favorite memory is centered around a bike called the Balance. Dan started three mountain bike careers, Sabe’s , Amy’s, and myself with that same bike. This bike made every other mountain bike I've ever ridden feel like an absolute dream, But, its purple, chrome, and suspension stem was just enough to make me fall head over heels — literally and figuratively— in love with mountain biking.  And, obviously, it did the same for Sabe when she rode it after and also for Amy when she rode it years later.  Amy started riding the “Ba-lahn-say” as she affectionately (and hilariously) called this bike when it was way past its prime, and she actually raced the marathon national championships on it…and did well of course.  

Amy and I had a global friendship, our paths intersected on the traveling bike racing circuit.  But it’s the memories from our time in Vermont that I hold the closest.  I loved the three hour cold, rainy rides with Amy. She had a wit so dry it would actually negate those soggy days.  Amy really impressed me when she was in Vermont for a national mountain bike race this past August.  There were three big jumps built on the course, and they weren’t easy.  I couldn’t work up the courage to jump all of them.  Amy and I rode the course the day before the race.  The last time I rode actually mountain bikes with her was a couple of years ago, and she just needed more time on the trails to dial it in. The first jump was the only one I had totally dialed so I rode it showing her that it could be done.   After the jump, I stopped and turned around expecting to talk Amy through it, but I didn’t see even see her. I was so confused. Next thing I know, she is flying around the corner and through the air.  No talking needed.  Then, the next jump was even higher risk.  I had decided not to ride it at all.  I never even tried.  Amy and I watched a couple of riders go off of it.  She assessed and then turned to me and said “*Expletive* it, I’m doing it” and marched up the hill absolutely determined.  My jaw dropped.  Here was this girl three years ago that would come back from a pre-ride black and blue on trail not even half as challenging as this feature.  I couldn’t even watch because I was scared for her.  But she did it.  And she jumped all three A-Lines every single lap at the race the next day, and this really left an impression. Because of this, now I, and the rest of the pros that witnessed this, have to ride all the scary jumps in mountain bike races.  Thanks a lot Amy.  As usual, she set the bar high.

We can only be grateful that this truly unique human being impacted our lives.  We are so lucky to have had the opportunity to grow up with Amy.  Amy, we will forever cook bacon in your honor, ride all the A-Lines, and we will really, really miss you.