The Angry Singlespeeder: The Sudden Loss of a Dear Friend

Opinion
Celebrating the life of a remarkable human being and a loving father.

Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt at singlespeeder@consumerreview.com. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.

A dear friend of mine was killed on Sunday. He was out riding his road bike when a bus struck him. I received the call Tuesday afternoon from a friend. The news hit me square in the gut. I didn’t know whether to put my fist through a wall and scream at the top of my lungs or cry my eyes out. Not so much for our friendship, but for the fact that my good friend Udo Heinz leaves behind two beautiful young children and a loving, caring wife.

Udo and I had a natural connection, with him hailing from Germany and my father also German-born. His personality was as German as it gets; exacting, meticulous and organized. I grew up with a German father, so I instantly understood Udo’s unique personality. On the surface he seemed all business, but the more you got to know him, the more you realized he was a fun-loving, laid-back and funny guy.

I’ve lost a few friends over the past 10 years, but nobody as close as Udo. We weren’t best friends, but we worked together, putting on two really fun and successful cyclocross races in North County San Diego. We complimented each other so well putting on those races. He was the law-abiding, responsible one making a checklist of things to get done, while I was the idea man and scofflaw, seeing what we could pull off without having permission. Although I know my aloof behavior sometimes annoyed him, I could see as our relationship developed, he seemed to loosen up more.

We always enjoyed each other’s company. When Udo found out I was riding my bike from San Diego to Santa Cruz, he and another close friend Victor escorted me out to the coast and wished me safe travels. I will never forget that moment as long as I live. It was the start of the greatest ride in my life, and Udo was there to see me off.

Victor and I recently put on the Quick ‘n Dirty mountain bike race series, and Udo was always eager to volunteer, often times with his nine-year-old son who wanted to do nothing more than race his mountain bike and impress his father. Udo was reliable, dependable and responsible; a selfless human being and remarkable father who loved riding and racing bicycles with his wife Antje.

I don’t know why the universe must take a man like Udo from us at such a young age. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he is gone from this Earth. I could rant ad nauseum about how there is an epidemic of cyclist deaths on the road at the hands of careless motorists these days, especially in Southern California, but now is not the time for that.

Now is the time for paying homage to an exceptional human being and an incredible father; a role model to every man in this world who wants to be a father. My mind is constantly filled with the image of Udo riding his cyclocross bike with his wife and two adorable children chasing close behind, all of them smiling, laughing and enjoying the wonder of riding a bicycle.

Just this morning Victor and I went for a mountain bike ride on Emigrant Trail in Truckee. What started as a somber ride turned into one of utter joy. During the ride we came across a massive herd of sheep and rams in the middle of the trail; hundreds of them scattered everywhere. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. It was a gift to Victor and me from Udo. I looked up to the heavens and imagined him smiling and laughing as he looked down upon us.

Thank you, Udo. Words can’t even give justice to how much you will be missed.

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About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • Luis says:

    Very sad indeed . It’s wonderful though, that you paid homage to him this way. A very worthy article !!

  • dot wong says:

    Well said. Thank you.

  • jaxprat says:

    ASS, this is a really tough loss. Everybody who has raced Cyclo or Mtn in the San Diego area knew Udo and his family. His two children tagged at his heals. His wife is all business on her bike and all kindness off. I will always remember Udo with a smile on his face, because that’s the way he was.

  • eric stobin says:

    beautiful tribute to what sounds like an incredible guy and father. my sincerest condolences go out to all his family and friends.

  • Paul Huddle says:

    Thank you for conveying in words what so many of us feel right now. An absolute gem of a man. Prayers for his family.

  • Claudia Evannoff says:

    Such an unfathomable loss. Udo was a wonderful person. He will be sorely missed. Our heartfelt condolences.

  • Robin Missailidis says:

    beautiful tribute!

  • Angry Singlespeeder says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words. It is great to see so many people have read this tribute to Udo. I hope it will serve as a long lasting memory of this man’s incredible life.

    - ASS

  • David Sexton says:

    Thank you Kurt for the great tribute to Udo. He hired me to work for him about five and a half years ago. We became friends during that time, and had talked recently about getting together the next time I was in SoCal. I am terribly sorry that I will now miss that opportunity. Your description of him as a smiling, fun-loving man is spot on. It was impossible to spend time with him and not enjoy it. He was taken from his family and friends way too soon.

  • Andreas says:

    The first time I was riding with Udo, was when we both still went to school in Idar-Oberstein. He’s on old friend from an neighboring village. We went to the same school, lived together during college time and after I joined the work force, I introduced him to California to start his very successful professional career. He made me join the first triathlon in the 80s, training camps in Spain and riding together
    the Beast in St. Croix in the 90′s. We have also worked together in CA for a few years. He was an excellent rider, and if someone was cautious at any given time: It was Udo. I could not believe it when I heard it – and still can’t. Lots of very nice memories that I never will forget.
    Diana’s and my deepest condolences to Antje, his two kids and his sister.
    Andreas

  • Rick v says:

    Sorry but riding on the road is Russian roulette. If you have kids ride dirt. If your value your life ride dirt. If you don’t care ride with 2 Ton missiles coming at you from behind with idiots driving them. All due respect but c’mon what’s it going to take to make everyone wake up?

  • Gary Erickson says:

    Udo was a great get it done kind of guy, we rode together with the Ranchos for a dozen years in which we were about the same level. I will always remember him as being a great father and giving guy. Every time I ride his old cyclocross bike that I bought from him I will remember his half smile and great nature.

  • Eduardo Lucio-Villalon says:

    Udo and I worked together for years at TUV and I always have a great admiration for him as a professional and personally as we shared the triathlon lives and riding.
    It’s been of great shock and I am hoping to get over this sad feeling of losing Udo.

  • Frank Piller says:

    Everyone who knows Udo is in shock and disbelief. A dear friend and most supportive colleague is gone and my mind still fights acceptance of the fact.
    My thoughts are with his wife and kids, who are the same age as mine, this really hurts.
    Udo will be always remembered, a great human being who left far too early.

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