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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.