Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reid's Eulogy

Here is the content from the eulogy Reid Cummings gave at the funeral services for Brian on Monday, November 20.

[10 min]


I’m going to open with an excerpt from an email from BK remarking on the opening of the 2005 Cyclo-Cross Season, using his Hanz/Franz impersonation.

“Volks, tis is vhat [cyclo-]crossin’ tis all about!! Look at zee thigh muzzles! Zhey are hugh!! Run ups mazzive, burning, and make zee heart go boom! [Look at] zee big stairs that must be overcome with zee hugh muzzles that are now BUMPED UP with zee go go juice.”

Ok, ok, I didn’t do that very well, but I think you can imagine him doing that. His humour and delivery was unique and exceptional.



The qualities that I particularly admired were that he:
· Sincerely cared about others
· And that he was deeply dedicated – in everything he did


Show of hands, who here has been hugged by Brian?


Ok, ok, ok. I maybe should have said who hasn’t been hugged by Brian? And not just his friends, right? My favourite story was when we were in Tucson a couple of years ago. We were in one of the local bike shops and had spent some time talking with the sales lady who helped us out. It came time to leave and we all said our good byes. Brian, made a point to walk around the till, you know – past the ‘employee’s only’ sign (oh yeah, he also had thing with breaking ‘social norms’, but that’ll be a topic on another day), and proceeded to hug this slight and bashful woman.

[short pause]

At first – she looked concerned

[short pause]

But then – embrace.

I think the comment from one of us was, don’t worry, he’s harmless, he hugs everybody.


His attention to friends was selfless … noble. In a race or in a group ride, he would always make a point to come up to you. Sometimes just to talk, sometimes to make sure you were OK. I remember at a race just recently in Canmore where Cyrus, a team mate of his who was looking forward to this particular race, had broke his chain during his warm up right before the start. “Here Cyrus, use my bike”. At first some thought he was joking – but he sincere in this jesture.

I’ve taken some words from Jon Keech who summed it up best for us last week …

“Got a flat tire right before a race? No problem, here’s my bike. Hands cold on a winter ride? No problem, here are my gloves. Cracking after a long ride? No problem, here is my energy bar. BK never let you suffer if he could help you out.”


Perfection! Relentless perfection! So many experiences and we’ve all had them. I helped him shop for a pair of new glasses, something that took him more than half a year to finally purchase. In the end, I stopped going to stores with him because I was frustrated with comments like “they’re not perfect”, or “I wish they were slightly different in this manner”.

There’s the furniture and artwork. Patrick – I feel for you. I have no idea how many furniture stores you’ve been to and how many measurements and re-measurements you’ve help take, but it’s been a year, and he still had his circa 1980’s stuff because he still wasn’t 100% sure.

Of course, there’s the espresso. Any one who’s been to his house, and enjoys espresso can honestly say it’s among the best they’ve ever had. I only know of one other place in Calgary that serves better espresso. The last taste I had was with Per when the three of us were heading up to Edmonton this fall to hit the first Cyclo-Cross race of the season. There we were, 6:30 in the morning at his house, espresso bar open, and getting ready to go. I will never forget how good that tasted and how entertaining that process was.


Campy, or nothing at all! Sorry Reid, you needed to hear the argument one last time because I think BK would have wanted to have the last word on that. We all know the attention to detail he had, and when it came to his bikes, it was latest and the lightest. I think Andy started bringing the weigh scale out a couple of years ago to the Provincial Hill Climb not to ensure all the racer’s bikes were over the legal weight minimum, but to ensure Brian’s bike was over the minimum.


Brian had a deep dedication to everything he did and with everyone he touched. His coach Tim Heemskerk has some of the best comments last week.

“Brian always smiled or made people smile, even when things were not going well. He was the only athlete always responding about performances of other athletes. I'll miss his funny and honest emails, some periods of the year almost every day and I'll miss his extensive training logs with Polar printscreens of the workouts done.”


The connection he had with people was tremendous. I did a very simple exercise this weekend – I counted how many emails I had to and from him in the month of October. Now this is only on my work email and it alone came out to 100 emails. Once you include phone calls, emails at home, lunches, coffee and the time spent training and at races, I alone was easily ‘touched’ by him I’d say on average almost 150 times a month. This is incredible but not surprising given how close I had become with him in a short amount of time.

How he connected people was a gift. He brought a common bond and assured harmony. I mean, just look at the turn out yesterday.

Powerful! … [quiet] powerful

[Long Pause]


BK …
My friend
You’ve gone off the front and we cannot bridge the gap
In time I’ll drop the pack and grab onto your wheel
So that you can carry me to the finish

[Place cog on casket]

[Hand on casket]

[quiet] - Keep the rubber side down.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for posting that, it was touching to read. Would you mind sending me those pictures we talked about?



22/11/06 11:17 AM 

brucec said...

Thanks Reid. Very well said.


22/11/06 11:58 AM