Monday, 22 September 2014

RIP Kate.

A few weeks have passed now, since a friend sent me a link to this story: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-isle-of-man-28675162

Another cyclist lost. Another senseless waste. More visions fear, of helplessness, of the awful, inevitable outcome of the impact of metal upon cyclist. This time though, it was different. It was Kate. 

Indomitable, strong, funny, sweet Kate. There was a time when our lives were so closely paralleled that there existed a simple, comfortable assumption that whatever we were doing the next day or the following weekend, we would be doing it together. 

We met at an ultra high-impact aerobics
class and bonded over a shared obsession. Even now, more than two decades later, a certain song will play on the radio and I'll be transported back to that class, the two of us flying high into the air, singing at the tops of our voices. 

Younger than me, Kate had maturity beyond her years. Rolling her eyes, she'd be the one to extricate me from another disastrous date or awkward social setting. 

Quick to laugh, warm, impulsive and fiercely loyal; Kate was the most dedicated sports person I have met. Blessed with natural talent and power, she fulfilled her potential thanks to a single-minded determination to push her limits. 

We joined a triathlon club together. Before long, Kate was competing at elite level while I cheered from the sidelines. 

Kate never appeared vulnerable on a bike. Competent and confident, she made cycling look effortless. The bike seemed to be part of her, a compact, bustling figure spinning to another training session. 

In time, our lives moved on. Relationships, responsibilities and employment turned us from firm friends to fond acquaintances. Then, three years ago she left the area. And that was that. Until the sudden, shocking news late one evening. 

Modest and self-effacing, Kate would have been astonished to realise how well loved she remained in her home town. The stories in the local paper were compiled by a reporter who had run far behind Kate in the town's half marathon and experienced her warm encouragement. One local business even produced its own very personal tribute, printed as a poster in the shop window. 

I don't want to remember Kate's brutal end. I will think of her as a huge lover of life, a special friend, a generous competitor, a beautiful woman entirely without vanity. 

Rest in peace sweet Kate. From now on, I'll be wearing this when I ride. Because if all your ability and confidence couldn't keep you safe, then surely I need divine intervention.