Honestly, I can't quite explain why I have been so affected by the tragic accident that happened in Stage 3 at the Giro D'Italia this past Monday. I am feeling saddened and heart-broken for the family and friends of Wouter Weylandt. Sorry and full of sorrow at this life that was cut short so unexpectedly. I have been following cycling for over a decade and there have been losses before this one, but for some reason this one has touched me much deeper.
I have been moved by the out-pouring of love and support that everyone in the cycling community has had for the family, friends and teammates of Wouter. Through this time of mourning one is able to see the raw emotion that people are feeling, which has been heart-wrenching. The tribute ride during Stage 4 was difficult to watch because of emotion that was felt as you watched, from the Bugle playing to that image of Team Leopard and Tyler Farrar crossing the finish line together. Seeing Tyler's face at that moment just broke my heart and wrecked me.
It doesn't make sense because I am simply a fan. I am not related, have never met him and did not follow his career as closely as I have followed other riders. Why does his death seem to tug at my heart-strings and bring me to tears so easily?
The only explanation I can think of is the sense of family that cycling seems to have. I have met fellow fans both in person and over the internet. I have also had the wonderful opportunity to meet several riders, which has been amazing! In the US it's kind of like our own special club because there aren't as many fans as say....basketball or American Football.
I do think that social media, such as Twitter and Facebook have enabled me to form my own group of friends who understand my need to follow this sport. That overwhelming need to wake up at insane hours to watch a race online or read race reports as reported by teams and riders on Twitter. Giggling as I read Tweets that riders make to each other and seeing the respect and support that they have for one another. Twitter has made the riders much more accessible, including pictures of some pretty harsh injuries, road rash and surgeries. Ya gotta love it!
I'm not quite sure why I'm even writing this but....there it is.
RIP Wouter Weylandt. Love and hugs to all those that knew him and to anyone else who has been affected by his death.