June 17, 2013

Trek Across Maine riders pedal on in honor of cyclist

The event was emotionally charged after the death of David LeClair, teammates say.

By MATT HONGOLTZ-HETLING Morning Sentinel

(Continued from page 1)

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Cyclists ride on the China Road in China on Sunday, the third and final day of the annual Trek Across Maine, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

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The race's lead organizer accompanied the lagging cyclists in his van and phoned ahead to delay the closing of the next rest stop, where Weinstein and his fellows were greeted with cheers and support from many volunteers and athenahealth team members who had waited for them.

Weinstein said many team members were "shell-shocked" on the first day and didn't know how to process the death.

The prevailing sentiment was "let's just get to the end and then we'll kind of figure it out," he said.

Some riders considered leaving the trek altogether.

At the University of Maine at Farmington, where cyclists ended the day for an overnight stay Friday, he said the mood among athenahealth members was quiet. Event organizers ensured that counselors were on hand for any trek participants who might need them.

Weinstein said he knew LeClair as a warm, friendly person in athenahealth's Watertown, Mass., offices, where they both worked.

Joe Holtschlag, another athenahealth rider, said the team held a private, impromptu memorial Saturday morning, which included a moment of silence, before leaving the campus. Executives from the company, who had been in contact with LeClair's family, flew up to talk to team members.

"People said a few words," he said. "It was a good blend of somber, but also, uh ..."

"Celebratory," Weinstein said.

Weinstein said spirits were more upbeat Saturday after the meeting than they had been on Friday.

"It had changed it from riding just to, like, 'we need to get through the day,' " he said. The attitude had shifted to " 'we're riding this for David's memory. ... We're going to finish it for him.' "

Preparing for the last day of an 180-mile journey that had turned out to be more emotionally charged than they had anticipated, Weinstein and Holtschlag said they were looking forward to the sweat, motion and sunshine that would get them to an ending they anticipated would be more bittersweet than usual.

"I think we're just looking forward to a really nice day of good riding," Weinstein said. "I will be glad to see (the finish line) and get a burger, but I will be disappointed that I won't get to ride the next day."

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

mhhetling@centralmaine.com

 

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