I have had a couple of difficult days, as on Wednesday evening we lost a good friend and fun cycling partner from our team. I found out Thursday morning, and it was simply a freak accident while he was working on his small farm with a tractor. Filippo was such a wonderful man to be around and get to know. He had only been cycling and with us on the team for a little over a year, but he was always there and had lots of passion for cycling. In the course of the first 9 months of riding he lost 22 kilos (around 47 lbs) and just continually got stronger. He entered many competitive events and his spirit was always pushing him forward. A super strong rider on the flats, he became better with the hills with time. I remember our first ride together when he had just joined the team, and we were doing a 4 pass ride, really quite difficult. He was slow, but never complained, and just kept at it. Amazing. Always generous with his time, emotions, and his home, he hosted many events / dinners for the team. Just a wonderful guy to have been around and to have had the honor to get to know and share the passion for cycling with.
Last night, I dreamed we were riding Montesenario together, and today, I just had a very strong desire to do this ride. After the funeral, I started on the ride, and I remembered the dream, and really felt like Filippo was there with me on this fun, but sometimes difficult climb. For a change, there was light rain, but it was not at all cold, so I just kept going. I guess this was my way to say goodbye to Filippo. Perhaps his spirit will join me on future rides, I will be hoping to feel it from time to time. The funeral was in a small church, which did not allow many people inside. I viewed the casket before the ceremony, and along with many flowers, his team jersey was draped on the casket. He really loved the team and was so great. As they took the casket to the vehicle to the actual burial, all the flowers were gone, but the team jersey was still there. Around 25 cyclists from the team were there and most of us broke up seeing the jersey.
With Steve lost a couple months ago, I have a couple of friends whose spirits will accompany me at times while I ride. Ciao, Filippo, I miss you already.