Five years ago this race – Paramount’s Masters State Criterium Championships – one of my most memorable wins was captured in a photograph by Ken Brant, or KennyBZ. Of the eight or so years I’ve raced, five of them were for Paramount and like most women (and more guys than will admit), I loved checking the pictures Kenny took at the races. He was Paramount’s photographer and always donated an 8×10 of the racer’s choice from his library as a preem. Kenny was a cycling enthusiast whose contribution was photography…capturing in 1,000 words every field in every race he attended.
He loved cycling and snapped shots from El Dorado Park to Paramount’s winter track days and posted them instantaneously. These images could have been memories lost and I guarantee that Kenny had no idea of the positive impact his work wad. I’d see Kenny at most races, and after my races were over, I’d saunter over to where he was, because he had that photographer’s eye, so I knew standing by him would give that fabulous finishing sprint vantage. Our visits were never too deep, but we shared many moments in kid-like anticipation of an upcoming thrill that only comes from viewing a Bahati sprint. It’s these shared experiences that tie us to each other. As cyclists, we recognize one another from the races…from seeing one another year after year and maybe nodding and smiling in passing but the connection is there. We feel for the person who crashes even though we don’t know their name. We empathize with the super strong racer who’s not on form and suffering like a dog because they haven’t been able to train due to life…and we miss each other when all of a sudden, after years of friendly casual contact, that person’s not there anymore.
Kenny, today’s win was for you. I’m sorry I never really told you how happy I always was to see you at the races – how your gifted eye behind the lens fed my alter ego and strengthened my self confidence….how your generosity with your time and images did not go unnoticed…I can’t even say we were really “friends” but it’s been almost two years and I mean it when I say that I miss you. We…the pelaton… miss you.