Mark Whitehead, a/k/a Meathead, knew no separation between cycling and life. The same drama that happened in a race was always fair game for continuation after the contest ended, whether that meant a full-on fistfight, a string of oaths, or a few hours at the bar rehashing the events of the day.
Mark left a deep impression on those he raced against and, later, on those he coached. Few people understood the mental and physical requirements of track racing like Meathead. The great majority of those who were coached by him considered themselves extremely lucky.
Whitehead died in 2011 with the suddenness and unpredictability that he lived. In a hotel. At junior track nationals. Taking care of his riders.
When Mark Whitehead passed away, an era in American cycling passed away with him. A prolific winner, a fearsome and fearless competitor, and a two-fisted brawler, Whitehead loved to brag “You can’t beat the Meat.”
Come pay your respects
On Tuesday, September 4, 2012, at 6:00 PM, the final year’s installment of the El Dorado training races will take place in Long Beach. This final race will be in Mark’s honor, replete with cash to the winner and a $100 prime in the P/1/2/3 race.
The guy who never drew a line between cycling and life would have been pleased to see El Dorado Park filled with hungry racers pawing the ground and stamping like horses to battle one another for a few bucks, and pleased even more to know that it was being done in his name.