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Dear Mr. and Mrs. Morgenstern,

I’m so happy that I have a chance to share with you my experiences with Nancy. I’ve wanted to write for some time, but have felt somewhat awkward and wasn’t sure that I could communicate my experiences with her all that clearly.

Nancy and I knew each other through cycling and we first met last year during the spring of 2000. I was living in Boston at the time so we only saw each other at the big New England races. Nancy always stood out because she was a great rider and was quick to take charge—it was always a comfort to hear Nancy’s voice in the pack. She was good at organizing people and making sure we all kept working hard. I got to know Nancy much better when I moved to New York later that summer and we began seeing each other almost every weekend at races and throughout the week training. I would see her on the road and she’d call out and wave, always with a huge smile. She liked to ride right after work and I’d often see her heading out across the GW Bridge around 5 P.M. as I was coming back over. This year she’d become really focused on her training and had talked about how much she learned; she knew exactly what she needed to do and stuck with it.

I’d often ride with her in the park at night also and we’d talk about everything from cycling to our lives in general. I particularly remember talking to her when she was changing jobs and she was really excited. She loved her work and, as she described it, it fit perfectly with her personality. She never took flack from anyone, and she was ready with a laugh. She was so strong and the last person to be intimidated by working with a bunch of traders.

My strongest memory of Nancy though, and the one which I think represents her true personality best, is from a race in which we were both competing. It was a stage race in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, that lasted for four days. Every event felt like we were going through a war together and all of us from New York City felt a sense of camaraderie. While we were all on different teams, we supported each other. In any case, it was during the last part of a road race that ended with two miles that were straight uphill. Every rider was moving slowly and barely turning over her pedals. I saw Nancy up the road from me and I slowly rolled up next to her and passed her. It was all in slow motion and Nancy and I would have been laughing if we weren’t both about to keel over. As I slowly passed Nancy she shouted at me, “Go Leslie! You can do it. Catch them!” There were about six people ahead of us and she was encouraging me to win. It kept me going and was such a genuine showing of generosity of spirit. We weren’t teammates, but that didn’t matter. We were friends and she wanted me to do as well as I could.

I know this sounds corny, but I hear Nancy’s voice every time I ride. I know that she’s looking down on all of us. I hear her encouragement and she inspires me. I looked forward to seeing Nancy every weekend. She was such a good friend. The last time I saw Nancy was in Central Park at a race. I was unfortunately a spectator, as I’d give anything to have been out there with her that day. Instead I saw her afterward. She was smiling and laughing. She’d done really well and was hurrying off to get some breakfast. We were to meet later in the week to train in the morning. But we didn’t get that chance.

Thanks so much for letting me ramble on about Nancy. I hope that my stories help you build an even richer understanding of her life. She is missed by everyone in the New York City cycling community, and people comment constantly about the sadness and the hole that we all feel. However, I can’t help but feel that we were all just amazingly fortunate to have known Nancy and be touched by her spirit. She will always be in my heart and I know that I’ll hear her voice encouraging me during every bike race and probably anytime life seems tough.

Thank you for sharing her with all of us and for giving us a chance to share her with you.

With all my love,
Leslie Jennings

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Acknowledgments Introduction Testimonies Photo Gallery 1 Reflections from Nancy's Mother