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
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.
you for sharing her with all of us and for giving us a chance
to share her with you.
With all my love,