Dear Mr. and Mrs. Morgenstern,
I am a friend of Nancy’s
from the bike racing club and I wanted you to know that my husband
and I know her as tremendously
special, full of life, enthusiasm, sensitivity, intelligence,
The bike racing “scene” is
a fairly intense one. The group of women who race locally and
in New England get to
know each other, including each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
And competition is very real. I rode for a different team than
Nancy did. Some of the racers have a hard time befriending members
of opposing teams. Not Nancy. Nancy was a tough competitor, and
she was always ready with a smile or a friendly word after a
race, no matter how intense it had been. She had friends on every
team in the park and among the New England racers as well.
In the past two years or so
Nancy made huge improvements as a racer. She was not the biggest
(by far) or the strongest rider
and many of the harder New England races have a tough hill climbing
that did not suit her build. She was always a good sprinter,
though, and had good results in races that favored sprinters.
Yet, over the past two years she worked very, very hard in training
to get better as a climber. She went to races like one in Altoona,
Pennsylvania, that were brutally difficult and favored the tall,
wiry climbing specialists. She did very well. And she did well
because she was tough, she put in the training, she wanted to
improve and was willing to work hard. It is incredibly difficult
to excel at climbing without the advantages of being tall and
thin. I teased her several times that she was becoming a “stealth” climber—she
did not look like one, so she could surprise people in races
and break away from the pack.
I have two children (ages
three and seven) and I am one of the few racers with kids on
the sidelines when we travel to compete.
Nancy always came over to say “Hi” to my girls, and
she knew their names and, I think, enjoyed having them around
among all of the serious faces. My seven-year-old knows that
Nancy is among the missing from the World Trade Center, and on
Sunday she told me she was sorry I was sad, and asked me whether
Nancy’s mommy and daddy were really sad too. I said that,
yes, you were very sad. She thought about it for a minute and
then said she was very sad too, and she hugged me.
The last time I saw Nancy
was the weekend before the World Trade Center disaster. A bunch
of us were having breakfast after a
Central Park race and chatting and laughing. Several women’s
teams were represented and we had a great time lingering in the
sun and enjoying each other’s company. I asked Nancy whether
she was finally ready to upgrade her cycling classification—she
was a category four racer, but had done well enough to upgrade
and become a category three rider and to ride in higher level
races. She had been hesitating about upgrading and I had been
trying to encourage her for a while to go ahead and do it—she
was good enough. That day she told me she was ready to do it,
that she would improve more if she rode with the rest of us who
were cat 3; she was going to be mailing the application ASAP.
It was a sunny day and I have
a clear picture of her beautiful eyes, flashing with self-deprecating
humor as she talked about
how hard the cat 3 fields would be to ride in. And I know she
would have done beautifully there.
You have raised an amazing
person and there are many of us from the cycling community who
feel that way about Nancy.
Sarah Chubb Sauvayre