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Dear Mr. and Mrs. Morgenstern,

I am the captain of the women’s squad of Nancy’s team, Axis. I rode and raced with Nancy for three years. Here are some things that I remember.

Nancy was what I call an all-out disciplined, dedicated; take-no-prisoners racer who laid it on the line every time. If you were out there with her and you weren’t in the mood for racing or your mind was elsewhere it was Nancy shouting at you to “Get with it!” or “Go Randy. Go now!!!” that would so easily remind you of the privilege that it is to race a bike.

She never hesitated to speak her mind even if the situation was difficult. One time, as we whipped around Central Park together in late August I got the feeling that she was mad at me about something. After the race I asked her what was the matter and she told me she was feeling like we weren’t racing as a team and that she wanted certain things to be different . . . like having tactics meetings more often and other simple planning ideas. I was ready for a long reconciliation process because her complaints were justified and I felt guilty. But after Nancy told me her feelings and we figured out ways to implement her ideas . . . she just let it go. She didn’t stay mad or harbor some crazy grudge against the team like so many other racers might have (racing is pretty emotional and can bring out the best and the worst of anybody) . . . she just told me what was wrong and we moved on together. I felt tremendous respect and love for her in that moment. She had all the wonderful aspects that a child has . . . of trusting and hope . . . but also the maturity to know which things were important.

I am half-Jewish (on my father’s side) and it was Nancy I used to talk to about this part of my heritage a lot. I was proud not to be a total W.A.S.P. but completely ignorant of the Jewish aspect of my background. She would tell me the elements of the seder (and how much she looked forward to it). She would ask me to ride by some kind of block party in her neighborhood (maybe Sukkot . . . I don’t know) and say, “Look at all those people! Isn’t it great!!!” She would tell me about her personal relationship with G-d, in which I was particularly interested. I remember after much prodding and (probably irritating) questioning from me I finally got her to elaborate on why she celebrated the Sabbath so diligently. She said that all week she thought only of herself: her training, her clothes, her job, her family . . . boys . . . food . . . parties but on the Sabbath she felt it was her time to give something back to G-d: to show her appreciation and love . . . to not be so selfish. I thought that was a precise and beautiful explanation of faith.
Once, as we met during the week to train (Nancy played hooky from work that day!), I asked her to tell me what prayers she said and when. She told me she prayed every day and after I pushed her and pushed her she finally began to sing to me the prayers that she lifted up to G-d. I rode along on that beautiful, sunny, one-of-a-kind day . . . past the hedges and driveways . . . so happy and completely at peace . . . while Nancy sang to me the unusual conversations she had with G-d . . . every day.

All I can tell you is that knowing your daughter was a privilege for me. I think of her when I race . . . when I walk down the street . . . when I “accidentally” ride my bike down 90th Street and stop in front of her house. And I remember all those great days of picking her up to drive somewhere . . . I think of what a stupid, terrible thing that happened to her and how devastating her loss must be to you and your family. I know that Nancy had faith in G-d and that she loved you very, very much . . . and that everyone who met her will always remember her. I still think I see her sometimes. The fact is, to me she’ll always be riding in the park . . . telling me how great things are going, what plans she’s made . . . how much hope she has for the future and . . . how glorious and spectacular life is.

With love and respect,
Randy Sharps


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