Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Cary J. Bates Memorial Ride

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." —Psalm 116:15

On Saturday, February 27, our EFC Cycling Group said farewell to our longtime friend and fellow cyclist, Cary Bates. Following Cary's Memorial Service held at Eastside Foursquare Church, 11 of us gathered for a short ride to remember Cary and celebrate his life.

I remember one of the first EFC Cycling Club rides I took with Cary. Bryant Sabandal and I had recently joined the EFC Cycling Club back in 2001 to train for the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. Cary showed up for a Saturday morning ride and we all noted that he had arrived with a mountain bike. What we all soon realized was that Cary rocked that mountain bike. He was able to keep up with us road cyclists without fail. Eventually, Cary replaced his mountain bike with a 2001 Lemond Zurich. All of a sudden, Cary was infinitely faster. Following one fast ride trying to keep Cary in sight, Bryant caught his breath, turned to me and said, "I think I liked Cary better when he was on a mountain bike!"

Our group gathered on this Saturday, prayed for our ride, thanked God for Cary's life and imprint on ours, then we took off for a slow and easy ride to Woodinville Gateway Park along the Sammamish River Trail and East Riverside Drive. Once we arrived at the park, we gathered up and I asked each rider to share a personal memory of Cary.

Kristin mentioned how whenever she would ride with Cary, he would always be the first to smell barbecue. "Hey, I smell barbecue! Let's go check it out!", Cary would say. Several people admitted their respect for Cary and his humility and exceptional listening skills. "He was the best listener," someone added. Cary would always ride with you, asking questions about your life, family, or interests, and just listen intently. He really knew how to make the other person feel valued.

One clear example of how he valued others was the way he would ride at the back of the pack. Both Brenda and Laurie shared stories of how when they first started riding with our group and were having trouble staying with the pack, Cary would always spin next to them and make sure they had someone to ride with. He was strong enough to lead off the front and leave us in the dust, but he chose to ride at the back whenever a less confident or less strong rider needed some company.

We continued to share stories, talking about how much he will be missed, and said a final prayer together for his family and his friends. On our return to Eastside Foursquare, four of us climbed over Norway Hill, laughing that we should be like Cary and climb it in the big ring!

Cary, we know you are in the arms of Jesus and cycling on streets of gold today. We miss you terribly, will cherish our memories riding with you, and look forward to the day when we all are in Jesus' presence and riding with you once again!

More photos from todays ride are here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I frequently read this post. Thank you so much for honoring my Dad in such a perfect way! May God bless you for blessing us and so many others.