Rider Off: RIP Isaac Gálvez

I had never heard of Isaac Gálvez until he died, racing at the Ghent Six Day race on November 26. He was only 31, had raced successfully on the road as well as on the track (he was a world champion in the Madison); and died as the result of a crash. I found this video tribute on YouTube made by someone in Spain.

A bike race, speaking from experience, is a freak show on wheels. At the low amateur level it is a bunch of misfits with shaved legs, mostly unfulfilled dreams of glory and all sorts of bad habits (public urination, littering, contemptuous flouting of traffic laws, etc. -- rider behavior has led to the cancellation of many events over the years). The pro scene has some of these elements mixed in with a atmosphere of cheating and corruption as it is very mercenary.

But regardless, I have to have some respect for anyone, at any level (from a local Tuesday night practice race, to the World Championships) who pins on a race number. In a bike race, someone wins, everyone else loses (I really had a hard time seeing things this way, which was one [minor] reason for my relative lack of success racing) and sometimes bad things happen. Crashing is part of the sport and a rider is basically naked (physically, except for a thin layer of synthetic fabric and a light styrofoam helmet, and, in a sense, spiritually) on a bike. So RIP Isaac Gálvez, consider this a small and inadequate tribute.

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