Buzz and Pat,

Heather and I have been thinking about Alex all week…about all the great
times, the laughs, the hugs, the hard rides in crappy conditions.  I still
use expressions I picked up from our adventures….’what would Alex eat?’ is
one of my favorites… Alex and his gruel & blackstrap molasses.

Heather asked me to express to you how much her heart aches for you, Pat and
the rest of the family.  Alex was such a bright happy light shining on all
of those around him.   It breaks our hearts to think about what you must be
going through.

Heather fondly remembers when we were at the Elkhorn stage race on year.  It
was night time and we were ‘camped’ in the van in the high school parking
lot.  The windows of the van were darkly tinted blocking out the majority of
the light from the sodium vapor lights in the parking lot.  Alex needed to
pee in the middle of the night, and rather than get dressed, he hopped down
off the top bunk in the buff, yanked open the massive slider on the van and
sprinted across the parking lot to the portable toilets.  “SLAM” when the
portable toilet door closed…Heather and I were trying to figure out what
the hell was going on.  Then we hear “SLAM” again and the pitter patter of
bare feet sprinting across the parking lot and then the door grinding open,
the rig shaking violently, “SLAM” again when the door closed and then the
entire rig shaking violently again when he jumped back up onto the top bunk.
We still laugh ourselves silly re-telling that story.  Heather got to see
way too many nice butts on those stage race adventures.

The end of our battle over 9 seconds at Columbia Plateau (our first and last
Cat 4 stage race) is the first time an guy outside my family hugged me.
Alex held a special place for me, and I’m really going to miss him.

And the video John put together (the one with the Beatles music) is always
touching.  I used to like the AC/DC version better, but now I like the
Beatles version better.

I still remember all the times I came home from a long day at work on a hot
summer day to find Alex loitering around my place on Redtop.  I’d ask him if
he wanted to do Mary’s or Alsea Falls…’no we can do Decker or something
shorter since I just did Mary’s twice already’.  Really?  Twice already?
That happened more often than I could count.  He was an inspiration (and I
always think about him when I’m riding.)

I can’t believe he’s gone.  I wish we could be there for the memorial, but
plane tickets are a hair over $2k, and I just can’t swing it.  Too many
expenses in the States as well as over here, and things are super tight
until we sell or rent our house.

Heather and I want you both to know what a positive influence Alex had in
our lives.  Our lives were richer for knowing him and sharing our adventures
with him.  I know there were others (besides me) like Ryan Miller who
idolized Alex and strived to be like him.

I can’t tell you how much Heather and  I wish your pain to subside and for
the happy memories to bring joy without grief and sadness.

Condolences and warmest thoughts for you and your family in this dark time,

Much Love, Jim and Heather

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