Another note from friend Jim Fischer

Adam and McHale,

If I’d known I was going to be famous, I would have taken more care to write my stories a bit more cohesively. 😉  YES, please share them as you see fit.  Alex is one of the few people in my life who is with me always.  Most days, I usually think about him during my commute to and from work on my bike.  Oh, and I also think about him every time I eat oatmeal (which we referred to as ‘gruel’ when Alex would strip it of anything tasty and turn it into a super meal for training).  I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast and so does our 2 year old son.  Noodle on that for a second.  I ride at least 5 days a week, twice a day, and eat oatmeal once a day.  So, I haven’t seen Alex in years, but it is like he’s still there with me everyday telling me that brown sugar in my oatmeal is still sugar, and that I should use something with a lower glycemic index like that nasty blackstrap molasses.  Or, I would try to match his cadence on our rides…and suddenly I notice on my commute to work dragging my 2 year old in the trailer that my cadence has picked up and I’m passing others on the bike path.
On hot days, Alex would always unzip his jersey all the way so it flapped.  Drove me nuts.  So, what do I think on when it’s hot and I’m riding?  You guessed it.  Alex’s flappy jersey just begging for a bee to fly down the front of his bibs.
Back in the summer of 2005, my father died suddenly of a heart attack.  We were in the middle of racing season and had just returned from the Mt Hood Stage Race.  Alex finished in the top 5, I think.  Not bad for his first stage race as a cat 3 (and second stage race ever), and on very hard terrain.  We had the Elkhorn Stage Race (this pic was from the TT warm up for that race, but I believe it was in 2006) about three weeks later.  There was a point in the race on the last climb up Dooley mountain at the end of a 100 mile stage.  I was hurting and starting to drop back through the lead group.  Alex was right there next to me.  He told me my dad was watching, smiling down on me from above telling to find my dark place and go there.  We were in the middle of a hard event that Alex stood a good chance of winning, and yet he drifted back with me to provide words of encouragement.  I was not surprised, because that was simply the kind of person he was…always there for his friends when they needed him most.
As I said before, few people stick with us on a daily basis.  Parents, siblings, best friends.  I can safely say Alex will always be with me.  He was truly an amazing person.
Warmest wishes,
Jim Fischer
alexandjim
Notes to Alex Photos

A Note from Chad Woodward

I first met Alex after my wife had been to a number of his yoga classes. She would come home telling me I should take one of his classes. I would ask her who is this Alex guy? She answered “he’s got an afro and a beard and rides his bike everywhere; you’ve probably seen him around town, maybe at the co-op… I think you guys would really get along.” A few months later I finally met Alex and we quickly hit it off. We both had the uncanny ability to converse on a topic for way to long and to find humor in even the worst of jokes.

In becoming friends with Alex it took me a while to realize his athletic accomplishments. He never bragged or even tried to share his accolades. It was only with some prodding or usually from someone else that you might actually hear about his feats. His humility was one of his many endearing qualities.

My friendship with Alex was described by others as a “bromance.” I know there are a number of Alex’s friends who can relate to this experience. However, if you are uncertain about whether you had a bromance with Alex, here are a few signs that may help you decide. First, you would get gifts, like crystals or balsa planes or marbles or two dollar bills. Second, you would receive calls or texts or emails every week or every day and sometimes multiple times a day. Third, when you mentioned something he found interesting or adventurous he would take that idea and run with it. One time I mentioned a place that I thought we could go fishing. The next day I got an email with four different studies complete with relevant page citations discussing the possible fishing spot. Alex always put in the time and effort to ensure there would be another adventure or shared memory.

Alex had a unique way of expressing his humorous side that I will certainly miss. He would say and write some of the funniest things. I would like to share one of these “Alexisms” with you.

  • One time I had emailed Alex a picture of a kayak I thought would make me faster at the Siskiyou Challenge. He encouragingly replied “Word to that!  Hot knife through butter, no, more like a chainsaw with a 36″ bar heated by a solar flare slicing through ghee…”

Alex engaged you and really got to know you. He became interested in your interests. And his pursuits and way of life became part of yours. As you may know, Alex was a big hugger. Every time I saw Alex or we parted ways he always gave a heartfelt hug. I had never been a big hugger and avoided hugging people when it seemed unnecessary. But I never avoided hugging Alex. I treated him differently. Maybe I didn’t want to disappoint him or maybe his desire to hug was just so genuine I wanted to honor that. Anyhow, I kept hugging Alex at every greeting and farewell and slowly but surely he single-handedly made hugging hello and goodbye seem like a good idea. I share this as an example of how Alex’s genuine friendship shaped who you are in seemingly small yet meaningful ways.

While Alex pushed himself when biking or running, those efforts paled in comparison to the heights he achieved as a person and friend. Alex made us feel special and made us laugh. He was truly a good friend to us all and will be dearly missed.

Notes to Alex

Bonzai!

  1. Banzai” is a Japanese cheer that can be translates as “Long life!” or “Hurrah!” It is usually repeated three times to express enthusiasm, celebrate a victory, applause and favor on happy occasion while raising both arms. It is commonly done together with the large group of people.
Notes to Alex Photos

A Note from Usha and Sankar

Pat and Buzz

We got the profoundly sad news this morning. I cannot tell you how sad we are. We do not know how to comfort you; I do not think there is any way to console a parent grieving for his child….  Loosing your child is the most profound tragedy, and deepest sorrow, a person can endure. I do not know how one copes with it, or what your friend and family can do to help. Perhaps nothing significant  no matter how much we may try.
I always referred to Alex as my “yogi-baba” (i.e. the yogi guru) ; he still is and will be. His love for outdoors was clear to me at Samidh and McHale’s wedding when he and Adam asked every body to take their shoes off, feel the new grass in the meadow, look at the green trees around and hold the next persons hand in fellowship. A simple thing! but his love for nature  and friends and family  became clear to me in a minute. It was a revealing insight into Alex’s beautiful and unforgettable inside. Though it is terrible that he had to leave all of us so early, I feel that it is a saving grace that he did so in the midst of the mountainous outdoors he loved so much. As if he would say “my freedom is in these trees, the sky and the clouds; and most of all my freedom is in all your minds”. I think of him through out the day, feel sad; cannot take my mind off his thoughts.
Pat and Buzz – grieve as long as you want, any way you want. Grieving for him will console your heart, and keep his memories happy and alive.  And of course we are here, to help you through this period. Ask, just ask, if we can do anything to lessen your pain.
Love you all
Usha and Sankar
Notes to Alex

A Note from Ryan and Jessica Lamanna to Mom and Dad

Buzz and Pat,

My husband Ryan and I have only known Alex for a year or so, but it was not enough. We can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through as his parents.  We were initially neighbors when we both lived on B street, however our lives didn’t cross for a year until Alex took a shared interest in Ryan’s wheatgrass. Alex was very special to us and we miss him dearly. As Ryan put it, “he is a friend that we will never be able to replace. We will never meet someone like him again.”  He was such an incredible person and I know you two were an integral part in him becoming the man he was.
Yesterday at the park, many people shared stories about Alex. It really brought together all the different parts of Alex’s life and the people he had an impact on. We enjoyed hearing the stories that his colleagues and students shared. I thought that I would share a few memories and experiences that we had with Alex.

The first memory I have of Alex is before I met him, when I knew him as the neighbor that I would always see walking down the neighboring streets, oh so slowly. He truly took EVERYTHING in, never in a rush. The first time I ran into him on the trails I remember thinking, “oh wow, he runs!” and fast.

I will miss the dinners we would share. Alex would have us over, or he would come over to our place with a bag full of food and just cook. He was an amazing cook, truly appreciating the flavors and ingredients of what he put together. He loved to share this with people and it was fun to watch him work in the kitchen.

Many weekends, Ryan and Alex would go on adventures on the Ashland trails. For hours hiking and biking and talking.  I always looked forward to hearing fun Alex-isms when they returned, which leads to…

Alex’s humor, oh we will miss this. Subtle at times, but always good for a laugh. He used to joke that he thought we should chop off one of Willow’s legs (our dog) so that she would be on par with everyone else. As a puppy she has much too much energy, which I knew could wear thin on Alex, but secretly I think he loved her. He would say, “If I’m not back by such and such time, send Willow for me.”

Alex loved to teach and share his knowledge, and we loved to just listen and learn from him. The most valuable thing that he shared with us was his time.

Alex perfected bars. Ryan perfected joooose (juice). They talked of opening a “Joose and Bars” business.

I never truly enjoyed a yoga class until I took one of Alex’s. His silent yoga class was so powerful; even without talking Alex could teach and he had such a presence and impact. Sometimes, in between poses, he would come out with a one liners and have the whole room cracking up. No one will forget the glittery short shorts on holidays either.

For the several weeks leading up to Alex’s trip, we would make weekly trips up to Mt Ashland; packing Vanna White full of bikes and picnic stuff and spending the day on the trails. This weekend will be my first 50 miler, on those very trails. I will carry these and other memories with me during this race. Although jokingly at the time, I said last Saturday that I would wear tie-dye, his outfit of choice, for the race. As promised, I will be wearing tie-dye for him on Saturday. Alex’s presence and wonderful spirit is everywhere in Ashland and will live on in the places he loved and through the people that loved him.

I will attach some pictures of Alex from various adventures,

You are in our thoughts,

Jessica and Ryan Lamannaalexcrater1 alexcrater2 alexcrater3 alexcrater4 alexcrater5 alexcrater6

Notes to Alex Photos