Racing for a Fallen Friend – Ed Sander Memorial Cyclocross
September 15, 2009; Conshohocken, PA, USA: “This is such a great race. But I wish it didn’t exist,” says National Capital Velo Club’s Rob Campbell, former teammate of Ed Sander and co-promoter of the Ed Sander Memorial Cyclocross presented by NCVC and Inova Health System. NCVC club member Ed Sander, who died in a training accident in 2001, is memorialized each year at what has become a favorite event for many east coast ‘crossers.
In a confluence of circumstances that may say more about Sander than any number of words could, the race honors three aspects of Sander’s life: teammate, employee and father. The race not only remembers Sander as a teammate and friend, it acts as a scholarship fundraiser for his surviving son and takes place at his former workplace, literally winding it’s way around water lily and aquatic plant farming ponds that Sander built and managed at Lilypons Water Gardens.
It’s also one of the most ironic races and race venues in the world: a joyful celebration of the life of a man most participants never met, a place where hundreds of brightly (if not too tightly) wrapped bike racers and spectators overrun a meditation garden with bells and horns while listening to Techno and rock classics like “In a Gadda Da Vida”, and an occasion to drink beer out of a pickup truck on the backside of a property named for (and visited by) the founder’s favorite opera diva, the famed colortura soprano Lily Pons. “Ed would have loved it,” said one former teammate.
For more information on the Ed Sander Memorial Cyclocross on September 27, see BikeReg.com. New sponsors Voler, Louis Garneau, and the Raw Talent Ranch training facility in Mathias, West Virginia have contributed to the merchandise prize pool of over $2,000 for the amateur classes. The Elite Men and Women will be competing for a combined cash purse of over $1,600.
There is also an associated fund raising raffle for the Chris Sander (Ed’s son) Scholarship Fund on BikeReg. Spokes Etc. bicycle shops and Specialized Bicycles have donated a brand new Specialized Tri-Cross Comp with a sales price of $1,900. Only 300 $10 raffle tickets will be sold for this benefit.