Dennis on the Road

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pat's memorial

Saturday 250 riders met in Walnut Creek and rode to the Juniper Lookout, at 3000 feet, near the summit of Mount Diablo to remember Pat Caurant. Despite the hot weather, the day was perfect. At the lookout there was a ceremony. Pat’s father said words that brought most of us to tears and poured champagne to remember Pat. His sister scattered ashes. After the descent about 75 of the participants went to Geri and Steele Willinger’s home nearby where they had prepared an amazing spread of food. In the shade, on a 100+ degree day, we looked at pictures, laughed, and compared stories of the many chapters of Pat’s life that we have collectively experienced.

In his short 28 years on this planet, Pat touched so many folks as a son, brother, friend, teacher, and teammate. The memory of Pat inspires me to reach out further with kindness and candor in the warm yet straight-forward way of Pat.

Here is a link to pictures I took of Pat’s memorial ride.

Monday, July 10, 2006

R.I.P. Pat Caurant

My friend, fellow teacher, and former teammate, Pat Caurant, passed away Saturday (July 8) from injuries sustained in an accident July 1.

Pat with Levi Leipheimer in April at Sea Otter. (Photo courtesy of

Several years ago, as teammates, Pat leant me a hand after a crash in the circuit race of the Solano Stage Race. I had gone down hard in a pile up of several riders. Although bloody and with an injured bicycle, I tried for ten miles to chase my way back to the peloton. When I finally gave up, I found Pat in the feed zone. He offered me a ride back to the start/finish and as he lifted my bike to his car’s roof rack, the carbon fork snapped in two in his hands. We laughed a frightened laugh, knowing how narrowly I missed crashing again, likely much harder.

In cycling and in life, there are so many moments of fate, luck, and providence. I would do anything to give the little bit of luck that I had that day to Pat, so that he could have saved it for July 1, 2006.

I have read all of the 100s of on-line postings that have been written by those whose lives where touched by Pat. Silly things bring me to sudden tears, especially the comments from his students. Although I never saw Pat in the classroom, his students paint a vivid picture. There is the student who dressed as Mr. Caurant for Halloween. Another who would appear to be daydreaming, but could still get the right answer when called upon, inspiring Pat to coin “The Rachel Zone.” There is the ritual of the “random question time” at the end of class and funny nicknames, like the Brine Shrimp Buddies. Reading the students pleas for Pat to hang on, letting him know how excited they are to have him for their homeroom teacher in the coming year, choked me up. In the words of one student, “I've been praying to God to help you get through this. You know what I tell him all the time? I tell Him that you're a pretty good guy and a great teacher. I tell Him that you're not done teaching and shaping futures yet, and that's why he needs to let you live. I hope he listens to me and considers it. But if He doesn't, then i'll miss you Mr. C.”

At the end of August, when I return to teaching, I will dedicate this school year to the memory of Pat Cuarant.

Pat: I am honored to have been touched by you. I am a better person for having known you. I miss you.

Pat and I snapping pictures of each other at the SF Grand Prix.

Ironically, in Pat’s death, he has likely saved several lives. His family’s decision to donate all organs possible has prompted me to register as an organ donor as well. It is my wish that when I hop on Pat’s wheel for a leadout to the finish of the final stage, that my organs be donated. If you are considering this also, you can find out more information and register here

There is a memorial ride scheduled on July 22. Soon information will be posted on the Team Spine website.

July 23rd's Albany Criterium is going to be renamed in honor of Pat.

Here is an article
in today's SF Chronicle. And another article in the Santa Cruz Sentinal. And another in the Contra Costa Times.

Some pictures of Pat. More pictures.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Pat Caurant

Trish and I are in Michigan this week visiting family. I've been out of touch by email and phone, and just heard the news today that my friend, fellow educator, and former teammate, Pat Caurant was involved in a car accident and is currently in a coma. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Here is a link to the website with up-dates and a guestbook.