Dennis on the Road

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.


At 10:12 AM, Blogger Allison Krasnow said...


This is Allison Krasnow--I met you at Sausilito crit. this year and we talked about math positions in OUSD.

I am one of the lucky ones who has seen Pat teach. In this year off from classroom teaching I worked for the Bay Area Math Project. I met Pat in September as his school signed up for consulting work from BAMP and I was the middle school specialist. We had this incredible connection...middle school math teachers and bike racers.

As you can so easily infer from his students' letters to him, he was a truly gifted teacher. Not only was he a brilliant math teacher, but his ability to connect with each and every student and make them feel important was unlike any teacher I've ever seen.

As I looked for classroom positions for this fall, I spent much of the year trying to convince him to take a job with me for this fall as there was nothing I wanted more than the two of us to collaborate.

He has had an impact on so many of our lives. I too will think of him every day next year with my 7th graders.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger March Hare said...

Dear Dennis:

Thanks for the link. Mr. Caurant (which is how I, as a mom, knew him best!) will leave a big hole in the family of St. Joseph's.

My sons have also struggled with learning disabilities and I hope they are half as successful in life as Mr. C. He also didn't make class any easier for Son #2, who was in his class for three years. Daughter #2 had a difficult time this year, but was hoping to show him that she could become more responsible and get the grades she's capable of.

Great pictures, too. Do you mind if I print them and your tribute?

At 2:37 PM, Blogger March Hare said...

Thanks, Dennis.

Here's a site with more pictures, if you haven't seen it before:

You probably know more of the folks than I do.

Also, there's a Memorial Mass scheduled at St. Joseph's on Saturday, June 15, 9:30 a.m. (due to the size of the community, the family requested we not come to the funeral). St. Joseph's is at 837 Tennant Ave., Pinole, CA. Please pass the word in case any of the cycling community would like to come . It will be more school-centered than cycling, but I'm sure cycling will be mentioned in there somewhere.

BTW, my youngest daughter is now talking about riding her bike to school. Mr. C's love for cycling has had a real impact on his students--even the most sedentary ones!


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