I found out on August 24th that a good friend of mine had passed away in a cycling accident the previous day in Pennsylvania while visiting with family in the area.
Robert Anderson was a dear friend of mine. He was an avid cyclists in all disciplines: mountain biking, cyclocross, and road cycling.
I met him through our mutual club CCCP but I really got to know him on my first Trek Across Maine in June 2007. We rode a fair bit of the three days together. I remember Robert telling me after the first day that he had changed out his entire drive train the night before. When I asked him why he had done that, he proclaimed, “So I could have a 19 mile per hour average!” (At that point, that was our average for the day, which was quite a bit higher than the day before.)
At that point I hadn’t known Robert long and didn’t know he was an artist with a Masters in Fine Arts. (His talents also funneled into cabinetry and furniture making.) I found this out during the Trek when he and his friend, Joey, gave Tracey and I a tour of the Colby College Museum after the second leg of the tour. It was a great treat for them to point out certain things about the art on the wall and the various artists.
(Me, Patrick, Robert, and Tracey after the completion of the Trek Across Maine 2007)
The following year we formed an official CCCP team for the Trek and were fortunate to have Robert part of that team that year.
(Robert in middle row on the far left.)
From then on we came to know more and more about Robert. Not only did we see him on many club rides and working at Back Bay Bicycle part-time, but we also started seeing him at various races. That was the next step for him. He participated in a few mountain bike races with another BBB employee, Paul, and they even did the 12-Hour Bradbury Challenge in the fall of 2008 as a relay team. (This year they had planned on racing it individually.) Robert also appeared in several cyclocross events in New England last fall, in addition to the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee (D2R2), and Tour of the Battenkill and the Scarborough Crit Series in the spring of this year.
(Robert at Pineland Cyclocross)
(Robert in center foreground at the Scarborough Crit series – the first of the season)
Robert was the type of person that people were drawn to. He radiated happiness and enthusiasm for life. He had a great sense of humor and when climbing with some of the best cyclists in our club, he’d look over as ask, “what else ya got?”
Robert died instantly of head and neck injuries when he flew over his handlebars while mountain biking. I take comfort knowing he died doing something he loved. However, he will be greatly missed by me, the entire Portland cycling community, and his wife and young daughter.
Rest in peace my dear friend. I’m glad we had the time together that we did.