A few weeks ago, we were contacted by, Jeannine Ondrejko, who said she was bringing 15 cyclists to the 2014 Mammoth Fall Century & Gran Fondo to ride in the memory of her brother, Glenn Ousley, who passed-on in January of this year from lung cancer.
Jeannine told us that the Mammoth Fall Century was Glenn's favorite Century Ride and he did the ride many years with a group of friends. We expressed our deepest sympathies to Jeannine and her family and asked her to tell us more about her brother and send some pictures.
Jeannine told us Glenn was an avid cyclist and a strong athlete. When he became ill, he was training for an Ironman. We have copied in Jeannine's email below describing her brother and attached the pictures she sent us of Glenn. Jeannine, thank you for sharing this memory of Glenn with us and for coming to our ride with his best friends in memory of him. We are truly honored to have you and your group joining us - The entire Mammoth Fall Century & Gran Fondo Staff.
HERE IS JEANNINE'S EMAIL DESCRIBING HER BROTHER , GLENN OUSLEY:
Glenn was a very special guy who loved cycling, hiking with his dog MJ, making people happy, building bikes for other athletes, and hanging out with friends and family. He was the strongest, happiest, most positive person I have ever known.
He was one of those who lived by "Come one, Come all." He opened his heart to everyone. He was an avid cyclist and also managed a cycle shop in Yucaipa. He was training for the AZ Ironman when he found out he had lung cancer. He fought hard against this disease for 7 months, and kept riding and hiking the entire time.
During this journey with my brother, I heard a great story that sums up what an amazing man he was. A 10 year old boy walked into his bike shop one day. The kid didn't cycle and just came in to see what was going on in this shop. Glenn said hi to him in the special way he said hi to everyone who walked in, with a huge smile on his face. He got to know this kid and found out that he needed something positive in his life. He was raised by a wonderful single mom who also became friends with Glenn.
Glenn learned that this kid had been picked on by his peers. So, Glenn did what he did best, invited him to start cycling and helped his mom get him into his first bike. Each year, Glenn and a few other adults planned a ride from Redlands to AZ with kids like this young man. They camped and rode to AZ and back. Glenn invited this young man to join in and he said, “well, maybe one way only.”
Glenn got him to do the round trip and stayed with him the whole way, teaching him to change flats, etc. I had the privilege of meeting and riding with this young man on a benefit ride that was planned for my brother where 350 cyclists attended. He was now a strong, confident and fit 13 year old. He said, "Glenn pretty much saved my life, and I am not the only kid he has helped.” This young man is looked up to now by his peers and even races in cycling events.
I cried hearing this story as Glenn didn't share these personal moments. He never boasted and doing acts of kindness was just his nature and he didn't look for pats on the back. The morning of his memorial, about 40 of these kids rode with some adults around Glenn's favorite route in Yucaipa and ended at the church. They parked their bikes and walked in wearing their jerseys, the same Strada jersey Glenn wore with them each year on the AZ ride. It was another emotional moment for me. He was a light in every person's life that he met. There are so many more stories of Glenn's powerful and positive legacy that will be in our hearts forever.
I have attached a few photos, some of him during the Mammoth Fall Century, one with all of his cycling kids, and one of him and I on one of his favorite 4:30 AM rides - he had to really talk me into these early morning rides. There is a special photo attached of Glenn walking with the little boy I referred to in the story. The kid was 10 years old in this photo - his first AZ ride with my brother. And, one of Glenn meeting Tyler Hamilton at a Crit race we attended that his friend was racing in. This photo was taken a few weeks after his diagnosis - he was still smiling!
See you in September!
All the best,
BEST, HIGHLY-RATED, TOP-RANKED, FAVORITE, TOP-TEN, TOP CENTURY AND GRAN FONDO BIKE RIDES