There’s no way to gracefully transition into today’s primary topic, so I’m just going to jump right in. As many of you might probably know, after a heroic battle with leukemia, Jeff Thrasher, who was one of the crown jesters of our ilk, passed away this past Saturday morning;
I couldn’t guess how long I’ve known him. Eighteen, or twenty years maybe? He walked up to me at a Sea Otter race one year looking like a cartoon of a prototypical mountain bike outsider. Chrome sling bag covered with an array of patches and stickers? Check. Cars-r-Coffins shirt? Check. Surly hat? Check. Evil socks? Check, and check. We chatted about whatever people who don’t know one another chat about, and we parted ways.
It mighta been the following winter when I went to Minneapolis for a show of my paintings. At some point I was monkeying around in Hurl’s kitchen, and he hollers out from his office, “Hey, do you know that guy Jeff Thrasher?” he asked. “Only in passing, I guess” I replied. “Well, listen to this email subject he just sent me.- ‘So… you wanna see my mom naked?’…”
It turns out that Jeff’s mom was famed actress Linda Gray, and she happened to be in town playing Mrs. Robinson in a live performance of ‘The Graduate’. Just before leaving from the Bay Area, I’d seen that Jerry Hall was playing the role in the west cost production, and upon arriving in town noted that it was playing there as well. Having long been a fan of the movie, I enthusiastically encouraged Hurl to see if we could get tickets. A gaggle of us went, and were invited backstage after the performance. Jeff’s mom was as lovely a human being as I could hope to meet, and it was then I decided maybe Jeff wasn’t so bad after all;
In the years that passed, he became a fixture, never not laying waste to anyone within his orbit with his profoundly dry, and wholly unique sense of humor;
I had an interesting experience upon hearing that Jeff had passed. It was the first contact I’d had that day, and in fact, I’d not even yet gotten out of bed. Immediately, I was overwhelmed with grief, which was countered with an equal degree of gratitude for having had him in my life to begin with. To be sure, it was a really curious array of responses, but I think a testament to just what a peach he was.
The guy was one in a million, and because of his absence, today the world is a little bit less fun;
If he can detect this sentiment, I’d love for him to know that I’m thankful for his presence, and his friendship these many years. he was most definitely one of the good guys.
Because his community was global, (though primarily based in LA), I was on my own to memorialize him. Thankfully, SoCal transplant Byron was free to meet up on Sunday in a little slice of off-the-beaten-path to pay tribute, and swap stories;
A notion that keeps coming back to me is that he was such a light, and such a force for good, that it’s not reasonable for me to feel pure sadness. Naturally I miss him, and my heart breaks for his family, but his memory is nothing but humor, and nonsense, and affection, and with those things in mind, it’s impossible for me not to smile.
If we could all be so lucky to leave such an impression.
So to Jeff, his friends, and his family, it’s with boundless love that today’s post is dedicated to y’all.
Back then, he’d done me the ultimate solid by painting one of me, for me;
Well, because in the time since, I’ve gotten my bike repainted, I reached out to him to see if he could do me another, which just like last time, he utterly killed;
As a solid, I also commissioned one for my Shimano Gravel Alliance ace ELM, which she doesn’t know about, but I can post it here, because she doesn’t look at this site;
I don’t like photos of myself, but I sure do like these little things.
If you’d like one of yourself, or your tall drink of water of a teammate, then give Rowley a shout, and get in the queue.
Thankfully my former editor at Dirt Rag Magazine does as well, because he hit me a couple weeks ago and asked if I’d write a little synopsis about the enigmatic weirdness that is, was, and always will be, The Shitbike.
I appreciate Cush for giving me the opportunity to write outside of the confines of this site again. Since Paved, Bike Monkey, BIKE, and then Dirt Rag dried up, there really hasn’t been too many places for me to ply my craft. It was fun to work on a project where aI almost felt like a gainfully employed freelance writer again. Rumor even has it that I might wind up having a monthly home there again…
Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, the ever-outspoken, and positively effervescent Ms. Amanda Batty has also secured a place to rant within the hallowed digital pages of The Cycling Independent as well, so if you know what’s good for you, throw a bookmark on that site, and check back often.
Finally in closing, I will offer notification for any who might be interested, I took delivery of the newest run of Respect Women shirts, and spent the following three days packing, and shipping shirts off to all the patient folks who got in on the initial pre-order.
But, because I’m a clever scientist, I ordered a bunch of additional sizes;
So, if you’re the type of person who procrastinates through the entirety of the initial order window, but wanted to get in on one of them fine shirts just the same, all you have to do to get one is go here. Sizes are limited, (though my screen printer accidentally went super big on the XL portion of the order, so I have lots of those). Don’t drag your feet because this is likely the last time I’m gonna do these.
So with that, we find ourselves at the conclusion of the post for November 17th, 2020.
Thank you for coming through. It always does my heart good to write these entries.