MEMORIES OF THE DOOR COUNTY CENTURY – “I came to ride!”
Our Memorial Ride for John W. McKenzie, Sr.
Written by John S. McKenzie
As athletes we all have our favorite events to participate in. My dad was no different and he too had his all-time favorite event – the Door County Century ride. John McKenzie, Sr. passed away last fall on October 22, 2020. According to my middle sister, my dad first rode the DCC in 1987. He had all the classic DCC enameled pins, with the dates to prove it. He last participated in 2019, the last DCC before Covid caused the ride to be canceled for the very first time. Dad participated in 33 years of DCC rides. Amazing!
Dad loved everything about the ride: the people (family members and biking friends), the scenery (can’t beat the sights in DC), and the food (he loved those rest station snacks). He especially enjoyed the post-event meal with my family and fellow cyclists from across the country. I had the privilege of riding with him on his 2018 and 2019 rides. Of note, he rode his Ebike (the only time) during his 2019 ride with active cancer in his system. Nothing, not even cancer, could keep my dad off his bike.
One of the best memories shared by his biking friends was the year that the group was hoping to complete the challenge of the entire 100 mile century distance course. At the 50 mile turn-off point, they looked to the skies and the weather was foreboding. The entire group wanted to turn around and head back, but not my dad. He defiantly stated, “I came to ride!” While his entire group turned back, Dad went ahead by himself and completed the full century. The irony of the story was that he didn’t get rained on at all, but his biking buddies got soaked.
What better tribute to my dad than to ride his favorite ride, eat his favorite foods at the stops, and ride the entire 100 mile century distance (we won’t be turning back at the threat of rain). Five of his six children, in-laws, and friends (you can pick us out by our t-shirts) will be riding the full century this year in honor of my dad. What an honor to do this for him. I’m thrilled to not only be riding his bike, but to also wear his shorts and bike jersey at the 2021 DCC. We all know that we will feel his presence and strength to help us finish the entire course.
Dad, we love you and miss you and we know you will be with us in spirit. “We are coming to ride!”