The guests of honor at the Canine Companions for Independence
Sometimes ROAD gets invited to events that are not directly related to cycling. Such an event was Canine Companions for Independence Wheels of Wonder auction. The purpose of the auction was to raise funds for their cause, which is to train and match helper dogs with the people who need them, whether they are physically or mentally challenged. Some of the athletes in attendance included World Champion Sarah Hammer, Olympian Steve Hegg, Phonak rider Axel Merckx, first American to win a stage race in Europe (1977 Tour of Ruebliland) Greg Demgen, and Floyd’s coach, ex-Postal rider and back to sporting the full beard Robbie Ventura. They were in attendance to lend their considerable cycling star power to this great cause by donating various cycling memorabilia, most of it signed. The auctioning for this started off briskly with several people bidding back and forth. In the end the cycling collection went for $4,000.
The athletes were introduced to the attendees and when Floyd was brought up on stage the crowd erupted and gave him a standing ovation. It was great to see the support. I spoke to Floyd briefly and he is in good spirts. We hung out with Sarah Hammer and Andy Sparks. I felt a little bad for Sarah. I interviewed her the day before at the velodrome and now here she is talking to me again. At least I don’t think we talked too much about cycling. Axel Merckx was seated at another table, ten feet away from me, but I never got to chance to speak to him. It’s kind of awkward at these types of events to slip into journalist mode and ask questions. There are times I like to go to inspirational events, such as this, and enjoy it without having to work.
Floyd and Greg Demgen
Self-portrait with Floyd
Self portrait with Sarah Hammer