Wednesday, July 6, 2011

R.I.P. Mark Whitehead...

If you were into racing in Southern California during the 1980s and 1990s (and earlier for that matter) you would have heard of Mark Whitehead; not that he was limited to Southern California, he was bigger than that, but the southland was his base during his youth and later years. USA cycling is confirming that Mark has passed away, of unspecified cause, while attending the Junior Track Nationals in Texas. 

Jeff Bradley, Mark Whitehead, Andy Weaver, Les Barcewszki race in the 1980s (Creakyknees photo)

Mark Whitehead had an extensive palmares, including nearly 140 road victories, and 200 victories on the track. VeloNews notes that he was a twenty time National Champion. I can't recall ever meeting him, but I remember hearing his name thrown around at races, and training rides. He was just one of those SoCal guys, who you could not help but hear about. In more recent years he became a coach to some of the most highly successful road and track racers in the nation, including Sarah Hammer and Rahsaan Bahati. Rest in Peace. My condolences and respects to family and friends.

There are at least a couple good interviews on the interwebs, this one, a podcast on CompetitorRadio, is especially good, full of bits of information, history, etc. He talks of growing up in the sport, getting hooked on racing by bumming around races with his dad, competing during the Golden Age of American cycling, with the likes of John Howard, Greg Lemond, Davis Phinney, etc. The second, on FixedGearFever, is also good, if less extensive.

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