Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Don McKaughan ... You Will Be Missed

"Nothing perfect lasts forever.
         Except in our memories."
                  From the poster to the movie: "A River Runs Through It"

This is a place where people who loved Don McKaughan may feel free to write a memory they have of him, a story, or to say goodbye to a good friend.  Please share your thoughts by clicking on the "Comments" at the bottom of the tribute below. You need not be a cyclist to share a memory here.  Please send photos of Don that we can share to Chuck Bramwell at and to Roland Hoffman at

Tom Fante wrote: "The main reason for my reply is to inform you of the passing of my good friend and Hall of Fame inductee  Don McKaughan. Don passed away on Tuesday October 29th from heart failure. I attended his funeral Monday. We both reside in the Sacramento area.  Don and I rode many miles together in recent years on the double centuries. He also supported several of the rides. We were scheduled to ride on the Saturday Dead of Winter Double together. I will still be riding and Don will be there in spirit." 

Don was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2016 in recognition of him completing 50 Double Centuries or 10,000 Miles in the California Triple Crown Series.  He loved these hard rides as shown on his California Triple Crown History Report HERE

Don rode his First organized Century on the Indian Valley Century around Antelope Lake where he remembered great food and a flat tire on the way back.

His First Double Century was on the 2002 Davis Double where his wife was waiting for him for over two hours at the Finish.

His favorite local 50 mile ride was from Natomas on the American River Bike Trail.

His favorite place to ride in the world was in the Bryce National Park area of Utah.  They found it on their ride across the US and loved the area.

His favorite treat during a long ride was a Krispy Kreme Donut on the Grand Tour.

Don gave back to our sport by volunteering on 9 Double Centuries including Dead of Winter, White Mountain, and Knoxville.

He overcame diabetes on his way to tackling these Double Centuries.  It required his strong determination to not quit.

His most memorable Double Century memory was going down Sage Hen Summit on the Eastern Sierra Double at 56 Miles Per Hour which was the fastest he had ever ridden on a bike.  It was a true E Ticket Ride.  And he will always remember a tailwind out of Benton on that same course pushing him at 35MPH.

He had good memories of Lee Mitchell’s music, big smile, and Santa Claus in the summer.

Don cranked out the California Triple Crown for 13 years of riding 3 or More Double Centuries per year.  He also completed the Gold Thousand Mile Club 2 years after completing at least 5 Double Centuries and Volunteering as well. 

When he was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame, he wrote: "I started bicycling late in age and after the first Double, I was hooked.  I set a goal of doing fifty Doubles and with my wife’s encouragement and the encouragement of other riders, I was able to complete my goal – still loving it and will continue to do Doubles."

Don was a Retired CPA and was 70 when he passed away.  His obituary from the Sacramento Bee can be found HERE

Don will be missed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

John M. Clare - A California Triple Crown Legend

The California Triple Crown family lost a true legend when John M. Clare passed away on Saturday, January 26, 2019.

Let's celebrate John M's life!!

This is a place where people who loved John M. may feel free to write a memory they have of him, a story, or to say goodbye to a good friend. Please share your thoughts by clicking on the "Comments" at the bottom of the tribute below. You need not be a cyclist to share a memory here.

"When someone dies, you don't 'get over it' by forgetting.
You 'get over it' by remembering."
Leslie Marmon

John on the Southern Inyo Double Century course
Photo Courtesy of Hugh Murphy

The California Triple Crown family lost a really good friend
and a true legend of the sport with the passing of John M. Clare
on Saturday, January 26, 2019.

John and his son, Scott, pulling a train on the
 2013 Bass Lake Powerhouse Double Century
John was affectionately know as "The Big Diesel"
 or "Locomotive" for good reason

On Sunday, January 27, Melinda shared the tragic news:
"Dear friends,
Yesterday I posted a rather cryptic message about needing prayer without details. At the time, I didn’t know any details or the status. Now I do.

It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of sorrow that I let you know that my husband of 35 years, John Michael Clare, died last night on Mt. San Gorgonio. Scott and John were on the descent when John lost his footing and fell in hard, icy snow and he started sliding and couldn’t stop. He fell into a ravine estimated at 500 feet down. Scott was able to yell and communicate with him but then had to leave him to get into cell range to get ems moving. He made it off the hill just as ems arrived.

San Bernardino Search and Rescue were awesome. They had multiple ground crews that hiked in and they made it a county-wide priority alert asking for volunteers. People were coming up until the wee hours of the morning to assist in the search and rescue. Shortly after 3 am, they found his body and notified us. We are in a state of shock as this was not the outcome we anticipated.

I would ask you to please respect and honor our families’ privacy in this time of grief and pain and refrain from calling or texting. I PROMISE if I or my family needs anything, I will reach out (and I already have.) John did not want a church service but he was ok with a celebration of life if that’s what we wanted. I will, of course, keep you posted as more details become available.
With love,


The San Bernardino Sun Newspaper wrote an article describing the tragic accident HERE .

Cheri Walker is a friend of John and Melinda and created a GoFundMe page HERE where you can make a donation to help Melinda.  She also made a MealTrain page HERE where you can sign up to help Melinda with a meal.

Melinda wrote: "I am currently collecting photos of John. Please feel free to upload a few of your favorite photos of him into the Google Photos folder I created."   There are hundreds of photos of John there!!

Melinda wrote: "The celebration of life for John will be Wednesday, February 20, 2019, at 6pm. Location is Cerritos Park East, 13234 E. 166th St., Cerritos, CA 90703. There will be an "open mic" if you would like to share your memories of John. Immediately following the celebration, dinner will be served. We hope you will stay, eat, and visit with family and friends."

Ellen Kirk suggested that we add John's name to the CTC Jerseys. What a great idea!! We'll make that happen with the CTC Jerseys we order this year so we will honor John's memory.

Planet Ultra wrote: "The Solvang Double Century is renamed the John M. Clare Memorial Solvang Double in honor of an amazing man who was a great friend and mentor to so many of us."

George Chung wrote: "Remembering John Clare. A big man with a huge heart. Will always remember your kindness to me and so many others. You always had time for my questions. You were always there for your friends and willing to help out. You were so genuine and sincere. We will always remember your big smile, heartfelt friendship, and your gentle soul. You will be sorely missed by me and so many!"  George shared these beautiful photos:

John was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2012 in recognition of him completing 50 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Series.

Just 4 years later in 2016, he was inducted into the California Triple Crown 100 Double Century Club of the Hall of Fame in recognition of him completing 100 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Series. He loved these hard rides and he tackled the most challenging of them all as shown in his California Triple Crown History Report HERE

John rode his First organized Century on the 1975 Orange County Wheelmen Century.  He wrote: "My bike broke down early in the ride so I rode my Dad’s bike while he fixed mine. He caught up with me and gave me a Heath Bar since they did not have Powerbars in those days. Still one of my favorites."

His First Double Century was on the 1993 Hemet Double where he rode his 45 pound fat tired Mountain Bike.  He remembers a huge peloton lead by Steve Born and the first century was under 5 hours for him.

Ed Gallegos wrote: "John and I had some great times on our "ponies" and shared these photos:

John held a Master's Degree in Emergency Services Administration.  He was an Assistant Fire Chief and College Professor.

His favorite local 50 mile ride was from his home in Long Beach on the river trails because there are no cars and they can take you to so many cool places.

His favorite place to ride in the world was Southern California because of the awesome coast as well as mountain riding.  Alaska has some very beautiful rides.  Mt. Haleakala on Maui was an awesome climb and descent.

His favorite treat during a ride was Nilla Wafers with Nutella as well as fresh fruit.  After a long ride, he liked pizza or a big greasy cheese burger.

Dee Mann wrote: "I met John when we were both crewing for Hoodoo in 2015. I didn't really get to know him until he offered to help me get my first CTC gold after my knee surgery. We rode DoW. It might be more accurate to say that he pulled me through that course. I have had the pleasure of riding as stoker for 5+ doubles (he would know the exact number- he always did), but I can count the + as all the training riding on the tandem. All the travel time, dinner time, car time, bike time, more car time, all the stories and laughs will not be forgotten! John's passion for cycling was evident. He was always taking care of others while riding and volunteering. Wanting others to have success. I will miss his passion, sense of humor and big heart!"  She shared these great photos:

John volunteered on at least 34 Double Centuries.  He believed we should all give back at least 10% of the time.  He also actively promoted all of the Doubles and recruited many new riders.   He found that mentoring and encouraging others is important to sustain the Doubles for years to come.

Andrew May wrote: "John Clare leaving the lunch stop on his tandem on the 2016 El Camino Double Century.   A friend and mentor who will never be forgotten."

Rob Mann wrote: "It has been hard for me to put into words...but in order to do his memory proud I am going to try to change my feeling sad to feeling thankful that I was able to know John Clare. Like many have said...his constant smile, no BS attitude, and ferocity as a friend were some of the first impressions I had of an "endurance rider" I will miss him greatly and think of the many miles (both on the bike and in the car), the many wonderful stories...but most of all his big heart(even after it got lasered it was still one of the biggest I knew) He will forever be my model of what I want to be like for cycling. My life has forever been changed."  Rob shared these fun photos:

Over the years, John ran across many obstacles. He wrote: "Each ride is different and offers different challenges.  Sometimes it is mechanical issues and sometimes it is physical issues.  No matter what the issue is you must take a step back and look at what your problem is.  Work out a plan to fix it and then do it.  Give yourself time before you DNF."

Chuck Bramwell wrote: "Thank you, Hugh Murphy for this photo.  I remember this moment quite well. John was so amazingly strong on the bike!! We were tackling a good long headwind stretch and John Clare just powered right into it like it was nothing. I blew up and started going backwards but it was a great moment to ride with John and Terri Boykins for a short time.
I am so sad to think that I won't be able to ride again with John Clare. I already miss him a whole bunch."

John's best memory from these many Doubles was getting to share doubles with his Dad and two boys. Specifically, he was feeling crappy the entire day at the 2015 Southern Inyo.  It was his 100th double and he had 8 of his friends taking care of him the entire ride.  They never let him pull.  Finally in the last few hundred yards Loren Smith said, “Lead us in John”.  There were cowbells and cheers as we rolled in. Pretty awesome having people take care of you all day long, riding slower than they normally would, and then having you lead them in.

John's sweet wife, Melinda, makes the best cookies around with secret illegal ingredients … they are known as “Crack”!!

Regarding Lee Mitchell, John wrote: "Lee has helped me on many occasions. Broken lights, flats, tools, encouragement.  The last time I saw Lee was at the 2013 Davis Double. I was riding tandem with my son Scott.  We were flying down a long stretch with a bunch of single bikes in tow and I could see a man dressed as Santa Claus far off in the distance. I knew that had to be Lee. I told the bikes we were towing we were stopping. I introduced Scott to Lee and we took a picture with him. He was not feeling well at all from the chemo but had the sense about him to select the appropriate camera angle for the best shot. As soon as we got the picture Lee rushed over to help a rider with a wheel problem. Special man, we miss him.”

Steve Meichtry shared this awesome photo writing: "2014. A little climbing on the tandem with my diesel buddy"

Steve captured some great climbing moments on the 2014 Oceanside Double in a video HERE.  He wrote: "Fun times with John: 2014 Oceanside Double Century. Climbing out of Borrego Springs into a major wind/rain storm on the other side as we headed around Palomar Mountain. Going to really miss this."

John cranked out 46 consecutive doubles from 2013-2015 including in 2013 all 23 doubles with 4 volunteers and in 2014 all 21 doubles with 7 volunteers. 

In 2014, he completed the Grand Tour Quad on the tandem with Steve Meichtry. Steve wrote: "2014 Grand Tour Quad with my awesome buddy John Clare. Going to really miss you my friend!!" and shared this photo:
Steve wrote: "An epic day on a diesel truck!" and shared this video of the day.

In 2014, he was a World 24 hour time trial champion on a tandem with Tony Musorafite.  

As of 2016, the Clare family are simply amazing examples with 286 Doubles completed and 72 family volunteers!!  In 2000, all three generations of Clares completed five doubles together.

Steve Meichtry wrote: "Love ya John!! You will always be with us!!!!" and shared this photo:

Steve made this great video of John's 100th Double Century.

John wrote: "It took me 20 years to get into the Hall of Fame. With my aggressive schedule over the last few years I was able to join my Dad in the exclusive 100 double club in a few short years. He is out there riding with me every mile. He talks to me when I am having a tough time on a ride. It is quite an honor for me and I am humbled by all of the support I have received. I would like to thank all of my family, friends, organizers, fellow riders and volunteers. Without all of you none of this would be possible."

John, you were a great inspiration to me and to many cyclists.

Thanks for leading the way.

Our thoughts and hearts are with your family.

We will honor you in the days and months ahead.

Chuck Bramwell
California Triple Crown Guy

Julie Stokes shared some fun photos of John:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bruce Berg ... You Will Be Missed

"Nothing perfect lasts forever.
         Except in our memories."
                  From the poster to the movie: "A River Runs Through It"

This is a place where people who loved Bruce Berg may feel free to write a memory they have of him, a story, or to say goodbye to a good friend.  Please share your thoughts by clicking on the "Comments" at the bottom of the tribute below. You need not be a cyclist to share a memory here.  Please send photos of Bruce that we can share to Chuck Bramwell at and to Roland Hoffman at

A memorial service will be held for Bruce:
Saturday, January 19, 2019
3:00 PM
Hillside Club
2286 Cedar St
Berkeley, CA   94709

Bruce was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of him completing 50 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Series.  He loved these hard rides and he tackled the most challenging of them all as shown in his California Triple Crown History Report HERE

Bruce started riding seriously while going to college in Boulder, Colorado and he was hooked.  He rediscovered his passion for cycling years later in the late 90’s.

His first Double was Death Valley in 1999 and he’s grateful that a more experienced double rider (Bonnie Faigles) was along to provide him with batteries for his headlight when his died.

When he was 61 years old, a typical training week for this architect included 50 miles riding both ways to and from work 4 days a week followed by a Century on Saturday and a 20 mile recovery ride on Sunday.

Bruce's favorite Double was the Terrible Two or the Knoxville Fall Classic Double.  Both are fabulous events put on by fabulous people and ridden through gorgeous country.  For those from Southern California, he said you ought to see the Knoxville country in the Spring!

Bruce was a big believer in not having handlebars too far below the saddle.  For most major rides, he’s rode on a Terry Fly saddle.  The wheels he used were Mavic CD Ceramic’s with  triple cross lacing which are fabulous.  He found them to be much, much better for braking, especially in the rain.

He’d like to spend more time talking to Ken Holloway or Dan Crain.  He really enjoyed the brief times he was able to ride with Ken Holloway and Dan Crain, both of whom had  enormous amounts of knowledge held in heads with fabulous attitudes.

He wrote: “I fairly regularly volunteer on either Knoxville or Devil Mountain.  The Quackcyclists are the BEST!  Best memory was secreting a beer in a cooler in my trunk and giving it to a friend when he came by my rest stop in 100+ degree heat.  That was several years ago and he still sings my praises for that.  Another is using a Hudson Sprayer to cool riders off at the top of Knoxville Grade at the water stop.”

When asked how long distance cycling has influenced his life, he wrote: “My wife loves getting to go to France every four years while I ride in Paris-Brest Paris and she loves waking up to a quiet house on Saturdays.  So I end up with a happier mate.  I’m much, much healthier and thinner since I got into ultra riding.  It’s connected me to a whole bunch of wonderful people.”

He said that without the California Triple Crown, he probably would have only done 1 or 2 of these things and never had gotten so hooked on these longer rides.

In 2007 when Bruce was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame, this cyclist’s resume included:
50 California Triple Crown Double Centuries
Eight Terrible Two Double Centuries
Two 750 Mile Paris-Brest-Paris’s
A 750 Mile Davis Gold Rush
A 750 Mile Last Chance Randonnee’s

He listed as his best long distance cycling experience his Paris-Brest-Paris in 2003.  Hands down.  The beautiful terrain, 4,000 other riders, many speaking English, and the unbelievable support of all of local people along the route in Normandy and Brittany.  You just have to remember to slow down enough to take advantage of the opportunities.

Rob Hawks wrote: "I am so saddened to pass along to you that one of our membership has passed. Bruce Berg, RUSA # 1349, passed away at home on Saturday, December 22, 2018, surrounded by his family.

Bruce was an early rider on San Francisco Randonneur (SFR) rides and a very long time member of SFR.  Bruce rode PBP in 2003 and 2007. If you have ridden the SFR Fort Bragg 600km and enjoyed the staffed control in Anderson Valley, it was Bruce that first began that improvement to that brevet when he and Jack Holmgren took it on themselves to ask the riders before they left SF what they like to have on the road and they went and got those items and then met riders at Dimmick campground. Bruce was my biggest supporter and best counsel when I became RBA. He frequently staffed the Lighthouse control back when our January 200 went to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and Bruce was the person that set up the way we host the Fleche NorCal when he found Crepes on Cole would work for our needs and he organized the teams riding the event.

Post-ride dinner after the Grizzly Peak Cyclists self-supported "King Ridge Double Century", July 12, 2008.  Left to right: Bruce Berg, Mark Abrahams, Bob Pacenta, Rob Hawks, Veronica Tunucci (standing), Ernesto Montenero, Jack Joseph.  Photo by Zach Kaplan.

There are many, many other ways that Bruce supported SFR and helped our region grow to what it has become today. I know Bruce personally mentored many new randonneurs. I almost certainly would not be one today if not for his encouragement."

Mark Abrahams wrote: "Bruce was a very active, high-contributing, hearty-riding Grizzly Peak Cyclists member for many years.  He served as President for two years (2002, 2003) and as Vice President twice for a total of over three years (in 2001; again in 2009-2012) as well as in many other volunteer support roles.

He was a frequent and inspiring ride leader -- he led a great many all-day M-pace rides and helped introduce many of us to all sorts of new and beautiful back roads throughout the Bay Area.  He kept those ride groups together in ways that other leaders could not.  People just wanted to ride with him and spend time eating and chatting with him at the regroups.  He was that kind of natural leader.  Bruce was one of the forces in getting GPC to change its club jersey from low-visibility colors to high-vis bright-bright yellow, for increased ride safety.  Since then, many people have complimented our high-vis jerseys without knowing whom to credit.  Bruce's enthusiasm is what drew me into double centuries and drew many others into long distance cycling as well.

Those are just a few among Bruce's many accomplishments and contributions to bicycling.

A personal story: I am the friend mentioned above to whom Bruce handed the unexpected ice-cold beer at Knoxville Double (2003) mid-afternoon when he worked rest stop #4A.  Temps had been over 100 for several hours and my stomach was in full rebellion.  I could not keep anything down, not even the (too-hot) water and energy mix in my uninsulated bottles.

I felt pretty bad, and a bonk plus dehydration was surely near.  Bruce's gift cooled my overheated body core, gave me some much-needed liquid and quick calories, settled my stomach so that I could take in more, and transformed the rest of my ride from pain to pleasure.  The experience taught me how to better care for my body in such conditions.  This story typifies Bruce in a nutshell: he was as dedicated to supporting rides as to riding them; he tended to know exactly what riders needed to keep going and finish; he was there at magic moments when he was needed most; and he had a sly sense of humor."

Zach Kaplan wrote: "Very sad news. I knew Bruce was having a bone marrow transplant over the summer but am still shocked. This photo I took of him at the Bass Lake rest top on the 2008 Bass Lake Powerhouse double century is how I remember him, very strong and always smiling.

I have many fond memories of being on rides with Bruce. It seemed like the longer and more difficult the ride was, the more difficult it was to keep up with him. He was a strong rider with a great attitude and almost always had something humorous to say. Also I understand a very accomplished architect."

Bruce and other Bay Area riders just before the start of PBP in 2007
Kevin Foley, in the left foreground
Jim Bradbury, to the right of Bruce
Donn King, who's got his back to the camera at right
Photo from Dan Brekke

Bruce on a PBP warmup ride to the village of Gambais, 
west of Paris, in August 2007
Photo from Dan Brekke

2006 Fleche group
From left: Rob Hawks, Veronica Tunucci, Bruce, Michael Tigges, and Susan Jacobsen
Photo from Dan Brekke

When Bruce was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame in 2007, we asked him what his personal philosophy was.  He said, "It’s to enjoy what I’m doing.  The best way to do that is to keep a positive attitude.  Don’t let myself get into a negative headset.  Actually, I find it hard to stay in a negative headset when I’m on my bike."

His tips to a new Long Distance cyclist was to:
1 - Stay within yourself.  Don’t pace yourself off of anyone else.
2 - Eat, drink, and eat and drink some more. 
3 - Enjoy what you’re doing. 

"When someone dies, you don't 'get over it' by forgetting.
You 'get over it' by remembering."
Leslie Marmon