Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lee Mitchell's Fan Club Page

Some call him 'Fuzzy'.
Some call him 'Santa Claus'.
Some call him 'SAG Angel'.

On Sunday, September 1 2013, Chuck Bramwell wrote:"It is with a very heavy heart that I write to tell you that Lee Mitchell passed away Saturday from the cancer he had been battling.

Lee was one in a million. I will miss my good friend who helped me and thousands of cyclists in so many ways. I will miss hearing the fun music from his Red “BIKE VAN” and looking back to see his smiling face.

I know you will as well.

Barbara Anderson, the President of the Davis Bike Club, wrote in an e-mail on the Davis Bike club list this afternoon:

“Lee Mitchell, a dedicated and devoted friend and supporter of cyclists everywhere, but especially of the Davis Bike Club, died this morning.

Lee will be remembered for his unfailing smile, his signature "Santa Claus" look, his never-changing wardrobe, and his red mini-van blasting music to get you over that next hill. Most of all, we'll remember him for his unfailing SAG support, his generosity of spirit, and his single-minded concern for the safety of cyclists on the road.

I understand plans for a memorial service are pending but no definite date is yet set. As I learn more, I will pass it on.

Our heartfelt condolences to Lee's wife, Shirley, to his family, and to all those who counted him among our friends.

Barbara Anderson
President, Davis Bike Club"

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

Thanks for being such an amazing example to us.

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.
We will honor you in the days and months ahead.  We will share some of these many stories at the California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast on Sunday September 29, 2013 from 7:30 A.M. to about 9:30 A.M.   The Breakfast will be held under the gazebo in Pena Adobe Park which is where the Knoxville Double will Start and Finish the day before."
A memorial service will be held:
Sunday, September 29, 2013
02:30 PM - 06:30 PM
Veterans Memorial Center
203 East Fourteenth Street
Davis CA 95616
Lee's Obituary in the Sacramento Bell is HERE

Dan Shadoan wrote: "Have you ever found yourself riding a dark, lonely road heading for a finish line, your speed in the single digit range? You're wondering if you'll make the cut-off. You hear some distant music. And then Credence Clearwater booms through the night from the speakers on a red van. Your spirits rise and your bike speed increases exponentially. And this fuzzy-faced guy asks how you're doing from the driver's window.

Have you ever been riding the Davis Double, climbing Resurrection, and spokes start pinging and wrapping around your derailleur? "Is this the end of my ride?" you think. And miraculously a red van, driven by some kind of Santa, shows up with a myriad of perfect wheels in its back end for you to choose from.

Have you ever had a burning desire to challenge yourself to ride the Furnace Creek 508 or perhaps even Race Across AMerica and wondered who could help you? Someone says, "Call the red van guy". You do and he says, "Yes, I'll get a crew and organize everything for you. Just train up."

We all can call Lee Mitchell our friend for supporting us on so many big time challenges.
Lee Mitchell has set the standard for supporting us on Double Centuries, Brevets, and huge rides like the Furnace Creek 508, Hoodoo 500, and the Race Across America for over 30 years!!
In 1989, Lee was supporting John Hughes on the Furnace Creek 508
Lee giving Hugh Murphy a water bottle on the
1991 Furnace Creek 508
Lee with Steve Born and Rick Anderson at the start
of the 1998 Race Across America

With Anne Schneider and crew at 1998 Furnace Creek 508
Lee and his Red Bike Van supported us all the way on
Lee helps Rebecca Smith with her Windbreaker
 at the Start of the 2003 Race Across America
Lee with Jim Penseyres
at the start of the 2009 Race Across America
Lee Mitchell interviewed outside
 of Durango, Colorado on RAAM 2009
Lee with the Hammer Frogs at the 2010 Hoodoo 500
Lee on the Hoodoo 500 Course in Southern Utah
With Isabelle Drake at the 2011 Furnace Creek 508
Lee with John Robbins at the
 2010 California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast

Lee and Eric Smith were recognized at the
2010 California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast

Lee with Doug Goodwin at the
2012 California Triple Crown Awards Breakfast 

Just look HERE at how much he has given back to the Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown and that only shows his good work since 2004 … Lee has been supporting us since way back in the early 90’s!!!!


Lee was inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame way back in 2000 as shown HERE and in the Ultra Cycling Hall of Fame in 2004 as shown HERE

Glenn Mounkes, the President of the Davis Bike club, wrote: "Lee was also honored with the Davis Bike Club's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.  As a cyclist who has been helped by Lee from, a handy floor pump for a flat tire to a ride to the Hospital after a bad crash, it was my privilege to present him with the Award at the September 14th "Lee Mitchell Day" Event."  

Lee at the start of the 2004 Race Across America 

Lee riding a good stretch on the 2004 Race Across America
 for the Grand PAC Masters 
Lee is starting treatment for cancer of the esophagus. It would be great to send cards to: 

Lee Mitchell
26 Clark Ct.
Woodland, CA 95776

Or you can add your stories by clicking "Post a Comment" at the bottom of this page.  Or you can send your stories and/or photos to Chuck at cbrams at caltriplecrown dot com and he'll add them here.
Or you can send emails to him at LeeBikeVan at aol dot com

Let's be sure Lee knows that we are on his team supporting him all the way on his challenge!!

Isabelle Drake wrote: “Lee is very optimistic and is a fighter. His Ultra Cycling experience will help him as he faces this unexpected challenge. He has helped so many of us over the years crewing, sagging, etc. and he really needs our support now!”

Let’s keep Lee in our thoughts and prayers!!
Chuck Bramwell
California Triple Crown Guy

Thanks to all of you, we turned Lee's house into a House of Cards!!
In May of 2013, Lee wrote me:

"Largely because of you our house has become a house of cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Many were from bike riders I never met but had heard me coming and were glad to know I was out there sagging, just in case. All helped me fortify myself.

Son Tim helped me sag the Davis DC yesterday. Good thing he was driving--I ended up exhausted early and we came home by 4 PM. Was first sag since fall Death Valley DC.
Will be more.
See you at Knoxville in September!
Hugs, Lee"

From Frank Neal, CTCDataGuy…
I first met Lee at the first time I had a challenge on a CTC Double.  It was Death Valley, the southern route, when it started and finished in Stovepipe wells.  I purposely bought new headlight batteries at the Trading Post because I did not want problems after dark.  Guess what?  The batteries were bad.  I was in that long stretch between Bad Water and Furnace Creek.  My headlight went dark.  There was little moonlight.  That is one dark stretch!  I had to ride down the middle of the road to follow what I could see of the white line to prevent myself from running off the road.  A vehicle came up from behind, so I pulled over to get out of the way.  Guess who?  Lee Mitchell.  He stopped and asked me if I needed anything.  I said, “Yes.  My headlight batteries died.  Do you have batteries?”  He replied, “Sure what size and how many do you need?”  I was ecstatic and grateful to this guy that looked like Santa Claus.  At that point, he was Santa Claus.

I was riding my first Davis double.  I had an eight speed cassette at that time.  I had moved up to a 54-tooth big chain ring because I liked to chase tandems on down hills.  After lunch there is a huge and fast downhill.  I was chasing the tandems.  I was in my 54/12 at the bottom, made the turn and did not realize there was an immediate climb.  I was Way in the wrong gear!  I stood up, but to no avail.  It was too steep.  I tried to shift gears and I twisted and broke my chain.  I kept asking all passing riders if they had a chain breaker.  If I could remove the broken link, I would be okay to finish.  Who showed up?  You guessed it:  Lee Mitchell.  Saved again by Santa Claus.

This next save was at Eastern Sierra Double.  I got up on Saturday morning to get ready for a good day of riding from Bishop to Mono Lake.  The weather was perfect.  One thing was missing.  I did not pack my bike shoes.  I ran up and down the halls to all of my friends to see if any one of them had an extra pair in their trunks.  I didn’t care what size.  No luck.  There was a bike shop on the ground floor of the motel, but it was closed and nobody knew how to contact the owner.  I was wearing court shoes.  That is all I had.  I went ahead and started thinking I could fix it somewhere on the course.  This was a bad idea.  I had the old Shimano SPD’s which are about the size of a half dollar.  The court shoes were sliding off the pedals.  I had to curl my toes just to stay on the pedals.  There was no way I could stand up.  My feet were cramping.  The Eastern Sierra has a big loop south of Bishop in around 25 miles returns close to Bishop.  I knew I was done by the time I got back to around Bishop.  I pulled over to wait for the Sweep SAG to take me back to Bishop.  This would be my first DNF.  Who showed up?  Who always shows up?  Lee Mitchell.  I said, “Lee, you have to take me in.  I am done”.  He said, “Frank, you never DNF?!”  I replied, “Look at my shoes.”  He looked down and saw I was wearing tennis shoes.  He said, “Oh yeah, you do have a problem.”  He got out of his van and opened up the back doors of his van and started going through his many parts drawers.  He said, “I have a very old set of platform pedals, with cages.  What would you think about trying a double century in tennis shoes with platform pedals and cages?”  I said, “Let’s give it a try.  I’m already dust.  I have nothing to lose.”  So he changed my pedals and I finished in tennis shoes.  My feet hurt for two weeks.  I had blisters on top of my blisters, but I did not DNF.  Now, this guy changed from Santa Claus to my SAG Angel.

I never DNF’ed a Double.  Guess who was always there to save me?  Lee Mitchell.

I have now retired from riding CTC Doubles, but have changed to supporting them.  Guess who is always there to educate me?  Lee Mitchell.

Another Lee Story:  I hope this is appropriate for mixed company.  This was last year at Death Valley Spring.

I had a ride share and a room share, so I made it a vacation and did not volunteer.  We stayed in the bungalows at the Furnace Creek Ranch.  The bungalows have patios.  As I walked past, Lee and Veronica Tunucci  were sitting there exchanging tall tales.  I stopped to say, “Hi.”

Lee knows I have followed him as a SAG with his major mentoring.

He said, “Frank, I bet I carry one thing you do not.”  Okay, I am always good to learn from Lee.  He said, “Do you carry tampons?”  Instantly, my mind was in high gear.  Why would I need to carry tampons?  I couldn’t figure out the answer.  I carry first aid and why would I need to carry tampons?  He smiles, “Take four women across the U.S. for RAAM and you will understand.”  Lee is so precious.  He is unassuming.  His smile says a lot.

For you, who know me well, I am Garfield the Kickstand Guy.  I never got to hear much of Lee’s music.  I always have had Garfield sitting on my bike bag.  Lee has a barking dog sound on his loud speakers.  That is what I always heard.  I was always amused because I knew it was Lee and I was well supported.

Lee is my SAG Mentor, my SAG Angel, and my constant goal to learn all I can from him.

My Best to Lee for a Speedy Recovery.  Respectfully submitted. – Frank Neal, a devoted SAG Student of Lee’s.  Thank you for letting me be your student.

On the 2013 Davis Double, John Clare wrote: "It was great to see the legendary Lee "Fuzzy" Mitchell out at the Davis Double. He has helped MANY of us finish rides. He in fact helped a rider with a broken wheel immediately after we took this shot."