Saturday, May 08, 2010

Troy Raffelson ... One In A Million

This is a place where people who loved Troy Raffelson 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 e-mail any photos of Troy that you'd like to share to Chuck Bramwell at and he'll post them here.

"The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience,
We're spiritual beings having a human experience"
Susan Saint James who lost her 14 year old son in a plane crash

It is with very heavy hearts that we pass along the sad news of Troy Raffelson's passing in a tragic accident at home on May 6th. 

Troy was truly one in a million.

The above photo of Troy was taken last September after he climbed Mont Ventoux in France 3 different times in one day, culminating the cycling trip of a lifetime to Italy and France.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
                        Quoted by Troy at the bottom of his e-mails

This message is so hard to write. We are taking one day at a time and one step at a time. We would like to thank all of you for the outpouring of love, prayers, good thoughts, and well wishes for Lorna and our family. It means a lot to know that Troy has so many friends and was loved by so many.  Troy was married to Lorna Raffelson, Carol's sister so Troy was married to Chuck's sister-in-law. 

To Chuck, Troy was like a Brother, his best cycling buddy, and one of his very best friends.

Troy loved Lorna a WHOLE BUNCH!!

Please come and join in a celebration of Troy’s life on Wednesday, May 12th at 2:00pm at:

Clairemont Church of God
4955 Conrad Ave.
San Diego, CA 92117

Please join us afterwards for refreshments and reminiscing.

"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.."
     "Do not stand at my grave and weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye
     Shared by Brent Thomas

Did you know that Troy was the lead singer in a Rock n' Roll Band?

Lorna and Troy had a great vacation to the Grand Tetons in 2006

Troy loved racing on the Track.

One of our favorite photos riding into Panguitch, Utah
on the Tour of Southern Utah

Troy with Floyd Landis
Troy knew everybody!!

Troy loved to tackle extremely difficult cycling challenges.  He completed 6 Double Centuries in the California Triple Crown Double Century Series as shown in his California Triple Crown History Report HERE.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in Troy’s memory at:

1 – Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong foundation at

where you can donate in memory of Troy and send an e-card to Lorna at , 1396 Chaney St., El Cajon, CA 92020

2 - Troy and Lorna loved the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. Donations can be made at

where you can donate in memory of Troy and send a Greeting Card to Lorna at

3 - Your favorite charity.

Please pass this along to anyone we may have missed and keep Lorna in your thoughts and prayers.

Love to all,

Lorna Raffelson
Chuck and Carol Bramwell

"There is one phrase which should be erased from your thinking and from the words you speak aloud. It is the phrase, 'If only.' It is counterproductive and is not conducive to the spirit of healing and of peace. Rather, recall the words of Proverbs: 'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'" (Proverbs 3:5,6)
           President Monson at funeral of 5 little girls who tragically died in trunk of car

P.S.  This is the hardest memorial I have ever written.  This hurts so much.

Of all my cycling buddies, Troy was my very favorite buddy to ride with.  His heart was always in Track Racing but somehow, I managed to convince him to go out on some BIG cycling adventures.

A magnificent morning in Bedoin, France
Before the 3 climbs to Mont Ventoux
Those legs had climbed over 80,000 feet in the prior 2 weeks
Were they up for another 14,000 feet in one day?

We were climbing STEEP roads all over the mountain.
Troy had wings on his back!!
Chuck Bramwell, Troy Raffelson, and Alan Ptak, The Three Amigos, after climbing Mont Ventoux 3 Times in One Day
September 11, 2009
I just found this photo as the Wallpaper on Troy's iPhone.
We took thousands of photos from our HUGE adventure.

Troy, Alan, and I had a magnificent week climbing so many of the Colorado Mountain Passes that we dreamt of in October of 2008.

Alan Ptak found the great Colorado photos above and posted some more with Movies HERE.

In 2009, we then had the trip of lifetime riding with Andy Hampsten in the Dolomites of Italy following by the famous Alps from the Tour de France ... all topped off with 3 Ascents of Mont Ventoux.

Troy rode each of those days like he had wings on his back!!  He just went flying up the toughest climbs in Europe featured on the Giro d'Italia (the Tour of Italy) and the Tour de France.

Troy and I in our Ventoux Finisher Jerseys
Long Beach Fixed Gear Century to the Queen Mary
January 9, 2010
Troy's Fixed Gear bike "Giuseppe" Olmo in background

"You and you alone must decide whether the goal you are seeking is worth the price you must pay for it in effort."
Troy and I were sitting in an Ice Cream store in Panguitch, Utah after a long day on the bikes on the Tour of Southern Utah.  A boy came in with a T-Shirt on and this quote on the back.  Troy and I looked at each other and both agreed that this was one of our favorite all time quotes ever.  Troy loved that moment and loved that quote so much that he added it to his Facebook page .  Troy loved a challenge and loved working on BIG goals both on and off the bike.  He was a hard worker and was always there to do the heavy lifting no matter what the job.
We trained really hard in July and August of 2009 to prepare for Italy and France
Sometimes we had to start at 4:00am to try to beat the heat on the climb to Onyx Summit

Whenever I rode with Troy, he always made me ride better and have more fun.  He would pace me for miles and miles just above what I thought I could ever do.  He was just an amazing person ... both on and off the bike.

I have a boatload of memories with Troy which will somehow have to be enough for the rest of my life.

He was one in a million and I will miss him so much on our bikes, in our family like he was my Brother, and as one of my very best friends.

But I have faith that I will see Troy again in a much better place than even the heavenly roads in Alleghe, Italy.

With a very heavy heart,


“I was glued to my TV when it looked like he looked at me and said
"Best start putting first things first."
Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand
You can't flip it over and start again
Take every breathe God gives you for what it's worth
Don't Blink … Life Goes Faster Than You Think”
“Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney

The lyrics to this song now have new meaning to us all.

Any day one of us can be called home.

Shelf Sitter Cyclists from Troy and Lorna to Darryl MacKenzie
Referenced in Darryl's beautiful comment below


Kristine said...

Thank you for your beautiful words. I will be sure to share this w/ all our co-workers at The Home Depot in Clairemont, and our extended co-workers. Troy will certainly be missed a lot.

Unknown said...

I was a life long friend of Troy and his family. I wrote this the other day for his sisters upon learning of his tragic passing.

Thank you for sharing your memories - he was such a unique, one of a kind person with a gentleness about him.

I miss my friend - I miss my brother... God Bless you and comfort you during these difficult times, Lorna.

Rich Mavis

damon said...

I met Troy in Darryl Mckenzies stationary training classes. I was a new cyclist and Troy was always willing to give good words of advice. I will always remember that no matter what he was going through that smile was always there.

We would always run in to each other at the Trek store and we had so many common interest. He will be missed I know by everyone.

We have all lost a good friend nad the world lost a good man.

My prayers go out to all of you in your time of loss and sorrow.

Damon Poor

Chuck Bramwell said...

I was just thinking that one of Troy's favorite songs was "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw.

He said I was in my early forties
with a lot of life before me
when a moment came that stopped me on a dime
and I spent most of the next days
looking at the x-rays
Talking bout the options
and talking bout sweet time
I asked him when it sank in
that this might really be the real end
how's it hit you when you get that kinda news
man what'd you do

and he said
I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
and he said someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying.

He said I was finally the husband
that most the time I wasn't
and I became a friend a friend would like to have
and all the sudden going fishin
wasn't such an imposition
and I went three times that year I lost my dad
well I finally read the good book
and I took a good long hard look
at what I'd do if I could do it all again

and then
I went sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
and I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying
and he said someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying.

Like tomorrow was a gift and you got eternity to think about
what'd you do with it what did you do with it
what did I do with it
what would I do with it'

Sky diving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named FuManchu
and then I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter
and I watched an eagle as it was flying
and he said someday I hope you get the chance
to live like you were dying.
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying
To live like you were dying

Chuck Bramwell said...

Darryl MacKenzie wrote:

"I am so saddened to hear of Troy’s tragic death.

My thoughts are with you and his other family members.

He will be remembered."

Anonymous said...

Troy, you were always bright and cheerful, and most of all helpful. I'm so sad to hear of this tragedy.
You will be missed.
Our thoughts are with you and your family

Anonymous said...

I did not know Troy well, but knew him as an employee of the Home Depot. I can say that whenever I had any type of communication with him he was kind and respectful. He was the type of manager that gained your respect because his leadership was done with care and never out of ego. He will be missed and my prayers go out to his family. Erika

Anonymous said...

Dear Lorna,

My heart goes out to you and your family, my family.

I have so many great memories of you and Troy! The three of us started our cycleing careers together. Roller blading and cycleing on the weekends. He was always, well, almost always, so patient with us. The Holidays spent with you, Troy and your wonderful family. Watching the Tour de France over and over again.

I always felt at home with you guys. I thank you for the warmth,
love and kindness you both showed me over many years.

I will never forget Troy's smile and I can still hear his laughter!

See you very soon Lorna. Sending my love to you Carol, Chuck, Marsha, Adam and Alex.


Christopher Payne said...

Troy and I were both Assistant Managers for The Home Depot's Call Center, and one of our associates was fighting cancer. The Call Center decided to do some fund raising for her. I decided to agree to shave my head bald if we raised enough money. Troy was the only Assistant Manager to agree to also shave his head. He didn't hesitate for a second, and a day later we were both bald as the day we were born. I wish I still had pictures of that. That associate beat her cancer, btw.

That is how I will choose to remember Troy....selfless and he did so with a joyful heart. God be with his family and other friends, and may the Lord be of great comfort to everyone.

-Christopher Payne

Edward Gallegos said...


Mt. Palomar training rides will never be the same....

Edward Gallegos

Darryl MacKenzie said...

Troy was one of those people who you were very glad to unexpectedly meet while pedaling, at the coffee shop or the bike store. If there were 10 others around, Troy would give and get the first ‘Hello’.
He was very well liked and welcomed at my Stationary Trainer classes, his first in 2006, and his most recent in the fall of 2009.
He always seemed to take adversity in stride and meet it with a big smile. Even when he qualified for Track Elite Nationals and was doored by a kid about 11 days before and was not able to compete, he was positive.
I received my Shelf Sitter cyclists (see picture) from Troy and Lorna. They have always been a magnet for attention in my home. A male and female helmet-wearing cyclist couple with matching kits, they put a smile on everyone’s face. It will be tough to look at them in the future without thinking of the tragic end to Troy’s life. Troy will be missed.

Unknown said...

To Troys family I am deeply sorry for your loss. Lorna you were spoken of frequently by Troy in the highest regard. With Troy always out riding his bike and enjoying all of his hobies and of course working his crazy long work schedule, you two must of had to schedule your fun time together each week.
Troy and I were very close. Both working in the San Diego Market. What an adventurer Troy was! He had a wonderful group of friends in the cycling world- a second family! Troy spoke often of these great amigos of his!
Well just so you know his 3rd family, Home Depot, appreciated all of his efforts he put into our Company. Troy was our Pac South Region's Flooring Expert! Troy was also our reports and Excel expert. I dont know what I will do with out Troy as reference or Encyclopedia for my flooring and computer needs.
I wanted to share with you the one thing Troy and I shared in common. Watches! We would always check out what watch we had on that day. I could always tell when he was wearing a new watch, because he would hold his wrist up as he walked up to me.. Troy turned me on to Invicta Watches. I now have a nice collection of them. I will think of Troy when I wear my Invicta Watches. I will miss his phone call to share with me that a certain watch just showed up on sale and what website to go to.
I woul like leave you now with these words: I was blessed to have him as a friend and as a co-worker and I will miss him and think of him often.
I know we all have thought about our last time with Troy. Mine was a week ago Friday. He drove me up to Westminster to pick up a door for a client. We had lunch at IN N OUT-he had his usual animal style hamburger- he loved that mustard cooked into the bun- we then went to deliver the door to our client and spent 1/2 a day together. We dont spend much time in the field together so this day was unusual and nice. I will remember my last day with Troy, I just cant believe it will be my last.
One last thing Lorna that I want to share with you and your family. Last Friday after we learned of this horrible accident, I received countless number of phone calls and emails with well wishes for Troy. My voicemail filled up with Home Depot Associates and Managers, and Service Providers all calling me to see how I was doing and wanting to share stories they had with Troy and how saddened they were to hear the news. All day Saturday and Sunday the phone calls continued. Today on Monday the barrage of calls continued. Please know that Troy touched many people with in the Home Depot Family. I wish you could hear all the wonderful comments about your Husband. You would be so PROUD!
The best thing for me was to see Johnny Koopman last Friday. I wanted him to hear from me and the news traveled so quickly that he heard with in the hour it took me to get to his house. We chatted about our good memories of Troy and it was very powerful therapy for both of us. Also Donna Smithy - one of Troys long time friends from our call center called me and she spent an hour with me on the phone telling me of her great memories with Troy. She really helped me last Friday! I cant thank her enough for her phone call.
Troy was loved by many and a part of many families obviously. My thoughts and prayers are with your Lorna, Troys Brother and Sisters and Family and each of you Cycling buddies. So many people to keep his Spirit alive!
And no, I didnt know Troy was a Lead Singer in a Band! Looked like he was having a blast singing on that Rock Band-- But how did he sound?
I will miss you Troy!! Love your HD Friend, Brian Dufault

Chuck Bramwell said...

Chuck's really good friend, Brent Thomas, wrote:

"Consider that you received a phone call from the other side that informed you that you were about to die.

At the end of the phone conversation, you were permitted to make one phone call - who would it be to:

(i) Your wife or family who you love so dearly;

(ii) your friends who you have spent so much time and enjoyment with;

(iii) those who don't believe in an afterlife - to warn them of the journey you are about to take and that will take in the future"

Chuck Bramwell said...

Jack Cox wrote:

"Dear Chuck,
Please know that you, Carol, Lorna and family are in our prayers. Troy was too young to go home.

jack & Patty"

Paige said...

I was Troy's hair stylist for 7 plus years (with a small break in between because I wasn't cutting hair for a short time, but Troy was so loyal that when I came back to it he showed up on my door right away and I was so happy to have him back in my chair) We would talk and talk. I had to book out 2 appointment spots just so we could spend enough time complaining about Obama, talking about remolding ideas, giving me landscaping advice, new gadgets on the market, vacations, work, the damn seals that need to go away on the Children's Beach and the list goes on. I can't believe he's gone. I keep thinking the news was a mistake and it's not the Troy I know. I was supposed to call him for his appointment the week he died and I should be seeing him this week. I will always regret not calling him in time. Which brings me to-- please don't blame me for his high-lights;) (sorry Troy if you're reading this- you know I love you!) He really loved those highlights. He explained to me what he wanted, "very chunky, like fingers coming down over my head and as white blonde as you can get." He asked what I thougt of them and I knew he liked them that way so I gently said "well..... they aren't natural looking" and he replied "I don't care if people know I get highlights, I don't care what people think!" So I said "well then let's keep doing what you like" and so we did. The last time I saw Troy he shared some wild stories with me and I was really looking forward to the follow up to it at his next appointment. I guess I'll never hear the rest of it now. I always looked forward to seeing him.
I will always remember his smiling face. Troy was the kindest man, so willing to help anyone in need. He was generous and caring. He never spoke an ill word of anyone. He had many hobbies and friends. He had a wonderful marriage and loved Lorna very much. He told me he'd only marry once so any issues that would come their way they'd have have to work out because he'd never get a divorce. He was extremly loyal and devoted to Lorna, his friends cycling and Home Depot, even to his hair stylist. I will always picture his smiling face and hear his calm voice and warm laugh. Even when I'd talk to him on the phone I could tell in his voice he was smiling. I am so sorry for you loss Lorna. Troy was a great man and he will be deeply missed and never replaced.

Unknown said...

Troy greeted me with a warm friendly demeanor and helpful attitude when I joined the San Diego cycling community. He made me want to be part of this community. His love of the sport and cheerfulness were contagious. We will miss his kind smile and friendship. My heart goes to his family and friends.

Mike Garrison said...

I have known Troy for over 15 years through our Home Depot exeriences. Troy was always there to help wheather it was with the computer or just true grunt labor. He always had a smile on his face and energetic in what he did. We will all miss our friend and remember the good times.

Lorna, remember you have friends that loved Troy and his spirit will live on. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I will not be in town for the rememberance but I will be there in spirit.

Gary Phillips said...

I only had the privilege of sharing a few memorable days with Troy during some epic Saturday Centuries, but even with the limited amount of time that I knew him, I knew he was a special person. My heart goes out to his entire family for this tragic loss. Troy was a person who was full of energy and life and he knew how to enjoy the time he had here. To watch him play the role of “Grim Reaper” along side some of the world's best cyclists at the KOM on Stage 7 of last year’s Tour of California was a treat I'll never forget.

Mike Berry said...

I met Troy a few years ago while
spinning up Kitchen Creek Rd
in East San Diego County. A few of
us had stopped for a break and Chuck and Troy stopped and chatted for a while. If I remember correctly, we all later met at the Laguna Lodge for chocolate milk.

The Kahlers said...

Troy, We are going to miss you! Our hearts are heavy. You touched our lives. You will be missed. You and Lorna, Chuck and Carol, and your families are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

Love and Hugs,
Robert and Jill, Roxy & Raquel Kahler

Lynne Billie said...

I remember rding Death Valley by Moonlight with Troy. The moon was full and bright, the weather perfect, we were flying like we had wings. It is one of my favorite memories.

There are no words to express such saddness, Troy will be in the hearts of many including me. Chuck and Carol & family, I pray that God will give you the strength to bear such a loss.

Unknown said...

I met Troy (and Chuck) on the Dolomites Tour last fall. Troy was just about the friendliest, pleasantest guy I ever much. I didn't get to ride with him much as he was quite a monster on the bike, but it was fun hanging out with him and Chuck in the hotel lobbies trying to find a wifi signal. It is hard to think of him not being around any more.

Andy Hampsten said...

I meet Troy riding our bikes in Italy, which for most bike riders is an ideal setting. However riding over huge passes with sometimes wet and cold weather people's personalities come to the surface. Troy would always shine no matter how hard the riding was, he added to everyone's enjoyment of the stunning beauty of the mountains. He was one of the people that made good things a bit brighter, and I am very sad to know the people he cared for the most can now longer enjoy his company.

Andy Hampsten

Unknown said...

My sister and I met Lorna and Troy through Team in Training more than ten years ago. Relatively new to cycling, I didn't ride with Troy much - I wasn't in his league, but he never made me feel anything but good about being on a bike. He encouraged Lorna so lovingly as she logged the miles it would take to complete her first century. Folks encouraging us newbies are VERY special and hold a place in our hearts – FOREVER. It takes lots of love and patience and persistence to help us on that journey. I watched Troy help many along the way, with a huge heart, encouraging words and always a smile. I'm no longer a newbie; I try to work with those new to cycling with the same patience and openness Troy possessed, passing on what I have learned about heart and commitment and believing in oneself. I thank Troy for his enthusiasm, his commitment to the sport and all the worthy causes he supported with his legs and heart out on the road. I wish for his family and friends that they can find some peace and comfort in knowing just how many lives he touched. Pass it on, people. Love never dies. We love you, Lorna!

Lori Goldman said...

I have spotted memories of times with you guys over the years but the ones that came to mind these last few days are from years ago more towards when we first met. I had just gotten back into cycling and returned to Team in Training for the 2001 Tour de Tucson century ride. My then boyfriend, Tim had traveled out to Tucson for the event weekend and to do the ride, but of course had no interest in riding with me! He was tall and strong and an accomplished cyclist, and then sure enough we came accrossed you and Troy there in the hotel lobby. Well those two instantly became peas in a pod and went out and had a great ride together,... and then it began! After that, I remember when we got home it was like every weekend: Troy and I are going to this ride, and Troy and I are going to that ride. We're doing the "Ride around the Bear" in Big Bear, and Troy and I are going up to Sea Otter Classic in Monterey... for the weekend!!! And I thought: that TROY RAFFELSON - he's stealing my boyfriend!!! I remembered we laughed and laughed about that! But Hey! What big, strong, fast cycling dude wouldn't want to ride with Troy Raffelson?? Right? They'd have to be crazy! Everyone who came in contact with Troy instantly wanted more. More of his charm, more of his wit, more of his goodness that came from within. He was a blessing.
Please know that my heart and my love goes out to you and Chuck and your families. With love, Lori

melissa coronado said...

Troy, you will be missed by all of your Home Depot family.

Clem Bartolai said...

As we go through life we meet many people that we admire in one way or another. Then there are those we never meet but we come to admire because of all the good things we here about them. I feel a real loss at never having had the opportunity to have met Troy. He certainly leaves what will be a lasting legacy of wonderful friendships and associations.

Stephanie Bleecher said...

My husband, Rich, and I had the privilege of riding with Troy on our bike trip to Italy last summer. I loved that he was a huge track sprinter guy trying - successfully - to remake himself into a climber. He was one of the rare people who equaled my passion for riding long, climbing mountains and learning about the history of the sport. Plus he made me feel like I was cool and funny to be around on the trip. I felt a deep connection to Troy and thought we would be friends forever. I feel so sorry for Lorna and Troy's family - he was a treasure.

Chuck Bramwell said...

Pete Tomaino wrote:

"Subject: A giant of a cyclist

I never met Troy Raffelson but as a 79 year old cyclist
I can say that I have the upmost respect and admiration
for him. Cyclists like the likes of Troy are truly a credit to the
the sport of cycling. My heart felt sympathy goes out to
his family and friends."

Anonymous said...

I went out on the CdCdMontventoux website today(usually check for updates every January, not sure how I missed Troy in '10)but I was excited to see someone else from El Cajon joined the club.
Out here in the East County we probably shared the road climbing Dehesa or Old HWY 80 which was my training ground for Ventoux.
I googled just to see if Troy...and it was with saddness I read of his passing.Damn! I have heard it said, Heaven is in the clouds, it takes a climbers legs!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like my cousin was a great guy.I knew him well while we were growing up.Had not talked to him since 1984 yet feel saddened knowing we would of liked each other alot growing older! JC