This time last year was a real low point in the history of Planet X. On March 21st 2011 Ray Eden died at Doncaster Royal Infirmary having sustained serious head injuries in an incident near his home three days before.
Needless to say, the mood at Planet X HQ during the days and weeks after this tragic incident was solemn. There was none of the excitement, buzz, banter and noise that characterises our office and warehouse atmosphere that Ray himself had played such a big part in creating when he worked here.
For those that aren't fortunate enough to know who Ray was, let's just say he was larger than life. It's a cliche but one that's hard to avoid. Big lungs, big legs, big heart.
Ray was a professional road racer for Planet X. He is perhaps best know as the winner of the RTTC National 100-mile Championship in 1995, which he achieved at only his second attempt. He also represented Great Britain four times in 1995, including his legendary performance in the Irish Ras stage race. He turned up in Ireland on the Sealink ferry with his bike and rucksack and… that was it. He still spanked their arses. He won a stage and the points jersey. No nonsense was our Ray.
Ray actually started his bicycle racing career on mountain bikes with the infamously fast 'n' furious races at Eastway in London, where he'd turn up on his bike - after a full day's work as a city courier - and proceed to stomp everyone else into the ground.
So to celebrate the all too brief but nonetheless amazing life of Ray we organised the Ray Eden Memorial Weekend. Taking place in the Peak District over the weekend of March 24-25th it was two days of road riding, mountain biking, partying, mickey-taking and remembering. Taking time away from other things to remember why we love cycling.
Generally a weekend of living life to the full in a way that we hope Ray would have appreciated.
Our own racing legend and Macclesfield local Mark Lovatt set the route around his local roads, and was taking no prisoners on a classic Lovatt Rivet Ride. "How do you go so fast for an old bloke?", Ryan Mullen, our Junior TT legend, was hear to cry, as he was dropped off the back, again, on one of Marks "easy" rides, a mere 75miles, with an average speed of 18.4 mph!
5 April 2012