>> Thursday, September 08, 2011
This affected me more than I expected, so I'm sorry if I stumble on my words in this post.
Denny Johnson, a local "racing buddy" of mine, was out mountain biking in Colorado about a month ago. He was going downhill pretty fast when his front tire blew out. (This is how I've understood it, anyway.) Denny flew over the handlebars and was seriously injured. We kept getting updates through his Facebook page, and everyone was optimistic.
Then the updates slowed down.
Finally, on early Monday morning, we got the post that we feared. Denny had passed away due to a worsening brain injury and brain infection.
I really didn't know Denny that well. We met about 18 months ago, and we've chatted at local races. I found out he was a camera buff, and we talked cameras on a number of occasions. I got to meet and talk to his wife about a year ago. Last summer, we did a long open water swim (with Julia and the gang) around Square Lake. He was really just a casual acquaintance. But when I told Pharmie that he had passed away, I was crying. (I'm actually getting teary as I write this...) It's obvious that he meant more to me than I thought.
Denny was wearing a Road ID, which made contacting his family a lot easier. (Again, this is how I've heard things, but I'm sorry if some details aren't right.) He also had an "end of life" health care directive that was crystal clear. His sister-in-law wrote "He seemed to have written it with this situation in mind." (If you want more details, here's an article with a bit more.) So I just want to tell everyone to be safe, wear your Road IDs, and make sure your family knows what you want them to do if you're ever in a situation like this. These are hard things to think about, but a few of these things made this horrible situation a bit less stressful on Denny's already distraught family.
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Denny ALWAYS had his camera. I mean, he could really rival ME as far as taking his camera everywhere. Here's a photo (one of many from a huge album) that he snapped at a "Kona send-off party" for one of our local speedsters about a year ago:
Me and a bunch of local speedy women
Before the 2010 Minneapolis Duathlon
Starting the bike at the Mpls Du
All smiles and just a few feet from the finish of the 2011 Get Lucky 7K
Again, all smiles as he's about to finish the 2011 LTF Mpls Triathlon
Denny, I'm sorry that you won't be able to become an Ironman this weekend in Wisconsin, but I'm sure you'll manage to fit in a swim / bike / run on top of the clouds now-and-then.....