This summer I've seen quite a few tracks, and met more than the normal share of track directors, coaches, announcers, and other mainstays of track culture. And every time they learn I'm from Minnesota, they ask how Bob is. Everyone knows him. From the guy flipping lap cards at Alpenrose, to Des Dickey hanging out on the infield of the 7-11 Velodrome. This weekend alone, not only did Dale Hughes, the director of the Blooomer Park Velodrome ask about Bob, but Roger Young, here from the ADT Center in LA wanted to know how he was doing. What's the most impressive is not that so many people know Bob, or even that they care enough to ask how he's doing, but it's the sly little smiles that creep across their faces as you talk to them about the state of affairs in Blaine (which is, of course, indelibly tied to the state of affairs of Bob). These people know the icon of Bob Williams, track director extraordinaire, and even if they haven't seen him in years, they carry a certain respect for what he does.
Hopefully Bob will be able to keep involved at the track. There are few as committed to the state of cycling as he is. It's hard for me to fathom how much he puts into not only our velodrome, but the riders who embrace it. It takes a special sort of love for the sport to come out on a hot Saturday afternoon and drive a motorcycle in circles for hours while some kid sits in the draft. I can tell you all, first hand, that Bob possess that passion. Even if Bob needs to bow out of the limelight in Blaine, his influence will continue to be felt at tracks across the nation, and I can only imagine, across the world.
Thanks for everything, Bob. You've made riding the track something unbelievable for me and so many others.