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Alan Rosner

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Alan Rosner was an eastern region institution and a very hard working volunteer of cycling who is going to leave a big hole in his place. He died suddenly a few days ago after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer.

In 2007 Alan put on the first Dengie Marshes Tour (or rather he resurrected it), he started with a simple National B on a circuit with the aim of improving it year on year, which he did. This year it was a premier calendar on a route that must have been logistically very difficult to organise. Every time I saw him at races over the last few years he would get out an OS map from his car and show me some new lane or farm track that he had his eye on for the next edition. He took particular pleasure in writing letters to the local council, farmers (who owned the private tracks) and police asking for permission to race, I think he saw it as a sort of game involving excessive politeness. This year's edition was the culmination of all the lessons learnt from previous editions, a lot of hard work and more polite begging letters than ever. I'm sure that if he was able to continue organising the race it would have slowly grown even bigger and spectacular still.

He is one of only a few people that I can squarely place the blame for helping me catch the cycling bug. I first met Alan in 2006 when he helped set up and run the Heron Cyclesport team. He would always be a tireless helper, relentlessly busy looking after us at races and just generally making things easier for us. It was a first for me to be treated like this as I was used to looking after myself, having only been in cycle clubs before. I used to feel guilty about having Alan run around pumping up tyres and fixing bikes for us but I quickly understood that helping out was what gave him pleasure. He would often have to tell us to sit down and relax whilst he sorted out our problems for us.

In 2008 when I was racing with SC Nice in the south of France he drove all the way from Essex to join Adam Norris and I to help us ride a stage race. Like always he came just to help, entirely off his own bat and at his own cost. With someone like Alan there to help join the dots between stages, drive to digs and find out where food was being served you got the chance to relax a bit more and recover, he was a little advantage we had over our rivals. At the finish there was always a chair and your bag waiting for you. You could always get into the zone and concentrate that much easier with Alan around, it was something I always appreciated. Alan did it because he wanted to help, he understood the little differences that make riders perform better. Adam won a stage and the green jersey and I came third overall if memory serves, afterwards he took us both into Cagnes-sur-mer and bought us dinner to celebrate, I think he was even happier with our results than we were.

In 2009 he organised for an Eastern Region team to ride the Tour of Serbia. It turned out to be more than most of us could handle, organisationally we were in trouble having only one following car for the lot of us due to early abandons and riders going home. It was mostly a fun experience though, thanks in part to sharing a car with John Summerhayes and Alan on a road trip all the way from France to Serbia and back again. After that Alan decided that he would concentrate on helping junior and U16 riders instead, mainly by taking them to Belgium so that they could experience real racing first hand.

All the small things count in road cycling, every little 1% here and there adds up to something significant, the aim is to put it all together on race day, roll the dice and see what happens. The thing is that once you get past a certain point in life your circumstances change, priorities change, family, work and so on and on. You can no longer race and train like you used to, you can't be as good as you once were. When that happens most riders continue anyway, stopping and starting again as the years pass but getting ever worse, it's fine I suppose if you still enjoy it. I think Alan realised this and once he had free time again decided to devote himself to those that still had those favourable circumstances, helping create opportunities for those that could really take advantage of them. That and perhaps he just didn't want to end up trundling up and down dual carriageways at 22mph every Sunday much further down the line. Alan spent his time and energy helping keen young riders learn, improve and try to achieve their best, it gave him huge satisfaction. I'm certain that organising the Dengie for the best riders in the country gave him similar feelings, it's not like he stopped cycling, it's just that his priorities changed.

You can't add up every one of those percentage points on your own, you need help putting it all together, why not help someone else do it if you can no longer do it yourself? This I think is what Alan thought. We all know cycle racers need to be selfish to get the best from themselves, perhaps a little selflessness from time to time wouldn't go amiss too? Maybe we owe it to ourselves and to those who helped us.

We need more people like Alan in cycling, I intend to follow in his steps in the future and contribute to the sport, he was an example to us all.

I don't have too many decent photos of Alan, below are the few that I could find:

Alan in Serbia:


Handing up a bottle at the Ken Lush in 2009:


Knowing that this is waiting for you after a race makes you more willing to race to exhaustion:


Alan, myself and John reminiscing on our road trip across Europe to ride the tour of Serbia:

Updated 04-06-2012 at 05:10 PM by David Mclean

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2012 - Meridiana Kamen

Comments

  1. Unregistered's Avatar
    Well done David. A fine tribute to Alan.
    Digby