Bob Barabe

By Rob Barabe

It was the summer of 1991, the summer before I was going to head off to college. My Father asked me and one of my high school friends if we could drive his support vehicle for his one day solo trip across the state of Wisconsin. My Dad was 43 years old when he came up with this grand plan. My mom and I  thought he was nuts but he was determined to check it off his list of things he wanted to do. When he would get passionate about something it remained his focus and it would drive him to do the best he could at it. I think this is one of the traits I have received from my father. At the time, I didn’t really think about what an accomplishment it would be for a man in his 40s to bike solo across the state in less than a day. That day I was more interested in what time we would be back in Hudson so I could go chase after girls. But as I sit here now and think about that day I am completely in awe of what he was able to do.

It is hard to explain how my Father became so passionate about cycling. I think a lot of it had to do with wanting to challenge and test his body to the limits and cycling certainly could do that for him. I think of all of the time he spent reading up on tactics, off-season training, lifting weights, training rides and eating healthy so he could maximize his results. Cycling did not have an off season for him. His cycling passion became his obsession.

He loved the competition and the brotherhood he shared with all cyclists. He especially loved his Big Ring Flyer teammates. At some of the races I have attended since his passing, fellow cyclists have told me they have felt his presence when they didn’t have anything left in the tank and he helped push them to the finish. I believe it, that’s for sure. I know I feel his presence every day and all that he taught me will forever help guide any decision I have in life.

I will leave you with my Father’s favorite poem by Dylan Thomas - Do not go gentle into that good night. This poem accurately reflects his mindset when it came to cycling and his life. We all have a limited amount of time on this earth so he chose to always push himself to the limits to be the best he could be.

 Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.