June 13, 2011
The race orientation is a standard part of RAAM. It’s at this gathering of all of the racers, crews, officials, dignitaries and invited guests that the riders are introduced, any updates to the logistics and rules are updated and where RAAM honors its own by inducting someone or some ones into the RAAM Hall of Fame.
Surprisingly, 5-time winner Jure Robic was not yet a member of that elite group. Robic took his final win at last year’s event, and then just two months later was killed in a tragic head-on collision between his mountain bike and a car.
Accepting the honor in his behalf was his long-time friend, crew-member and 2010 crew chief, Matjaz Planinsek. Planinsek, who is here this year as a RAAM official, was visibly moved as RAAM Race Director George Thomas presented him with Robic’s Hall of Fame plaque. Planinsek spoke of how honored he believed his departed friend would have been, and of how RAAM was Robic’s life. The crowd demonstrated its tremendous respect for Robic with a standing ovation, followed by a moment of silence that actually lasted for several minutes as video of Robic’s RAAM exploits were shown on a big screen.
Few sports figures ever earn the huge legendary status of Jure Robic. Huger still is the void left within the Ultra Marathon Cycling world created by the premature loss of the late, great Jure Robic. Godspeed Jure.