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Peter McLennan - A tribute

Peter McLennan

  - December 2009 -

Dear ACTVCC members,

It is our very sad duty to report this tragic event:

Last Thursday morning (Christmas Eve) we lost one of our most commited clubmates in a fatal accident. Peter McLennan was struck by a power boat on the Murray River at Casey's Bend near Echuca in Victoria at around 9:00 am while swimming with other family members. His injuries were severe and have proven fatal, although every attempt was made to save his life at the scene and en route to specialist care. He was taken from the Murray by helicopter to Royal Melbourne Hospital where surgeons were unable to revive him. His loss is keenly felt, and devastating for members of his family who will receive any assistance or support we can offer.

The following news item from Canberra Times (26 Dec) refers to the incident:

" Speedboat kills ACT man in Murray
DAVID STOCKMAN
26 Dec, 2009 11:10 AM

A 45-year-old Curtin man has died after a speedboat hit him as he swam in the Murray River on Thursday. The Canberra man was flown from the scene near Moama to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, but died later that day. Police interviewed a 24-year-old Victorian man over the incident yesterday after a public appeal for him to come forward.

The Devon Meadows man contacted police shortly afterwards and was interviewed and released a short time later. The incident occurred between 9am and 9.20am, with witnesses reporting hearing a thud and seeing blood in the water. The speedboat failed to stop after the initial incident at Caseys Bend, between Moama and Echuca.Shortly after the incident, the man was flown 200km to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he was operated on, but he died about 3.40pm.

His name has not been disclosed. It is believed the man's family had travelled from Sydney and Canberra to spend Christmas together in the Victorian town of Echuca. Members of the man's family are believed to have witnessed the tragedy. Police said they were continuing investigations into the death and would prepare a report for the coroner."

Clearly there are many more details to be learned and disseminated. An autopsy is in progress and a coronial inquiry may follow. I will endeavour keep you all informed as news comes to hand.

Arrangements will be made for Peter's funeral at Nimmitabel at which ACTVCC members will be active contributors to the ceremonies of the day.


Nick Boylan and Richard Gorrell


Peter McLennan – Tribute to a Full Life
(In response to several requests, here follows the text of Bill Frost's funeral eulogy given at Nimmitabel Community Hall, 31/12/2009)

"It was a sad privilege to deliver a eulogy for Peter McLennan, who packed so much into his short life.

I first met Peter in 1994, when we worked on the same floor in Tuggeranong. Peter had a great sense of humour. He and I joined the ACT Veterans’ Cycling Club together at Queanbeyan. He loved to tell the story of how, three days later, they threw him out for being too young! He had always assumed that a male cycling veteran was 30 years or over and had handed over his form and his money in good faith.

He was always a friendly and welcoming person and it didn’t take long before we were riding at lunch time, then longer rides each week. My first climbs of Mt Ainslie, Black Mountain and Fitz’s Hill were with Peter and we did Fitz’s Challenge together.

Unlike me, Pete was a fearless descender. He used to back off the other side of Fitz’s to get a little more launch speed at the top, then try and hit 95 kph on the way down. One time he and I compared notes after descending Mt Ainslie in the rain. I was probably a bit annoyed I had exceeded 40 kph. He was a bit annoyed he hadn’t exceeded 90 kph!

Peter finally joined the ACT Vets in 1998. He cut a distinctive figure, racing with an original red 1980s stack hat and an Allen carbon frame that was 3 sizes too large and he had paid a small fortune for, stuck in a bidding war at the police stolen property auctions. He quickly became interested in pursuing a criterium facility and to further this, formed a group composed of ACT Vets, Canberra Cycles, Triathletes, CORC, PedalPower and speed skaters and wrote a submission that quickly grew to 15 pages. He organised lobbying meetings with every relevant state or federal politician and pressed them for a suitable venue. After one of these meetings, with Wilson Tuckey, who thought we could perhaps use a bike path somewhere, some of us questioned whether we really had a chance. Completely undeterred, Peter decided to enhance the submission with a bit more marketing. He borrowed the club’s video camera, hired a light plane and with the window open, flew around filming suitable venues. In those post 9/11 times, it wasn’t long before the AFP asked the control tower to radio the pilot and demand that he stop flying slow circles around Government House!

Eventually, the Stromlo facility was built and if you drive by and see thousands of mountain bikers, hundreds of road cyclists or parents cycling with their young children, then this is as Peter McLennan envisaged it.

Peter also developed and maintained a software package that holds details of riders and races and automates a lot of the event management tasks. This is used by three Canberra clubs. Results are generated from a web site called raceforever.com and I think this phrase typifies Peter McLennan’s approach to life.

Race forever Pete!

Bill Frost, December 2009.

Postscript - I’d also like to share a story that shows Peter’s ‘never give up’ determination:

Many years ago Peter asked me and another work colleague if we would like to go caving. Anticipating a nice walk looking at bats and glow worms, I agreed. When Peter turned up with a ladder, three sets of coveralls, three hard hats and three miners’ lamps, I wondered if he had the same idea as I did. When we climbed the ladder and reached the start point, he explained that his kids had previously been able to get through a narrow passageway but he had been unable to do so himself. He wanted another try.

I went first and soon reached the narrow part. Then it got narrow; very narrow. I relaxed, exhaled and concentrated on easing my left rib cage through. I then relaxed, exhaled and tried one hip, then the other rib cage and so on. Peter encouraged me but did mention that cave rescue in these circumstances was a little difficult. Eventually I gave up and Peter and Kevin tried, with the same result.

So that was it, I thought . . . But Peter was never one to give into a challenge, so he stripped to his underpants, rubbed Vaseline liberally front and back and made it through. And back!

This only left us to find the ladder. I won’t even describe the sensation of keeping your hips, arms and torso firmly on the ledge, legs dangling in the darkness, swinging back and forward with the toes to try and locate the top of the extension ladder. Knowing how high you were above ground but also knowing that it was necessary to drop a few cm from the ledge to position yourself on the top rung of the ladder. Trying not to think of the consequences if we missed, we all managed it successfully.

Needless to say, when Peter mentioned his next expedition which involved abseiling, crawling through a passageway that was completely underwater and typically took all day to travel 300 metres, I regretfully declined!"

 

Peter's funeral was held in Nimmitabel on 31 Dec 2009. It was attended by many of the ACTCC club members and others from the ACT cycling community who knew him as a friend, competitor and enthusiastic volunteer. Over 80 vet club members on their bikes and dressed in club outfits preceded the funeral vehicles to the cemetery just outside the town and then formed a guard of honor either side of the access road to the grave side.

 


 

Tributes to Peter

Along with members of the ACTVCC and the wider cycling community in Canberra I was shocked to learn of Peter's death. On behalf of club members and myself I want to pass on condolences to Peter's family at their great loss.

The cycling community mourns his death as well. Peter was the ultimate clubman. We all saw his contribution to race meets both as a rider and constant helper with the Rider Management System that he developed and maintained for the club. But beyond that he was always thinking of ways to progress cycling and in particular race cycling. The Gunning Two Day saw its greatest success when Peter directed and promoted the race. Over 150 participants and some great racing resulted from the detailed way he approached the event.

Perhaps his greatest legacy though will be the Stromlo Criterium Circuit. Peter had a great part in lobbying and planning for this facility that all Canberra cycling clubs now enjoy. Our Vets races there will not be the same though without Pete attacking again, and again!

I met Pete almost as soon as I joined the club 6 years ago. First I met him as a racer but later as a fellow committee member. It was Peter who suggested to me that I might think about a committee role and it was Pete who suggested I follow him directing his pet event at Gunning. His mentoring and advice will be sorely missed by me and many others. I spent a lot of time riding with Pete at races and socially. Even on social rides he gave it everything. And this is what I will miss.

Rob Diamond
President ACTVCC


I am deeply shocked to hear of the tragic death of Peter McLennan. When I joined the Vets Peter took a fatherly interest in making sure that I, as I am sure he did with many other newcomers to the club, enjoyed the cycling, did it safely and importantly made new friends. Through the Vets, please pass on my sincere condolences to Peter's family."

Peter Power


"I 'googled' Peter's name along with Stromlo and this one came up:
http://www.raceforever.com/Stromlo/CyclingAward/Peter%20McLennan%20ACTVETS.jpg

It details Peter's more than five years of close involvement, with others, in getting the Stromlo cycling facility from a germ of an idea (originally to be at Yarramundi) to completion, and to something we all now benefit from. While others stepped into the lime-light at the opening of the centre, Stephen Hodge certainly acknowledged Peter's major efforts and contributions when he made his speech at the opening. I remember Peter, who was standing well back, reservedly nodding his head at the mention of his name.
We will miss him personally, miss him as a strong competitor across B, C and D Grades (I always loved beating him especially, and he in beating me), miss him as a great club worker, but most of all we will miss him as someone who loved his cycling with a passion only matched by his passion for the 'Canberra Vets' club.
Finally, my lasting memory of Peter will be the race this year in early July at the Uriarra course when we both made a very early break-away with Rick Fitch. Fitchy didn't last too long and despite my strong protestations, Peter encouraged me to keep the pressure on and we were still away at the second turn. I realised further complaining was not going to work so we knuckled down to a 40 kilometers breakaway duo. At 150 metres from the finish line, I told Peter he better let me have the victory as it was my birthday that week. He obliged and let me take the lead 70 metres out, but then I heard that 'puffing billy' train blowing stream off my right shoulder. Pete was sprinting, making me earn my birthday victory. I won by a quarter wheel, but nearly threw up just over the line!
Sadly, I have not had, nor will I get the opportunity to return the favour.
Vale Peter McLennan."

Alex O'Shea


Quite apart from the countless contributions Peter generously gave the club in his life time, I pay a special tribute to the dignified attitude he took when losing the election for President two years ago. He graciously accepted the members’ decision and unselfishly maintained his never-ending contributions up to his very last days. I respectfully salute a truly great human being.

Aurelio


"I have just arrived back home from Xmas with my family and like everyone else am extremely shocked and saddened to hear of Peter's passing. I don't think I've ever come across anyone more passionate about his sport than Peter nor have I come across anyone in any of the sports I've been involved in more willing to support and help his fellow participants.
I've raced with Peter for 3 years and could recount several stories similar to Alex O'Shea's. My most memorable though and the one which I think best marks the character of the man was a race out at an even windier than usual Gunning. I hadn't raced for a while and I struggled to stay with the bunch even with the howling gale at our backs. At the turn around in Breadalbane I was inevitably dropped by the bunch. I was a good 20 - 30 metres off the back when Peter saw where I was, dropped back and rode me back onto the bunch. There was the usual nagging in my ear that many others will remember and as usual at the time I just wanted it to stop. But also as usual, it worked. It got me back onto the bunch, kept me there and gave us something to laugh and jibe each other about after. If memory serves me correctly, I think that was the day when Peter went on to break away with another rider (David Rowe, I think it was) and at the end insisted that the other rider take the win.
I've worked with Peter for the last 3 years and I just can't imagine what its going to be like to not have him around. He became a good friend. We didn't always see eye to eye at work or out on the course but I always knew his intentions were right and that he had a heart of gold. I'm going to miss him and those Monday morning post race analysis meetings terribly. My sincerest and heart felt condolences to his family, especially to his children."

Greg Shaw


"I was very saddened to hear of Peter's death. He was a great club man and will be sorely missed by his friends. My condolences to his family and fellow club members."

Howard Galloway


"As a mark of respect and because we are proud to say we have enjoyed being part of Pete's cycling life, Anita and I would very much like to take part in the procession at the funeral."

Mark and Anita Taylor


Peter McLennan made a difference to cycling in the ACT, was instrumental in building the Vets' club and was an informal coach to so many newcomers to the sport. Pete made me feel so very welcome when I joined the club and gave me much tactical advice. I enjoyed racing when Pete was there (which for him was most of the time). I knew an event would run smoothly and that results would be out promptly along with all manner of statistical information. But the best was racing Pete. He would keep the bunch talking and he knew the benefit of working together yet he would keep you guessing as to when he would sprint. The news of Peter's death has shocked me beyond belief. I am profoundly saddened and send my deepest sympathy to his family. Cycling in the ACT has lost one of its 'greats'."

Henry Thomson, 299


"Pauline and I were shocked to hear of Peter's death. The ultimate club man, he did a huge amount of work for the club, he was welcoming to all and a man who loved his cycling. We are not able to get to the funeral but our thoughts are with Pete's family at this difficult time."

John & Pauline Thorn


"I too have vivid memories of the "puffing Peter" who could launch a spectacular attack (after his customary three or four feints during the race) 600 metres or more from home. On this day at Stromlo he was so totally committed to victory that both the pain and the oxygen deficit were clearly audible to those of us in the stands. The opposition appeared helpless in his wake, but Pete rode himself to jelly as he gasped and grunted over the line, only to realise he had gone a lap early. I had to laugh, as I am sure he did when he could breathe again, for I had done exactly the same the previous weekend.

Last lap or not, his total commitment was typical, and the Peter McLennan I knew was always enthusiastic and an optimist. And I never knew him to be other than an honest and generous competitor, a true sportsman in the old-fashioned use of the term. Our loss is great."

Richard Gorrell


"Peter was a mover & shaker within bikedom. The crap-est seems to happen to the best-est. No sense in it?"

Ian Downing



From CCC, via Canberra Roadies Site:

"Peter, whilst not a member of any CA affiliated Club in the ACT, would be well known to many in the Canberra Cycling community. He was a very proud and committed member of the ACT Veterans Cycling Club and a strong advocate for Cycling in the ACT over many years. On behalf of the Canberra Cycling Club and its members I wish to express deep sorrow and sadness at Peter's passing.

Jason Parkes, President , Canberra Cycling Club (who will represent CCC on Thursday).


And from the Vikings' Camp:
"Canberra Cycling has lost a gem right there. Pete was always only too ready to help whenever I had a question and would always go out of his way to dig up queries from the RMS for me, as well as offer some great advice on race directing when I was fleshing out details for the Masters Champs. Rest in Peace mate. My sincere condolences go out to those he left behind."

J. Young


"This is a real tragedy. OK, I might have had a few run-ins with Pete in the past over different views about racing culture, but he did a heck of a lot for cycling in the ACT. Whereas too many of us just have strong views, he backed his up with prodigious effort. For that he will be sorely missed. Very sorry to hear about the loss."

Simon Niemeyer


I am deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic accident which has claimed the life of Peter McLennan. Peter was a great asset to cycling in the ACT and was a mountain of the strength for the ACTVCC. The ease at which the ACTVCC runs races, and the excellent and timely results were from the efforts of Peter and his Rider Management System (RMS). Although our opinions regarding bicycle racing often differed, Peter was definitely his own man and worked prodigiously for the benefit of the ACTVCC and cycling in the ACT, Stromlo Forest Park being an ongoing testament to Peter amongst others.
>
> Peter was very gracious, professional and passionate about cycling. Who can ask for more? I personally, and the Vikings Cycle Club, mourn the loss of Peter. We will all miss his advice and input on the Vikings forum. Most sincere condolances to Peter's family".

Simon Claringbold


"Very sad news, I too had similar experiences with Peter. He put a hell of a lot his time into the sport we all love. Condolences to his family and friends."

Tony O'Connor


"I was shocked and devastated to hear the news of Pete. I remember the early days when I first started riding track at Queanbeyan and was quite new to the club. The only roadies at this time were David Hope, myself and Pete. At this time I was riding F grade and told Pete that I would not put myself up to E unless I was made to go up. He looked at me and had a big grin on his face and said 'You shouldn't say that to the handicapper!'. The following week I remember I had been put up to E grade. I also have fond memories of the handicap at Queanbeyan: Pete used to always turn up just in time for this race. We were all stuffed, having just raced the 10 lapper, and like clock work Pete would turn up just as we were lining up on the fence - legs fresh as daisies. I will miss you Pete."

Ally Roche


"The ACT Cycling Federation passes on to Peter's family its sincere condolences at this time and
wishes to record its appreciation of Peter's contribution to cycling in the ACT. His work in relation to Stromlo Forest Park and his enthusiasm generally for the sport of cycling will be a lasting legacy and for many people long lasting and fond memories of him."

Malcolm Paterson
Secretary, ACTCF


"I am unable to attend Peter’s funeral, but would appreciate my condolences being conveyed to his family. His passion and commitment will be greatly missed by our cycling community, but his work on our behalf will be a lasting legacy."

Jim Veal


"Trish, Kayla and I were shocked to hear about Pete and our hearts and thoughts go out to his family and friends. Pete loved his cycling with a passion and was no doubt one of the most dedicated contributors and supporters of the sport I have met, not only with the Vets but the whole Canberra cycling community. Although Pete was not a member of the Vikings, he helped us out on many occasions at race meets, with setting up the Race Management System and providing great advice. Nothing was too much trouble for Pete.

You may have heard some of us referring to Pete as “The Hat”. This nick name came about many years ago at a Vets crit. He turned up for B Grade realising he had left his race helmet at home. Moments later after rummaging through his car he rolled up to the start line wearing a 80s style Red Stack Hat. Gold!!! I am also going to miss, as I am sure many of you will, the tap on the back and those words “come on, lets hit em”.

Mark Stevenson (VCC)


"I never raced with Peter, but many times his determination served as inspiration. My favourite memory of Peter comes from Apollo Road the first time I raced there. I'd been reduced to walking in the later part of the climb, only to hear: "If you can walk that fast, you can bloody well ride the rest of the way" as Peter went past. Cycling has lost a stalwart. There might have been times when Peter's approach to an issue was at odds with others' but he always had an approach and he always gave his best. We are all better off for knowing Peter and for the opportunity to work with him. Thanks for everything Puffing Pete!"

Peter Leach


"Pete was unfailingly friendly and helpful to me and I frequently sought his advice on race conditions, tactics and other cycling maters. I enjoyed some great races with him, exchanging comments as we rolled through the pack. If fit enough I would try to get away from him on the hills, knowing that was the only way I could beat him. Early this year I had a lead of a couple of hundred metres with a kilometre to go, but it was insufficient to keep out Pete's steam train finish. He was truly one of nature's gentlemen and I will miss him.

Rad Leovic, our octogenarian member, will be unable to attend Pete's funeral and does not have a computer, so has asked me to pass on his tribute to Pete. Rad met Pete about 25 years ago when Pete used to collect his trash pack from his home as a part-time job. When Rad joined the Vets Club a few years ago he was delighted when Pete reminded him of these earlier meetings. Rad was new to vets cycle racing and Pete took a close interest in his welfare, and continued to do so. After the last race Pete chased after Rad, concerned that he was not going to attempt to cycle home."

Bob Harlow



"I am a long time friend of Peter's, having known him from primary school, high school, sea scouts, and living with his family before I left Canberra for Sydney. Much of this time was spent riding with Peter around Canberra, down to the lake or going on bike camping trips. I am also part of a riding group in Sydney. My wife and I will be attending the funeral in Nimmitabel on Dec 31st and I would appreciate if I could participate in any memorial ride that may be happening on the day"

Brett Greenwood


"Please extend my heartfelt condolences to Peter's Family. He was a tremendous person who was always very welcoming and helpful to everyone at Vets. It is an absolute tragedy and he will be sorely missed."

Mark Hurwitz


I haven’t been in the club long enough to have known Peter all that well, but was shocked to hear of his tragic death. This year I raced with him quite a bit - first breakaway I ever had was with Peter, and he has helped me back to the bunch on at least one occasion. He was always full of encouragement to me and his commitment to his racing and his club was evident every race day. I can only imagine the deep loss felt by his long time racing buddies, friends and family."

David Stewart-Thomson


"I am utterly devastated by the news of Peter’s death. My sincere condolences go to the McLennan family.

Peter was at virtually every race I ever entered, we shared countless lifts to races and he was always upbeat no matter what was going on in his life. That grin, the chuckle, the leather floppy hat, the mountain of white bread sandwiches for his pre-race meal, the puffing billy sound or snort as he pushed himself to the max during a sprint, the fixation on race statistics, the never-wavering invitations to go on training rides and offers of lifts to races, the encouragement that made me push harder, the occasional hideous mismatch of knicks and jersey colours, the ferrying of Conner and Eilish to school on their bikes, the rushing around Coles Curtin looking for groceries, and the chugging up Adelaide Avenue on his way to work were just some things to remember him by.

If you measured Peter’s cycling ability by just guts and enthusiasm, then he was right up there with Merckx and Armstrong. Although he loved his racing, and probably made at least one attack in every race he ever entered, it was supporting cycling in Canberra and for getting bums on bike seats where he was most passionate. Well before the bushfires of 2003, Peter was out scouring Canberra for sites that could easily be transformed into a criterium circuit. As anyone who reads the Canberra Times readily knows, dealing with the National Capital Authority is not an easy task. I can remember Peter explaining to me how he unsuccessfully tried to convince the folk at the NCA that although the road at Barenjoey Drive would be sealed for bike racing, the ACT cycling community would not be claiming ownership of the land! They couldn’t comprehend that all he wanted was to have a safe course where you wouldn’t have to deal with ACTION buses coming on the circuit every 30 minutes. There was no hidden agenda, but he initially got nowhere. We now know that his idea eventually gained momentum, and we have the magnificent Stromlo circuit as proof of his and many others’ great efforts.

Another of Peter’s great loves was the Gunning two-day tour. His dream was to have every senior rider in NSW turn up, but the reality was different. The problems with differing race licenses, threats from masters clubs to black ban Cycling Australia licence holders who took part, the inability to get the race on the race calendar at the same time each year and troubles with road approvals were too many hurdles to overcome, and much to his dismay the race didn’t even occur this year. Drives with Peter out to Gunning were a great chance to catch up on each other’s families, cycling politics, a review of international cycling events and who was the most recent cycling official somewhere in Australia to “blow a gasket” at him for one of his proposals or actions. No matter what happened in his life, he always was able to retell a story without bitterness, and managed to see the funny side of an incident even in the most dire or bizarre of situations.

Peter had raced in A, B, C and D grades in the time I knew him. Many of his solo attacks didn’t amount to much, and the bunch would enjoy letting him sit off the front to “stew”, but if he was in contention for the sprint or a group breakaway he would always give his all. His most audacious tactic was to call back newer riders to the bunch if the pace was getting too fast but this was much to the ire of the more experienced who knew it was not a club rule but a ploy so he could get back into the bunch. He used to love organising handicap bunches during races, but in addition to yelling out orders was also willing to lead by example.

The last few months were a bit of a purple patch in his racing career, with Peter achieving victories in C and B grades. His June 20 breakaway and second place as described by Alex O’Shea was a testament to his gutsy determination. I was in the chasing bunch, and although we were a complete shambles in terms of organisation, we kept up a solid pace trying to catch the two.

Peter and I began working together in races back in the criterium season of 2000-2001 at Kingston. As members of the Canberra Cycling Club, every week we’d turn up with a new tactic to get a C grade victory (or even a place) in the 12-minutes-plus-three format. One week it would be attack from the gun, next week at about at six minutes, another time it would be in the last lap, and finally after Mark Carter had promoted virtually every other rider up to B grade, we snared success with Peter and Chris Short blocking the bunch to a snail’s pace while I pedalled away to victory. Peter never forgot his magnanimous gesture and always used it as the basis of why I should lead him out for sprints on other occasions.

Dairy Flat was a course that suited us both well and our last ride together there on October 10 as C graders was our most successful. Mark Taylor had taken the early points with a breakaway. We then amassed a few together when we were off the front for about three sprint laps. He was keen stay in the lead for the rest of the race but I strategically “vanished” back to the bunch after one of the sprints to avoid getting a lecture from Peter about the merits of sticking it out in the lead to the end. Peter eventually folded, and the bunch regrouped for the final sprint. I went for a long lead-out knowing Peter would be sitting on my wheel. With the finish in sight and me neck and neck with Steve Schwenke, I imagined Steve thinking, “Ah, I've got Langridge, this win is mine.” This, however, was the point at which Peter applied the after burners and roared past us both. The points tally had Peter first and me second—our greatest ever team effort. An email exchange with Peter after the race read: Yes I owe you one, although I thought we had it sewn up in the two-man team time trial, until you dropped off. Was that a tactical "James Jordan grading move?"

[James is the club handicapper and Peter was referring to the fact that I might have been holding back as not to get noticed by the handicapper.]

We were back out on October 13 for a freezing criterium at Stromlo. Peter had spent half the race off the front but had slowed to walking pace by the time the bunch caught him. On the back straight of the final lap I charged off knowing Peter would get on my wheel. Within seconds he was shouting at me to go faster, which promptly caused me to konk out by the top corner, but he powered on to win by 50m and move straight into B grade.

In B grade he rode courageously in every race during October, November and December 2009, often getting into breaks. He even had the chance to win an A/B combined race but played his hand a little too early in the four-man breakaway. I missed seeing his victory at AGSO but heard the account of how his great cornering and powering up the incline side of the course wore down the opposition to the point only four finished.

The Wheelrace and Bob Kent’s 500th race celebration on December 8th was the last time we spoke. The speech to mark Bob’s career included the total kilometres Bob raced in each grade and the grand total of all kilometres. Older members marvelled at how Peter produced such detailed statistics on Bob’s achievements. Peter just laughed; pointing out it was the data base that did all the work.

Aurelio Biurra mentioned about Peter graciously accepting defeat in the election for president two years ago. He didn’t dwell on the loss but on a number of occasions jokingly quipped, “it wouldn’t have happened if we were in charge!” in reference to minor organisational stuff-ups that occurred within the ACT Veteran’s Cycling Club once in a while. Given that he had sounded me out about my volunteering commitments recently, no doubt he would have started lobbying me again in the new year to support him as secretary as he made another run for the president’s role. There would have been no stopping Peter!

I can’t imagine what it will be like not seeing Peter at races or sharing lifts together. It’s a loss too large to comprehend. Goodbye Peter. It was a wonderful nine-year friendship; never expressed in words until now, but to be treasured forever."

Robert, Mayumi Emma and Geoffrey Langridge


"I have been a bit cut off from news over the Christmas break. When I opened at my e-mail and noticed there were many tributes to Peter McLennan my heart sank as I knew it could only mean one thing. When I read the details of Pete’s tragic accident I was stunned and saddened, particularly for Pete’s family. I last met Peter in the main street of Queanbeyan, just prior to Christmas. He was with his family and they all seemed in great spirits. Although I had not seen Pete for some time, he was his usual friendly and congenial self. I tried to persuade him to ride Queanbeyan track in the new year. Typically, he was interested, despite the fact that he was obviously over committed with cycling events. I cherish the memory of that last conversation and the many times I participated with him in Vets club events. Pete was a first class human being, a real asset to the Vets club and undeserving of the cruel fate that has taken him from us. I wholeheartedly support the suggestions that the club honour Pete’s memory in its racing program."

Graeme O’Neill


I'm very shocked and saddened to hear about the tragic death of Peter. When I went to a race with the vets he was usually there and I would always have a chat because he was friendly and knew what was happening. My thoughts go out to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

Phil Martin #226