Many people in our community know Mark Gallagher, a long time club member and racer with QCW Cycling, his wife Treacy, and their family. Unfortunately, earlier in August, the Gallagher’s son Luke passed away in a motorcycle accident. He was eighteen.
I (tjkopena) did not know Luke. But I know Mark. He’s the kind of person you can head out with even just once in a blue moon and it’ll be a standout ride from that season which you remember for years to come. As another QCW member said after Mark went out on his own to clean up the Thursday points race course last winter, he’s “a prince with a leaf blower.” Simply put, he’s a kind, great guy who’s done a lot behind the scenes to help out at different races and other community events over the years.
So, I was not surprised for the many people who have been touched by Mark over the years to want to do something for him and the Gallagher family following this tragedy. For those that are interested and able to contribute, there is a GoFundMe campaign collecting donations for the family. Among other things, it will enable Mark to take more time off from work this summer and fall and spend it with his daughter instead.
In addition, QCW Cycling as a club has made a commitment to annual financial support for the Arsenal Crit and First States Cycling’s other projects in Luke’s honor. With that support we’ll be able to continue conducting our late summer criterium as a very affordable event focused on beginners and women’s racing. Race fees alone don’t cover efforts like dedicating an hour of course time to a clinic, or adding a Cat 5 women’s field (yes, Cat 5 Women) to the schedule, but those are critical to ensuring competitive cycling continues to grow and diversify.
Beyond that, we hope this race continues to grow as a fun end-of-season event for the whole cycling community. Almost 200 people were out this year enjoying spectating, free pizza, frozen treats, the clinic, and of course racing. It’s a great time for all of us to remember and get together with the friends and family we’ve made through this sport. For me the best part of putting on the races I do is simply having so many of my best friends come out to volunteer, race, or even just heckle. I know of no better way to memorialize our friends and family than to continue having a good life as best we are able, and to do so with those we are fortunate enough to still have with us.
As such, we hope everyone will join us again next year for what will from now on be known as:
The Luke Gallagher Memorial Arsenal Criterium