<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Cyclists throughout Cache Valley showed their support for the family of deceased LOTOJA cyclist, Robert Verhaaren, by signing a LOTOJA t-shirt donated by the Logan Race Club. The shirt was dropped off at Al’s Sporting Goods, where more than 100 bikers stopped in to leave their mark.
Verhaaren, a 42-year-old father of three, died as result of a crash during the LOTOJA race on September 8, 2012.
“We had talked about the possibility of putting something together from the cyclists of this valley just to be supportive of Robert,” Logan Race Club president Drew Neilson said.
Neilson sent out an email to the 120 members of the Logan Race Club asking them to stop by the local sporting goods store. He said he wanted as many people as he could to be able to show their support.
“Whenever you ride you realize there are some risks, particularly when you race. There are just things that happen,” Neilson said. “I think with the incident of the LOTOJA he did something every cyclist did at some point, but the difference was he was in the location where there was no room for error. We’ve all had to swerve for something or have even crashed. As cyclists we are just pretty sensitive, so when we were asked to support we jumped at the chance.”
The shirt was picked up from Al’s Thursday evening by Loreita Dewey, a relative of Verhaaren who lives in Smithfield.
“When I saw all the names on the shirt I had tears in my eyes,” Dewey said. “It makes me grateful that they took time out of their busy schedules to sign this shirt for Rob’s wife to let her know that they were thinking about her and she was in their thoughts.”
Dewey will frame the shirt and give it to Verhaaren’s wife.
Neilson said he was glad he could do something to show support to Verhaaren’s wife – showing that people cared about the incident and were affected by it.
“She doesn’t know any of the people on the shirt,” Neilson said. “Maybe that will make her feel like her husband was a part of something bigger.”
“It was an unexpected tragedy and he lived such a wonderful life,” Dewey said. “Everyone that knew him loved and admired him.”
Funeral services for Robert Verhaaren will be held Saturday in Mesa, Ariz.