Monday, January 2, 2012

Because of Jonny...

From December 2011


A few days ago my friend and former boss, Jonny Hymas was killed in a car accident. I worked for Jonny during some of the most defining years of my life, the years I grew the most as a person and as a mountain biker. He helped shape who I am, and who I have become. He pushed me to new heights as a bike rider, literally and figuratively. He pushed me to be a better employee and a more knowledgeable mountain bike professional. There are some things that I wish I'd said to him, things I've known I needed to say for years, but didn't because I wouldn't swallow my pride. I want to tell them now, and to everyone else whom I need to say things to as well, while you are still here and alive...I will do so over the coming weeks.

Jonny once told me that when we first met, that he didn't think I'd last but a few months in Moab. He was used to seeing newbies arrive in Moab every year, and then once they'd lived the dirt bag life a while,or they got hurt, they'd go back to their old lives. He assumed I would do the same.

On my first night in Moab, in fact the very first time I put my skinny little tires on Moab rock, I raced the local DH race. There were twenty locals racing that night. I managed to finish 10th! And more importantly didn't crash! Years later Jonny told me that when he saw me struggle down that mountain, completely overwhelmed, and shaking with fear, that he new I'd stick it out in Moab.--- (Picture below...deep in thought contemplating the biggest drop I'd yet done)
From December 2011


A lot of people didn't know this, but Jonny only had one eye. He lost it in a shooting accident. His entire sense of depth perception was half of what we have, yet he absolutely shredded on a mountain bike. Try to ride with one eye closed sometime, and you'll get a sense of how he perceived the trail before him. SCARY!
From December 2011


Jonny only had an 8th grade education. He struggled with reading and spelling. A teacher once told him to just spell his name the way it sounded, so he did, "NO FRICKIN H!!" he would always say. He had grown up poor and had finally excelled at bike racing, giving him confidence in him-self. (I'm speculating on this, but it was the same for me, and I do believe it was for him) He was completely self taught, and had worked VERY hard to get to where he was, managing one of the most sought after destination bike shops in the world.

I lived with Jonny and his family for a few days before I found a house in Moab. It was during this time, and the many nights after when we would BBQ in his back yard, that I got to know Jonny the Dad. He was SO VERY good to his children. He was so concerned about the job he was doing as a father. In private he would tell me the things that scared him about his kids. Like how pretty Jo Jo was, how Katerra wanted to please everyone...to a fault, and how daring Scout was. Oh how his voice rings in my ear..."Scout would jump off the Moab Rim if someone told him he couldn't, that scares the crap out of me!"
From December 2011


I can go on and on with Jonny stories. Especially mountain bike Jonny stories, but its time to get to the point. Jonny and I were both head strong and opinionated. In a sense we were very much the same. Two personalities like this are bound to eventually clash and we did. We argued once over scheduling and it got so bad that he fired me (for a few hours.) I think Jonny was under an enormous amount of stress running the shop in those times of huge growth. It got to the point where Mary and I decided to move on.

It's times like those that you can end up with regrets, things left un-said. What I wish I had said to you Jonny was that I had forgiven you for the hard times, that I was sorry for my bull-headedness, that I respected you as a biker, as a boss, as a father, and as a man. I wish I had told you with a man hug and a pat on the back that "I love you man." Oh how I wish I had done that, I'm so very sorry that I didn't.

Because of you Jonny I will do my best to do these things in the future, because of you Jonny I will try to live every day with no regrets. Thank you my friend for being who you were. Thank you for being such an influential force in my life.
From December 2011

9 comments:

  1. Thanks Landon for those comments. I am sure Jonny aprreciates them even now.

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  2. it's billy. we showed up at the same time landon. you and i. that season is a sweet memory etched in my mind. i'm a bit caught off guard with this news. saddened. johnny was a confidant. he didn't judge. he let people be and let people grow offering advice and opinion from a humble place. like you, he challenged me on the bike, and was large force behind me as a rider; looking back, as a person. he will be missed.

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  3. Nice thoughts, Landon. Tim here. Gonna miss Jonny. Feel really bad for his kids

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  4. Great tribute Landon. Wish I'd met him. Through you I feel like I have!

    Craig

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  5. I knew Jon when he lived in Logan. I am glad others got to know Jon. I was fortunate to have known him. He was a great guy.

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  6. Thanks for those thoughts about Jonny. I couldn't say anything if I was with you because I've got a lump in my throat. When I first came to Moab, Jonny helped me a great deal and I've always thought highly of him for that and as you said the way he treated pretty much everyone. I'll miss yelling hi to him out at the trail heads - Jonny working at his rental van and me on tour.

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  7. Well said, Landon. I have been where you're now standing. Don't beat yourself up. Life is a fast moving event and I'm sure Jonny would say the same kind words if he were in the place you currently occupy. God bless you & Mary

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  8. Wow, amazing post. Beautiful memories. There is so much love radiating from you and from others that Jonny knew. I like to think that he can feel all of that love wherever his soul is now - and that he can see how much good he did for so many.

    <3 Regan, (Kurt, and Liaym)

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