It is rare for my blog to deviate from cycling content but certain things in life warrant and command full attention. So today we will celebrate the speed we all thirst for, by honoring a man known for his accomplishments in propelling forward. The faction of cyclists that are focused on the "One less car on the road" movement may have let yesterday pass without absorbing the full impact of Carroll Shelby's passing. Automotive enthusiasts understand his contributions but Shelby was a man with a midas touch and a reach that extended far beyond the boundaries of the automotive industry. Admittedly a few of TheDirtyWheel staff are die-hard motorsports fans, though we happen to pledge allegiance to the bowtie. Yet when news broke yesterday, I was stung with the reality that not only would the automotive world miss this ICON, but America and the world would be a different place. If you could remove Carroll Shelby from history's timeline and imagine the world today, it leaves me looking at an odd landscape. One where America's competitive fire wasn't stoked to the same intensity, where the automotive industries Big 3 did not battle as hard, improving technology in the process, and more importantly one where children grew up lacking the natural competitive desire to win. In many of today's societal circles, winning has now become a bad thing, it is taboo and bad for our childrens development. We now stifle the same fires that we once stoked, leaving me wondering what happened to the adage "The Hotter the Spark ....". Technology is competition and cooperation dependent, it builds upon refining and breaking boundaries, and that was Caroll Shelby. He was a man that was always trying to improve the process and reach newer heights.
I cannot help but notice the motorsports technology that is blatantly apparent in the bicycles we love so much. Yet for some cyclists it maybe like looking through your car for your helmet after you have already placed it on your head. Look at the areas where technology and automotive influence may seep into your riding: Helmets, shocks, tires, even hydration packs have taken lessons learned from the automotive industry amongst others. We have a symbiotic relationship that is not apparent if we do not pause to realize and appreciate the contributions of others. It is with a heavy heart and awareness of his importance to us all, that I bid adieu to Carroll Shelby, an innovator, a pioneer, and a man with the determination to succeed. If you really want to know more about Caroll Shelby we urge you to dig deeper and challenge your comprehension of who he was and what he accomplished. Here are a few interesting facts to prompt you to learn more about Mr. Shelby.
During World War II he was an Army Corps Flight instructor.
He was one of the nation's longest-living heart transplant recipients, having received a heart back in June 1990.
Carroll Shelby was a Safari Tour Operator and was also famous for his Carroll Shelby Original Texas Chili Kit.
Carroll Shelby R.I.P (Jan 11th, 1923 - May 10th, 2012)