Tales from the peloton, April 16, 2004
Australian cyclist Mark Carter died on April 14 of head injuries sustained in a fall the previous weekend. A former president of the Canberra Cycling Club, Mark was an energetic driver of the cycling scene in the nation's capital and an influence in the development of several of the city's pro cyclists. Here are some tributes from those who knew Mark.
If you'd like us to add your comments to this page, please email us. We had more detail on Mark's passing in Thursday's news. As Rob Arnold mentions below, Mark was a regular contributor to RIDE Cycling Review. His enthusiasm for his city came across in this guide to Canberra cycling, his last article for RIDE.
On Wednesday 14 April I was told the very sad news about the death of a close friend of mine. Mark Carter, or 'Carts' as we all know him, was a big part of my life and I just wanted to share a few words with you about my mate. Carts was and always will be in our thoughts.
Carts was an energetic man who insisted on enjoying life to the full. He was always happy and willing to help anyone. He was a man who gave countless hours to help others and anyone who wanted to know more about the sport he loved, cycling.
I will always remember Mark and his wife Janelle standing on l'Alpe d'Huez last year during the Tour de France. I was doing my duties in the peloton, leading Richard Virenque up the climb. Amongst the hundreds of thousands of fans on that stretch of road I remember hearing Mark's words above all others: "Come on Dodge!" I don't know where it was during the climb, but just knowing he was there - as he's always been during my career - helped me get to the top.
After the Tour in 2003, my fiance Alessia and I decided to visit Carts and Janelle while they were holidaying in Tuscany. Together we all enjoyed the wonderful food and wine in the evenings. And during the day Carts and I would ride through the olive tree-covered hills, stopping occasionally for a cappuccino or gelati.
Carts was always there. If there was fun to be had, he was in the middle of the action. If there was a problem, he only saw the positive side - negative wasn't an option, he didn't know what the word meant. He spent endless hours organising the Canberra Cycling Club and not once did I hear a word of complaint. He loved cycling, life, being with his friends and we all loved his warm sense of life, humour and his wonderful friendship.
Goodbye Carts, you'll be missed mate!
Quick.Step-Davitamon team rider
Always The King Of The Canberra Gallop
As I sit and wait for the arrival of the edition of my magazine, RIDE Cycling Review, I grow frustrated by a hiccups in printing and production. And wish that I would explain to all my readers that the delays are not intended and that the 24th edition is finally ready and being distributed. But in the last couple of days, I've been reminded that there are more important things in life.
The news about Mark Carter's passing after an accident on the weekend has affected everyone who knew him. It seems impossible that a man with such energy and spirit will no longer be a part of the famous Bakery Gallop which concluded one of his beloved training rides in Canberra. Mark 'Carts' Carter was proud of his cycling. The president of the Canberra Cycling Club from 1999 to 2001 was one of the city's biggest cycling ambassadors. He would do anything to help others get an appreciation of the sport he loved. His words were often a part of RIDE Cycling Review, and his last piece was about the training rides around Canberra, written at the end of last year. Below is his review of his hometown's cycling culture. It helps remind us of his character and his passion for cycling. Mark was never afraid of a challenge, always willing to rug up against the bitter cold of a Canberra winter and get out on the bike and enjoy life. Alas, the Bakery Gallop will never be the same again without its leading patron.
Mark, you will be with me on every ride I do. I miss you!
Publisher, RIDE Cycling Review
Hard to comprehend
It is hard to comprehend that someone like Mark Carter has passed away. A larger than life character with a positive, can-do outlook, lots of energy, laughs and always ready with a witty response to some friendly ribbing.
Mark Carter was one of the first people to welcome me to the Canberra Cycling Club and to become a part of the CCC Committee. Mark was always ready to provide help and encouragement and came across as the sort of bloke who liked to help you to help yourself. Mark was never afraid to sit on the front and put in the hard yards, both on the bike and off. He was a leader and role model, someone that I and others respected and admired for his tireless efforts as Treasurer and President of the Canberra Cycling Club, for his wider contribution to cycling in the ACT and for the way he approached life.
I'll always remember a quote that Mark included in his cycling newsletter that pretty well sums up Mark's passion for cycling - "cycling isn't a lifestyle, it's a way of life".
The Big Legged Driver will be sadly missed. See ya Carts.
Former member CCC and CCC Committee Member 2001 & 2002
We would like to talk of happy things, of journeys, of new friends we've met along the way, and of the days we have spent in good company.
However, this is not always possible.
Especially when we hear of the sudden passing away of a friend we have known and loved.
It happened the other side of the world - a part of the world that, despite being remote, has become closer to us in the recent past.
The person we are talking of is Mark, a friend of Michael's, who we were lucky enough to meet. A really nice, open-hearted and cheerful companion.
We'd like to pass on our sincerest condolences to his family and to Janelle on behalf of all our Italian friends - the members of the Michael Rogers Fans Club.
Ci piacerebbe parlare e raccontarci solo di cose belle, di viaggi, di nuovi amici che incontriamo, di giornate in allegra compagnia.
Ma, purtroppo, questo non è sempre possibile.
Soprattutto quando una amico che abbiamo conosciuto e apprezzato ci lascia improvvisamente.
E' successo dall'altra parte del mondo, quella parte che, pur così remota, negli ultimi mesi abbiamo sentito vicina, dietro l'angolo.
Ed è successo ad un ragazzo, un amico di Michael, un nostro amico, Mark, che abbiamo avuto la fortuna e la gioia di conoscere ed apprezzare, con la sua disponibilità, semplicità e allegria.
Un forte abbraccio a tutta la famiglia e a Janelle, da tutti gli amici italiani, gli amici del Michael Rogers Fans Club.
Michael Rogers Fans Club, Italy
I was in Italy last year staying at Greame Brown's place when I first met Carts.
What a top bloke, both Mark and Janelle became good friends of ours in the space of a few hours. That is the sort of bloke Mark was.
After a week with them we took off around Italy for a few months and then off to the tour. Sitting in the van on Alpe d'Heuz I heard "hey bigboy" it was Carts and Janelle. After a big night off beer and cigars Carts and I were the last two standing, walking back the van Carts said, "Mate it doesnt get any better than this." No mate it doesn't.
Our thoughts are with Janelle.
Matt Smithson and Liz Nicotra
The World is a Better Place
I'll bet you can see it clearly now Carts, from the top of the hill you're sitting on, that the world is a better place for having someone as inspirational as you with us for what turned out to be such a short time. Why else would so many be so deeply saddened at your early departure, and why else would so many have such warm memories, having made your acquaintance. Why else would so many be saying "not fair".
You were a friend and an inspiration to many. Your genuine warmth and sincerity was a constant.
You leave us all a legacy of knowing how life can be lived, and what living with passion is all about, and your memory will remind me of this for many years to come.
We'll miss you big fella!
Tony, Tracey & Emily Gaudry
Canberra CC's tribute
I would just like to let you know that the CCC also has a Mark Carter tribute page that you may wish to link to.
Also thank you very much for creating your tribute. Mark was a really amazing person that we will miss forever.
King of the barbie
For Janelle, a wonderful person, a good friend and a patient and loving wife.
I first met Mark on what I imagine was the 70's version of a 'play date' organised by our parents. From memory, 7 or 8 year old Mark was not particularly interested in 7 year old Margaret as we drank our cordial at his family dining table. Despite living less that 4km apart during our formative years, other than vague recognition in college, where we were at Daramalan together for a year (he was after all a cool year 12, and me but a lowly year 11) it was upon my discovery of cycling that I got to know Mark and his wonderful wife Janelle.
I recollect before I became a cyclist someone telling me that Mark had taken to bike riding and that horror of horrors he shaved his legs. I am sure at the time 20 year old Margaret shook her head, appalled at the thought of smooth male legs. How times change.
At the start of my cycling career I was an intermittent visitor to Canberra, having discovered cycling interstate whilst studying and working. I remember my first Saturday Bakery Gallops and Sunday Monaro Gallops with Carts, the original BLD in for the sprint but even then not so keen on the hills! He always made me feel welcome and was forever up for a chat.
By the time I moved back to the National Capital I was well and truly a cyclist and inducted into the summer Canberra Cycling Community. (My Aussie winters were spent racing in Europe). I love my Aussie summers in Canberra Bunch rides and coffee shops, and the Club Dinner - Carts, aka 'Mr Metrosexual' looking sensational in a suit with a tie knot the size of a fist in fine form on the microphone, New Years Party, Carts always an integral part of the scene, the Wednesday night Crits - The BLD on show, best dressed in 'B' grade. The JJJ Hottest 100 party at Mark and Janelles, with Carts as king of the Barbie. It won't be the same.
My two enduring memories of Carts will be of him resplendent in his gold Saeco Cannondale knicks and jersey & his white carnac podium shoes, microphone in hand at a Wednesday evening in Kingston. The other will be of him in the corner of his kitchen in Dunlop next to his beloved Saeco coffee machine after an evening of Turkish takeaway, dutifully scraping the last scoop of streets blue ribbon (lite of course) for my affogato. Carts, we'll miss you, there will never be another!