This isn’t an entry I know how to write, so I think I’ll just start out by stating the facts.
My manager and “let’s talk about cyclocross!” friend, Michael Prater, was killed while out for a training ride. An avid crit, road, and cyclocross racer, he was out enjoying the uncharacteristically lovely sixty degree weather when a car swerved into the shoulder, hitting Michael. The road he was on is a popular cycling road, with fast speed limits but a very wide shoulder. The driver took off but her car was discovered shortly afterwards (obviously she wasn’t getting too far in it) and she was also found a short distance away. There were five syringes with residue, a tourniquet, and a spoon in the car and the driver attempted to hide several different kinds of pills in her bra. She claims she was ‘distracted by a couple fighting in the back seat’. To put it politely, I find this to be quite dubious. To put it less politely, I think she is full of shit.
Michael was rushed to the hospital but never woke up.
He is survived by his wife Ellen; his three year old son, Davis; and his four month old daughter, Rosalyn.
It’s hard for me to editorialize on this topic, just because my feelings are so strong it is hard to express them. It would feel dishonest, though, to mention Michael without mentioning his character. He was a generous, playful, energetic, and compassionate soul. As a leader, Michael was the kind of man who people followed because they wanted to be a part of his team, to make him proud. He led by example and I can say confidently, without exception, was universally adored by his staff. He always had a joke or a story to tell and even when I made a mistake, he wasn’t ever anything less than laid back. He improved every situation by being calm, kind, and good humored without fail.
The hardest part for me to think about is what a good father he was. He was so into his kids. Everything about them delighted him and even after the birth of his daughter he was much more interested in showing off the newest photos he had taken of her than talking about how little he had slept the night before. His children were, without a doubt, the apple of his eye and it genuinely breaks my heart to think about the fact that Michael was robbed of the experience of raising them and his children were robbed of such a devoted, enthusiastic, and loving father.
That’s all I’m able to write on the topic for now. In the words of Michael’s father, the only way to describe the situation is “a fucking tragedy”.
There is a GoFundMe for Michael’s wife Ellen and NoteFrog, an information management program, is offering a free lifetime license to anyone who forwards a receipt of their donation to Michael’s GoFundMe, so if you or anyone you know is into cool programs or could use some help with digital organization, it’s a great way to be rewarded for your kindness.