in memoriam

In Memoriam: Jon Lennard, aka @itburns

In Memoriam: Jon Lennard, aka @itburns

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Each of us throw a leg over our top tubes and submit ourselves to the open road in recognition of the risks involved. These risks include those of a puncture, crash, damaged equipment, disability, and – ultimately – death. We try to be vigilant, we ride assertively yet defensively, and we hope for the best. We take every reasonable precaution to ensure we return home to ride again another day.

Longstanding community member Jon Lennard, known here as @itburns, will sadly not have that opportunity. Jon lost his life on August 12, 2013 at approximately 7:30pm while riding his bike in Houston, Texas. As of this writing, details are sparse, but the Houston Chronicle reports that he was hit in an intersection by a vehicle, and thrown violently from his bicycle.

People say online interactions lack a personal connection, and for the most part, they are right. But Velominati somehow seems to bridge that gap. We rarely meet one another, but somehow we bond, and we become what can only be characterized as friends. The loss I feel – and that I know Brett, Gianni, and Marko each felt as the news spread amongst the Keepers – suggests that this bond of friendship truly exists. We have lost not only a community member and Velominatus, but a friend.

Jon was what we characterize as a Pedalwan. He was relatively new to Cycling, and lapped up the knowledge, wisdom, and lessons that this community has become so good at providing. He asked questions, gave advice, and always delivered everything he said with a fantastic sense of humor. He was the picture-perfect example of living La Vie Velominatus. I am proud that our community appealed to him because he was exactly the kind of person we want to appeal to.

A few additional words:

@Bretto:

Although I never met Jon, he was a huge part of our community and this news has left me feeling sick to the stomach. I can’t begin to imagine how devastated his friends and family are at this time.

Jon, under his moniker @itburns, always seemed upbeat and positive with valuable input to any and every topic he participated in. He was a true Velominatus and will be genuinely missed around here. When I look at his palmares, the similarities between Jon and myself are many, which makes me think we would’ve gotten on famously; it also reminds me how very mortal each and every one of us are.

My condolences go out to his loved ones, and while this is a tragedy of terrible proportions, it is some small consolation that he died doing what he loved. RIP, VLVV Jon.

@Gianni:

This is sad and strange. We have lost a fellow Velominatus. He died in the saddle. We all have made friends on the site, most we have never met. How is that possible? We have conversations and arguments about bikes, cycling and life yet we don’t ever see each others faces, but we are still friends. If any of us had ever been stranded in Houston, @itburns, Jon Lennard, would have helped us out. To us he will always be known as a friend and Velominatus. Rest in peace. VLVV.

@Marko:

If I were to rattle off the first five or so community members that spring to mind, @itburns (Jon as we’ve come to know him now) would most likely be one of them. He’s an old timer around here and has been posting long enough to have become part of the ether of Velominati. His contributions were thoughtful, pleasant, supportive, and always furthered our discussion. I wish his untimely death wasn’t the impetus for us to learn more about him. Turns out he and I would have surely had other fun discussions about guitars, Metal, and kayaking as well. Maybe Jon’s passing will encourage us all to appreciate each other a bit more and know that there’s much more than cycling than we all have in common. Go with Merckx, brother, and thank you.

His childhood friend, Ron Willis, who kindly made us aware of the news:

Jon was smart as fuck and wasn’t kidding about the OCD… dude had his way (the only way) of doing things! Used to laugh my ass off watching him dick with his snowboard bindings EVERY day for half an hour on our ski trips. Can’t imagine what that bike went through.

Our biggest argument about things cycling – he thought “Dutch hill” work was the same as hill work (gravity bitch!)

Our second biggest argument – buy some fucking Zipps you cheap bastard!

Really gonna miss him.

Our deepest, heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones. We have marked the date of his death on the Velominati Cogal Calendar. Let us take a breath and acknowledge it could just as well have been us. Be safe, and always come home to ride another day.

We’ll miss you, Jon.

Jonathan King Lennard

Dec 24, 1965 – Aug 12, 2013

Single, no kids

BS Aerospace Engineering, Texas, 1988

Part owner of Software company that does contract work for Shell Oil.

Musician (bass and guitar)

Walking encyclopedia of all things rock ‘n roll

Avid reader (a lot of science fiction, Asimov, etc)

Beer/Spirits/Coffee – no expense spared for the best.

Early on: skate, surf, kayak

Later: cycling and snowboarding

Update: Some community members have been sharing photos. We’ll keep updating this as we get more.

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// Awesome American Guys // In Memoriam // La Vie Velominatus // Reverence

  1. @Bianchi Denti I suspect very many of us have reflected and had thoughts for Jon on our rides this weekend.  Well done guys.

  2. @Bianchi Denti

    A few Welliminati took an impromptu tribute ride today to mourn Jon’s passing. @Brett said a few poignant words at the top of our favourite local climb, and we finished at @piwakawaka’s cafe.

    RIP @itburns. We’ll miss you.

    Nicely done guys. Nice to see your ugly mugs as well although Rigid looks really uncomfortable getting his pic snapped.

  3. @Mike_P

    @Bianchi Denti I suspect very many of us have reflected and had thoughts for Jon on our rides this weekend. Well done guys.

    Rode a bit harder today to feel itburn. Eleven PR’s dedicated to and inspired by.

  4. @Chris

    @Deakus

    @girl

    If we were numbered as community members we could retire his number.

    Prehaps his profile could be left in place….locked…..in memoriam?

    That had crossed my mind. It would be a shame if Jon’s profile faded to level one and his @itburns avatar was lost.

    That’s a very nice gesture; after hearing the news, the first thing I did was dive into the code and make a few tweaks to put this in place right away. It would be awful to have his status fade away.

  5. @Bianchi Denti That’s a great tribute. Well done to the Kiwis.

    @frank To think that I was beginning to get a bit stress and worried about not having stuff in place for you know what, most of the week, with other jobs in the shop piling up, getting ready for my daughter’s fifth BD, etc. Thanks for diving into the code and making whatever tweaks were needed.

  6. August 12 should marked in our diaries going forward as itburns or JKL day – and should include a nasty amount if lactic acid. Just a thought.

    Oh – and I was searching for name for our team midweak climbing session  : itburns it is.

  7. Local racer (my age) had a heart attack and is comatose, last I heard. Dedicated my ride to him and Jon, one leg each. I’d planned on 200 km with a Cypress ascent in the middle, but a niggling knee wonk forced brevity, if not soft pedaling. The suffering was appropriate, and the ice bag just came off.

  8. “RIP” Jon, You’ll be missed!

  9. Have had a few days offsite, as have been involved with local safety campaign following death of cyclist hit from behind on a clear sunny day. Like @itburns one of those guys who put in and made the world a better place.

    As one of the first posts said, you rode a bike, you were my friend.

  10. Here’s a thing whilst we’re in reflective mood – it was my sister’s wedding at the weekend.

    During the ceremony my mum read a charming piece my late father wrote about how he met her.

    They met in the middle of nowhere when they were out doing epic solo bike tours round the West of Scotland in 1962 – so we’re literally all here because of cycling.

    This explains a great deal.

  11. @the Engine Without being formally introduced… scandalous.

  12. @ChrisO

    @the Engine Without being formally introduced… scandalous.

    I think they kept their capes on

  13. @Smithers

    August 12 should marked in our diaries going forward as itburns or JKL day – and should include a nasty amount if lactic acid. Just a thought.

    Oh – and I was searching for name for our team midweak climbing session : itburns it is.

    Also a lovely thought, as indicated in the memorial, we’ve marked it as a yearly recurring Cogal. (For some reason its not showing the list – investigating now – but its on there.)

  14. I was traveling most of last week and haven’t been on the bike for a week. Just back on this morning for a sunrise ride. With Jon weighing on my mind, I put flashers on the front and back, just to make myself as visible as possible.

    I had a no-chain day, which is surprising given the week off the bike and how relatively crappy I’ve felt the last few times I was out. I just couldn’t help but feel there was a hand pushing me along.

    Thanks for joining me on the ride today, mate.

  15. @snoov won’t be of much use when your phone gets trashed like mine did when I got hit 3 1/2 months ago. The witness had to flag someone down with a functioning phone… Just food for thought. I know have Road ID.

  16. @Dan_R

    @Bianchi Denti That’s a great tribute. Well done to the Kiwis.

    @frank To think that I was beginning to get a bit stress and worried about not having stuff in place for you know what, most of the week, with other jobs in the shop piling up, getting ready for my daughter’s fifth BD, etc. Thanks for diving into the code and making whatever tweaks were needed.

    Could never quite make out the avatar before…I like him now even more

  17. Wow, what terrible news.  Not much more I can add to the sentiments already expressed.

    RIP

    VLVV

  18. @frank any thoughts about the suggestions of adding something to the jersey design (i.e. initials on the back of the neck)?

  19. I made up this In Memoriam card, placed it in (beautiful!) Hardback copies of The Rules and gave them to some of his closest friends here in Houston

  20. @HHHeartache

    Outstanding! That is a beautiful gesture. Thanks from us all.

  21. @Gianni

    @HHHeartache

    Outstanding! That is a beautiful gesture. Thanks from us all.

    +1!

  22. @Gianni BTW: among his many talents, Jon was an aficionado of the Haiku. My effort would pale beside some of his!

  23. Hello – I am a Houston Chronicle reporter. Today is Jan 15, 2014. I would greatly like to be in contact with anyone who road with Jon Lennard, of Houston, who was killed this summer when he was hit by a car. Please contact me at dane.schiller@chron.com or give me a call at 713-362-2199. Email works best to reach me quickly. Thank you, Dane

  24. To the V community. I have only just stumbled upon this tragic news and I wanted to send my condolences to all of Jon’s friends on here. In my time on Velominati he was always great company and, despite never having met him, I’m sad to know he won’t be around. Cheers to you all, and please stay safe out there. RIP, @itburns

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