But Not Today - U.S. 360 Visiting “Pre’s Rock” in Eugene OR
My cycling journey around the American perimeter
Total so far: 2976 miles
I awoke this morning with only one objective, to finish this cycling adventure as I had set out, at “Pre’s Rock” in Eugene Oregon. Pre’s Rock is on the aptly named Skyline Drive, where the curvy and hilly road overlook the City of Eugene below. Pre’s Rock is a shrine to Steve Prefontaine at the precise location of his fatal car crash on May 30, 1975. Pre died at the too-young age of 24.
Over the years, the site has become a sort of pilgrimage for people to pay their respects to the legend, and many have chosen to leave something of themselves behind at the memorial.
As I cycled up the steep grades leading up to Skyline Drive, I experienced firsthand how dangerous this area could be. In the midst of a light rain, with wet roads and fog, I only imagined it was probably in conditions like these the night Prefontaine died. As I caught my first glimpse of Pre’s Rock and the understated marble plaque that marks this site, I was struck by the serenity of the place, but also mindful of how many others have made similar treks before me. There were handwritten letters, trophies, medals, running shoes, race bibs, and even an old shoe spike tightener left at the memorial. Although it’s been nearly 40 years since the fateful day, the memorial, coupled with the left items, made for a powerful moment.
I left two of my own items at the memorial. The first was my bandana, which I have worn nearly every day on this cycling adventure since leaving Austin Texas. Those that know me know of my penchant for bandanas, so this was truly reflective of my spirit. The second, and more important thing I left with Pre were the following simple words: “Thank you for inspiring the young Brian Rawson, and now the older Brian Rawson. You were not afraid to live life, nor am I. I look forward to the day when you’ll take me on a training run through the hills of Coos Bay. But not today.”
It’s All Good.
Photo of the Day: Selfie with Pre’s Rock, Eugene OR
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