Robert Leslie Moore
Cyclist, metallurgical engineer, MBA, family man. Born July 6, 1951, in Montreal, died April 8, 2012, in Edmonton of bile-duct cancer, aged 60.
Three riders were drafting Bob’s skinny rear and skinnier back tire somewhere between Pigeon Lake and Winfield on scorching Alberta Highway 771.
His right arm flashed, pointing at a stoic hawk erect on a fence post. Seconds later the noonday sun was blocked out, a gliding wingspan shadow stretched from ditch to ditch.
“Go away, I’m not your lunch!” Bob yelled, and the other riders lost their cadence laughing. Bob would finish the easy 35-kilometre cycle first for sure, now. As he usually did.
Bob was born to ride. He was of average height but impossibly trim. Slim pickings for that hawk if it had been able to snatch Bob up and away with his cleats locked into the pedals.
Long ago, a childhood friend who would go on to play with the Montreal Alouettes dubbed him “Wire.”
Bob embraced cycling in the early 1980s, ahead of the sport’s modest surge in popularity, because a chronic knee injury made running and skating problematic. His routes quickly expanded from the path system in Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley to sociable, yet intense, group rides involving Kicking Horse Pass and Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Highway.
Time mattered to Bob when he was riding: He’d say minutes should have been shaved, despite the added weight of the group’s tequila bottle in his pannier.
During those helmetless days, Bob, a McGill engineering graduate working on his MBA at the University of Alberta, met and married Ann Murray, a music teacher. Their sons Harry and Alex are in their 20s and following their own paths on more reliable knees than their father’s.
When Bob got cancer, his illness was strictly a matter for family and close friends. Yellow rubber bracelets, like ATMs and traffic bylaws, were for other people. Bob never wore a watch or even his wedding band, which he said interfered with his grip on the handlebars.
After a 12-hour operation, Bob was pronounced cancer-free.
He spent a year working himself back into elite cycling shape. At 59, he planned to pedal the gruelling alpine stages of the Tour de France in a group organized by an old riding companion. Bob was the oldest rider, his steel bike a relic. His cancer had returned, but chemotherapy was deferred until after the climbs in the French Alps. On the third day, the pack gained 5,000 feet snaking up the Col de la Madeleine. The route led the string of riders into a long valley against a headwind, with black weather descending. A wise time to end a long day, though the itinerary still called for the Telegraphe up ahead, 2,500 more feet of elevation over just 4.5 kilometres of road. Steep, psychologically: sheer.
There was some discussion about fatigue, hard horizontal rain. Then Bob said, “Let’s get her done, boys!” And off he went.