I never met the man, but I feel obliged to send word that the Hipp Star, a.k.a. Chris Hipp of Team Labor Power, has gone on to where the city-limit sprints have a very deep field indeed.
I have followed the struggles of Labor Power for as long as my girlish nature could withstand the torrents of testosterone, and I send my condolences to those who loved Hipp and/or bumped elbows with him. Roger Worthington eulogizes the Hipp Star thusly:
Chris Hipp died today. Worst sentence I ever wrote. He was on his way to an early morning training ride. He never got there. Apparently suffered an aneurysm. I’m fairly certain he would’ve won the city-limit sprint otherwise. Lorraine has been comforted all day by many of their friends. She’s an incredibly strong and brave woman — I know Chris loved her deeply.
We lost a strange and unique friend. He was many things: a hard core spee-r-inter, an inquisitive explorer (he loved maps); a cybergeek (he invented a server gizmo called the Blade but never got the credit he deserved); a pioneer in graphics (he wrote my law firm’s first news letter in 1990); a student of technofop (he preferred Gary Neuman to Jim Hendrix); and one of the warmest guys on the planet, which is odd because he always complained about not being warmed up before the final sprint.
He helped found Team Labor Power in 1990. In the past few years, when I took an extended time out and others moved on, he kept the Labor dream alive, single-handedly and with pride.
He helped write the cyclist’s dictionary, giving us words and phrases like: “pounding idiots,” “stoopid sport,” 12k dreamer,” “gritty not pritty,” and of course “EEEDEEEOTTS!.” He had an uncanny ear for odd sounds. He could entertain himself for hours making exotic chirps, trills, flutters and hoots. I think he was actually able to talk to the birds who frequented the feeder outside his window. I know he was able to talk to his cats.
He’s one of the few people I’ve known who really did mature like one of those fine wines you hear about without losing his playfulness. In my view, Hipp had found his stride. He was poised and comfortable with the size and scope of his life. He was the guy you wanted to share a foxhole with when the bullets started flying. You just knew he was going to keep his cool and help get you out of there unscathed. He made me feel safe.
“Never quit,” he always told me, with a mixture of sternness and optimism. “You never know what will happen in the end, you just might rally.”
Peace be with you, Brother Hipp Star. May you always take that Great Big City Limit Sign Sprint in the Sky.
What Brother Worthington said. There’s more here. Onward, brethren and sistren.