Falling star

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.

8 Responses to “Falling star”

  1. 1
    khal spencer:

    Excellent eulogy. World would be a better place if more of us could live up to that description of a man.

  2. 2
    Dave Johnson:

    This eulogy is perfectly written. To quote the great Hippster…”It was 1864 I beleive it was…and I was floatin’ up the Mississipeye river…” Those of you that knew him understand this and those that didn’t really missed out on meeting one of the most fun loving people on the planet. Here’s to you Mr. Hipp…may our paths cross again someday.

  3. 3
    cyclepath:

    Sounded like a good human being. Peace be with you Chris…..

  4. 4
    Ernie Becker:

    Thank you for the keen insight. Max and I spent many a road trip talking about the Hipptler and rolling with laughter at his nonsensical and fun loving behavior. Truly one of a kind as attested by so many.

  5. 5
    Patrick O'Grady:

    I miss the tales of Labor v. the 12K Dreamers as seen on TrueSport.com back in the day. Der Hipptler, Max Kash Agro, the Rev. Billy Stone — that was some entertaining stuff. I never did sort out who was doing the actual writing, but it sure was fun to read.

    Hey, here’s some Billy Stone to go with the MKA archives. Good stuff, this. Your Humble Narrator and the Bike Snob ain’t the only funny fellers around, y’know.

  6. 6
    Sean McManus:

    Perfect.

  7. 7
    Jeff in PetroMetro:

    God. Chris Hipp. There’s a name from way back. I remember going on training rides with Chris in the mid/late 80’s in Dallas. My two clearest memories of Chris: 1. He would bunny-hop curbs, jumping clean out of a two-up paceline in the middle of a conversation, spin like hell missing fire hydrants and whatever else, and then hop right back in, handlebar to handlebar, and pick up the conversation as if he had never left. (Dude grew up BMX and had phenomenal handling skills.) 2. We were standing over our bikes at the start of the Texas State Road Championships in ‘87 or ‘88 in Boerne. Chris was next to me. I looked at him and gave him a heads-up nod. He looked at me, waved his hand for me to move over, bent over, threw up, and looked back up at me with a heads-up nod and a shit-eating grin. He was ready to go. Hilarious.

    Bill Curtin and I were talking about Chris about a month ago. I’ll give Bill a call and let him know.

    Vaya con Dios, Chris.

  8. 8
    Patrick O'Grady:

    Crazy bastards. We need more of ‘em, not fewer.

    I remember racing the New Mexico crit championships on Kirtland AFB back in the late Eighties and seeing a pileup dead ahead in a left-hand corner. I was a horrible crit racer and froze; district rep Tim Schoeny, who had raced in Germany while in the Army, merely bunny-hopped up onto the sidewalk, dodging the carnage, then hopped back into the race and went about his business.

    I don’t think he won that year, but he scored major manly points.

A word to the wise




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