On a bright Sunday in April, with plans to make lasagna, a family favorite, Island Boost Ambassador, Penny Verdeck headed out for a twenty-mile training ride. “I’m just going out for a quick twenty,” Penny said cheerfully to her husband, Ryan. He knew that Penny was eager to get into full-on beast mode as tri season fired up. Ryan also knew that her twenty miles really meant thirty, as her love of cycling was such that it was a way for her to not only get in shape but be blissfully lost in the moment of training.
When she was later than usual, Ryan figured maybe she was sneaking in an extra decade or two…Penny could be like that. Eager for their ceremony of cooking together, and perhaps a little hungry, he texted her, “Are you alive?” After twenty minutes of no answer, he texted, “Hope you’re having fun, I’ll start boiling the noodles.” Soon after sending the text, a stern-looking sherrif and a chaplain came to the door. Having served ten years on the police force with the sherrif, Ryan knew their visit was not routine. He knew the worst had occurred.
While on her training ride down a wide-open rural road, a car struck Penny, instantly killing her. Ryan, always worried about her safety, and often pestered her to ride going against the traffic so she could see oncoming cars and dodge if she needed to. Penny refused noting that it’s the law to ride with the traffic just as it is in racing and the law, you follow the rules.
Penny Verdeck served as an Island Boost Ambassador for each of the years we’ve had the program. She was an enthusiastic athlete who delighted in her own PRs and how much effort goes into competing against one’s self. We have been honored to have her represent our brand and share her love of triathlons. She leaves behind a husband and two daughters, aged 14 and 9.
UPDATE: On August 2, 2015, criminal negligence charges were just filed against the 25-year old woman who was texting while driving. She is being charged with vehicular homicide. This is a tragic conclusion to a story that should never have happened. There is no text worth dying or killing someone over. Now a 25-year old will live with felony charges her whole life. The price she paid is removing a dedicated wife, mother, athlete and community leader from this world and the guilt squarely on her shoulders. Nobody wins.