"I was fascinated with how far I could go under my own power."
Ride, ride, and ride some more.
After retiring as an Engineering Senior Manager for Worldcom, in 1999 at the age of 38 that’s what Larry Schwartz did. "The stock market’s ‘irrational exuberance’ was good to me."
Larry was a Texas rider through and through. Although he lives just outside of Dallas in Wylie, he loved to ride the roads of the Texas hill country near Fredricksburg.
In 2002, Larry logged 22,980 miles in the WUCA Mileage Challenge. He was leading the 2003 UMC when he was stuck and killed by a school bus in May 2003. Larry, who was wearing a helmet, was struck by the bus’ mirror.
Larry was a regular on the PAC Tour circuit. He rode every mile of the ’01 Northern tour, the ’99 Oregon Trail tour and the ’95 Southern tour. Before retirement, he rode nearly 17,000 miles per year! In 2001 he ramped up to about 21,800 miles, for first place honors in the Mileage Challenge.
First place was no stranger to Larry. He scored firsts in the 2001 RSD 24 Hour Challenge in Canada, the ’98 Waco, TX 12 Hour Shootout, the '97 Texas Ironbutt, and the '94 Oklahoma City Tinbutt.
Larry Schwartz on PAC Tour
In a 2001 interview Larry said: "My interest in ultra grew out of riding in general. I started riding in January ’88 as a New Year’s resolution. I wasn’t overweight or anything, but just thought I’d better get some exercise. I was fascinated with how far I could go under my own power. I still remember the excitement I felt having ridden five miles to the next town! Four months later, I finished my first century. Last year, I decided to focus on the WUCA Mileage Challenge. Having my days free, it became easy to tack on another 25 or 30 miles to what I’d been riding anyway."
"I like the multi-day tours because someone else gets to do all the grunt work. Think about PAC Tour, for instance. There’s nothing to do for weeks but worry about where the next turn is, and where lunch and the motels are. I don’t want to lose my ability to do distance tours. I see people in their 60s and 70s still doing ultras. I think riding that long is attainable."
“I see people in their 60’s and 70’s still doing ultras. I think riding that long is attainable.”
“When I was working, some of my most creative solutions to problems came while riding. Other times, I’m kind of like Homer Simpson. You know how someone will ask him something and he just goes blank? I seem to block everything out.”
“He was so smart, but he just wanted to be a kid and be happy,” said his brother, Ron Schwartz of St. Paul. “To this day, when he comes to visit my kids, he watches cartoons with them and goes sledding with them.”
“He was so smart, but he just wanted to be a kid and be happy.” — Ron Schwartz
When he was killed, he was engaged to marry his longtime partner, Judith Jolly. She recalled one of their cycling triumphs, the RSD [for rubber-side down] Twenty-Four Hour Race in her native Canada in 2000. Larry, then 39, set a course record and personal best of 410 miles in 24 hours. Judith won her age class with 328 miles. “It was a high point for both of us, because we both did it,” she said. “We both set personal records.” Larry’s course record still stands, she said.
“The RSD; It was a high point for both of us, because we both did it.” — Judith Jolly
In addition to his brother and fiancée, Mr. Schwartz is survived by his parents, Norton and Ethel Schwartz of Boca Raton, FL.
Larry was inducted (posthumously) into the hall-of-fame in 2004.