Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barbara Warren, ultra-athlete, author

It’s difficult to digest what happened to ultra-triathlete Barbara Warren last Saturday. Her bicycle accident and suffering a broken neck during the Santa Barbara triathlon on Aug. 23 has rocked the sports community. And her death Tuesday night is sad beyond words. I feel connected to Barbara. Maybe it’s because she was a fellow author. Or maybe it's because she was a fellow cyclist (although she was far above my league). Or that she lived in Cuyamaca part-time and I have a cabin in nearby Julian. Or that my twin sister, Cordelia, dated Barbara's husband, Tom Warren, for about four years (many years before Barbara and Tom married). I participated in Tom's swim-run-swims in Pacific Beach in the '70s and regularly went to his bar and restaurant, Tug's Tavern, also in PB, for the Thursday-night Mexican dinner specials. Or perhaps it's because Barbara had an identical twin, as do I. Cordelia and I rode the 76-mile Tecate-to-Ensenada bike ride together, hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim, ran a 24-hour relay together, ran a half marathon and I don't know how many 10Ks together, and walked the 2006 Susan G. Komen 3-day, 60-mile walk. And, like us, Barbara and her twin are the youngest of five children. I understand the bond she had with her sister. I never met Barbara. But everything I’ve read about her indicates she was an incredible woman who had drive, passion and instincts and who poured her heart and soul into whatever she pursued. She was beyond brave, to the end. I'm truly sorry for Barbara’s twin sister, Angelika Castaneda Drake – I cannot imagine what she’s going through -- and for Tom. The world has lost a remarkable woman.

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