Vale Sharon Laws 1974 – 2017
Paying tribute to Sharon Laws – former British cycling road race champion, dies aged 43 after losing her battle with cancer.
Some years ago (pre Betty) we (MBH and I) did a regular ride with the ‘T.E’ group. One day, a smallish girl dressed in oversized non-matching kit with her helmet tilted back joined the group at its regular meeting place saying she had heard this was a hard ride, just what she was looking for. The (somewhat Alpha males, mostly in their ‘T.E’ custom kit with their Zip wheels and other superfluously expensive items) were polite, one of them explaining in detail the ‘re-grouping’ points, for this little girl would most surely be ‘out the arse’ on the first incline.
Well that little girl was Sharon Laws. She ‘belted the shit’ of everyone on that ride, the fittest of them trying to look cool and ‘hold the wheel’, I think I heard that even mechanicals were feigned (ala crit racing ‘lap out’) style.
I watched Sharon ride past me seemingly easily on the ‘booley’ and she would have a paddle strapped to a back pack at the time. Of course I was in ‘recovery’ mode. I’d see her at the pool, me doing ‘a k’ and Sharon will have just completed 3.
Sharon’s personality seemed incongruous with her massive capability. Off the bike she was quiet, unassuming and very friendly. She seemed to have nothing to prove. She just loved to ride and she was soooo bloody good at it.
One New Years Eve she rode up at Bright, conquering Hotham and then in the afternoon, ran up the highest mountain in Victoria – Mt Bogong and back down again. A walk that is not recommended (up and down), to be attempted in one full day.
We watched with wonder as Sharon fairly quickly made the British National team. She would no doubt have been a major star were it not for the likes of Emma Pooley and Nicole Cook also on the British National team in that era. Sharon raced at the Beijing Olympics, missing selection for the uphill Time trial (her forte) and crashing out in the road race during a Beijing ‘rain event’. A late starter to cycling, descending and cornering were not her strengths.
About a year ago we got an email saying that Sharon was facing her biggest mountain ever, advanced cervical cancer. One year later, this December she has died aged 43.
Upon reflection, I was always in awe of the natural physiology Sharon possessed. Something I would have dearly loved myself. Now the reality is that physiology had a ‘sting in the tail’ laced with a deadly indiscriminate cancer somewhere lurking in her exceptional make-up.
So as Christmas approaches, time to reflect and be thankful for the life we have. Life stops one day so make the most of it I say.
Merry Christmas to all our lovely friends.
Emma Colson (AKA MBW)
A statement issued by Voxwomen on behalf of Laws’ family read:
This morning the cycling world lost a champion, a friend, a rider with a huge smile and a fantastic laugh. Sharon Laws passed away early this morning after her fight with cancer. Her mum Joy and her family have asked for privacy at this time.
RIP Sharon Laws 1974 – 2017 pic.twitter.com/wPF63VkoH6
— Voxwomen (@Voxwomen) December 16, 2017
PS I have taken to writing the blog this month as Dave is busy mailing out the 2017 Topbike year books.
Please let us know if you want one snail mailed to you.