July 2014 Member Spotlight
The club has been celebrating the amazing accomplishments and up-and-down human drama that has been the life of Jim Marinitti. We have been riding the roller coaster with Jim through his ordeals and triumphs this year, and it has been an amazing ride, one that we sense is certainly not over. Let’s back the story up a bit.
Jim is from St. Petersburg, Florida and spent his formative years in the Tampa/St. Pete area. An air traffic controller by profession, he moved to Miami to work in one of the world’s busiest airports. He’s a natural athlete and competitive in a good natured way. He dove into triathlons, even participating in multiple Ironman competitions. Eventually he figured out that of the three elements of the Tri competition, he loved bicycling the most. From there, a road cyclist was born.
As Jim’s professional life raised to the level of leadership as President of the local chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, he developed into a leader on the road on our many club rides. One of the stronger riders in our peloton, Jim demonstrated his leadership not only by taking many tough pulls and heading out strong in the sprint zones, but also by doling out valuable coaching advice and encouragement to many of our developing riders. His calm and sometimes humorous delivery is perhaps a characteristic gained from guiding aircraft through the crowded skies around our airport.
2014 began quite optimistically as Jim’s cycling goals began to crystallize. Central to his goals was to compete in the Race Across America (RAAM) in June as one of four in a relay team. RAAM is widely recognized as one of the toughest endurance bicycle races in the world. Starting in California and ending in Virginia, it is a trans-continental race, non-stop, covering over 3,000 miles. But first, there was some serious training to do.
At the beginning of the year, Jim was already in great form. He volunteered to lead one of the elite handcyclists through the dark streets of Miami in the race before the ING Marathon. Pulling at around 24 mph, he rounded a dark corner with another rider and found himself in the midst of a road construction project that was not properly marked or lit. Both riders crashed, but Jim took the worst of it with a bad injury to his elbow. Surgery and hours of grueling rehabilitation followed, dealing a serious setback to his training.
This is a determined guy who was not to be deterred. Attentive to his re-hab process, Jim got back on the bike at the latest possible time to still be fit to compete in the RAAM. And compete he did. Jim and his teammates, including Jay Barrett (another EBC member) with support from his team, flawlessly executed their strategy. Those of us in Miami following their progress were simply amazed as they flew through state after state, arriving in Virginia when common sense tells you they should still be climbing a mountain in Colorado. It was an incredible accomplishment, especially considering Jim’s injury, and we at EBC beamed with pride!
This determination and hours on the bike had its price. As it turns out, the elbow has not quite healed properly and Jim will face more time off the bike as he tends to healing his injury. We do miss him on our weekend rides and we can’t wait until he comes back. I know I speak for every member of EBC who wishes Jim a quick recovery. Jim, you have been an inspiration to us all!
Check out the great story of the NATCA flyers. This fantastic team successfully completed the 2014 Race Across America and benefited their charity to benefit under-served children across the country through the NATCA Charitable Foundation.