Mountain biking trails in the Pacific Northwest lost a friend and supporter this past weekend when Len Francies died while riding on New Year’s Day with a friend on Grand Ridge, a forest near Issaquah.As reported by Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance:
“After a life of enthusiasm and boundless energy for riding, trail building, and serving others, Len’s heart came to rest on one of his favorite trails.”
Francies was one of the founding members of the mountain biking club and a former board member.
In the numerous tributes that appeared in forums this past weekend, Len was remembered as an active new trail builder and frequent member of work crews that brushed and cleared deadfalls on mountain bike trails throughout western Washington. He also led epic rides and bike camping adventures in mountain forests.
Although I didn’t know Francies, a tale on the MBTR forum tells a great deal about the man during a trip to Mount St. Helens:
“One of my favorite Len stories was a St. Helen’s campout in the late 90’s. We were on the first day of a multi-day riding trip and slogging up some sandy horse chunder ditch. I was like, “screw this I”m saving my legs for the rest of the week”. And Len came plowing by me churning up this crap trail. I was like “whatever, burn yourself out”. Then another pitch, and the same thing, Len comes churning by me while I’m walking. The 3rd or 4th time, I’m like screw this, and I start pedalling and chasing him. We spent the whole week challenging each other up EVERY slope and by the end of the week we were unstoppable. To this day I say that is the week when I truly learned to climb and fell in love with that aspect of the sport.
“Regardless of that story, Len was not a competitive guy, he had the same damn grin on his face whether he was leading or lagging.”
That commitment to mountain biking earned him the nickname “The Legend.”
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Len and others like him whose dedication to mountain biking has made conditions better for everyone.
Services for Francies are scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 9) at Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Club, 36005 SE Ridge St., Snoqualmie, WA.
Len will be missed. Our condolences to his friends and family.