The Gunning 2 Day is an annual tribute race in memory of Peter McLennan. The following is the text of Bill Frost’s funeral eulogy given in December 2009.
It was a sad privilege to deliver a eulogy for Peter McLennan, who packed so much into his short life.
I first met Peter in 1994, when we worked on the same floor in Tuggeranong. Peter had a great sense of humour. He and I joined the ACT Veterans’ Cycling Club together at Queanbeyan. He loved to tell the story of how, three days later, they threw him out for being too young! He had always assumed that a male cycling veteran was 30 years or over and had handed over his form and his money in good faith.
He was always a friendly and welcoming person and it didn’t take long before we were riding at lunch time, then longer rides each week. My first climbs of Mt Ainslie, Black Mountain and Fitz’s Hill were with Peter and we did Fitz’s Challenge together.
Unlike me, Pete was a fearless descender. He used to back off the other side of Fitz’s to get a little more launch speed at the top, then try and hit 95 kph on the way down. One time he and I compared notes after descending Mt Ainslie in the rain. I was probably a bit annoyed I had exceeded 40 kph. He was a bit annoyed he hadn’t exceeded 90 kph!
Peter finally joined the ACT Vets in 1998. He cut a distinctive figure, racing with an original red 1980s stack hat and an Allen carbon frame that was 3 sizes too large and he had paid a small fortune for, stuck in a bidding war at the police stolen property auctions. He quickly became interested in pursuing a criterium facility and to further this, formed a group composed of ACT Vets, Canberra Cycles, Triathletes, CORC, PedalPower and speed skaters and wrote a submission that quickly grew to 15 pages. He organised lobbying meetings with every relevant state or federal politician and pressed them for a suitable venue. After one of these meetings, with Wilson Tuckey, who thought we could perhaps use a bike path somewhere, some of us questioned whether we really had a chance. Completely undeterred, Peter decided to enhance the submission with a bit more marketing. He borrowed the club’s video camera, hired a light plane and with the window open, flew around filming suitable venues. In those post 9/11 times, it wasn’t long before the AFP asked the control tower to radio the pilot and demand that he stop flying slow circles around Government House!
Eventually, the Stromlo facility was built and if you drive by and see thousands of mountain bikers, hundreds of road cyclists or parents cycling with their young children, then this is as Peter McLennan envisaged it.
Peter also developed and maintained a software package that holds details of riders and races and automates a lot of the event management tasks. This is used by three Canberra clubs. Results are generated from a web site called raceforever.com and I think this phrase typifies Peter McLennan’s approach to life.
Race forever Pete!