Werner Fenske Memorial

Werner Fenske, one of the best riders EMCC ever had, died recently, aged 83. Born in 1935 near Hamburg, Germany, he had reportedly been struggling with Parkinson’s and cancer for some time.

Encouraged by Jim Horner, Werner took up cycling in his early 50s – “I thought if that guy can do it, how hard can it be? Boy, did I ever find out!” Werner also found an inner determination to stick at it, and gradually discovered that he had natural athletic ability, and competitiveness. Although overshadowed by the legendary Maurice Johnson in time trials, Werner was clearly the best of the rest, winning the Master D BAR competition eight years on the trot. Improving year by year, in 2000, at the age of 65, Werner got inside the hour for 40 km the first time, an inspirational performance of which he was justifiably and quietly proud.

Sadly his racing career came to an unfortunate early end. Returning home from a ride in the late fall of 2002, Werner decided to drop down into the river valley and use the Strathcona Science Park bridge and Rundle Park trails rather than stay on Yellowhead and Victoria Trail. Towards the bottom the trail was already icy, and despite being aware of this and taking extreme caution, Werner fell on the ice, breaking the head of his femur, and lay there unable to move in the gathering darkness and cold for an hour or more before he was discovered by a couple of workers going down to check on a pumping station by the river.

Werner did eventually recover well enough to ride again, but the damaged leg continued to cause problems, and he disappeared from the start line.