Today I met up with some of my riding buddies (SoCal Riders) in Santa Clarita for a ride of silence in memory of Joseph Novotny.
I did not know Joseph, nor have most of the 200+ riders which showed up today in the early morning hours. Riders came from far away places to join a last ride with Joseph. Highway Patrol and Sheriff’s Department did an outstanding job of giving the large peloton protection by blocking major intersections for safe passage. I uploaded images from the ride and you can view them here. Joseph’s wife was overcome with emotion prior to the start of the ride and it set the tone for all riders. Santa Clarita Velo Club members took the lead and guided us through the 12 mile course. Passerby’s stopped and stared as this sea of colorful jerseys glided by in total silence, only the whirling of the chains telling of the force of kinship we all felt. After the organized ride our band of seven rode up Bouquet canyon, followed by Spunky Canyon and return via San Francisquito Canyon. A beautiful 44 mile loop with a bit more than 3000 feet elevation gain. You can see details of this ride including the ride of silence route on my Garmin Page.
Following is a recap by ‘The Signal’, a Santa Clarita Valley newspaper about the circumstances that lead to Joseph’s death. Say a prayer for him and those who are left behind.
By Jessica Selva
Signal Staff Writer
Posted: Sept. 29, 2009 10:32 p.m.
POSTED Sept. 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Marco Antonio Valencia, 21, is set to return to San Fernando Superior Court for his preliminary hearing on Oct. 28.
Meanwhile, the city of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Velo club are hosting the Joseph Novotny Memorial Ride of Silence on Saturday in memory of the 43-year-old Stevenson Ranch resident who died in the crash.
Valencia is charged with 12 felony counts for murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony hit-and-run and several other charges. He faces possible life in prison if convicted.
On July 11, an intoxicated Valencia killed Novotny and injured at least two others when he plowed his truck into a group of cyclists on a winding stretch of Bouquet Canyon Road, CHP officials said.
Valencia had already been arrested at least three times for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and was convicted twice before the fatal crash, according to court records.
In one of those previous cases, last year, Valencia was convicted of driving under the influence after hitting a power pole in Canyon Country and knocking out power for hours for nearby residents. His first DUI conviction was in 2007.
Valencia is being held in lieu of more than $1.3 million at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.
Novotny, a Minnesota native, was new to the area.
Not long before his death, he had accepted a management position at a local water filtration company. His family and friends held joint memorials for him locally and in his home state.
The ride to honor his memory meets at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.