It was nearly 60* at the start of the 3rd Round of the "CR Fatty", COMBO's annual Fat Bike Race Series at Chestnut Ridge. I approached Paul and said, "Hey, buddy, looks like the curse is broken!" He simply replied, "When you're staging a Fat Bike Race in February, you kinda want snow & ice." Curse. Intact.
I first met Paul a few years back as I became more involved with the COMBO Board of Directors. He quickly struck me as one of those guys that makes a non-for-profit work. Someone who jumps in and does what anyone in their right mind would have to refer to as the 'crap jobs'. Paul was the guy who would volunteer to serve as Secretary when nobody else wanted to. You know that moment when it becomes clear that someone needs to volunteer and you're sure to avoid eye-contact or crawl under the table so you don't end up with the job yourself? He would take on THOSE jobs.
He's been the group's Secretary off & on for a few years now, mostly because nobody else wants to do it! Several years ago, we made a concerted efforts to expand COMBO's reach beyond the trail. The idea being that we needed to spend as much time & effort supporting the riders as we did the trails. The mountain biking community is much more than just a dirt path through the woods so we thought members would benefit from additional programs for rider education, races, events, etc. We needed a Race Director.
Cue most of us hiding under the table. Enter... Paul.
A project manager by day, Paul is a natural at the kinds of responsibilities that drive most of us crazy. I'm not sure most understand how much really goes into putting on some of the events that we've taken on lately. For example, the Fat Bike Race. It starts months before by setting up registration pages, defining race categories, arguing with Heidi about Women's Race Categories, t-shirts?, food?, course description, what happens if it rains?, course markings, signs, the hammer that you need to pound the stakes in the ground and how are you going to attach the sign to the stake??? The details seem endless.
None of us are really sure how he keeps it all straight. He's just built that way, I guess. I imagine myself in that situation making 8 trips down to Chestnut Ridge and still not having everything I need... Where's the hammer?!?! Dammit.
For all of Paul's strengths, there's one huge pitfall. It's what we affectionately call "The Curse of Paul Remonko" or sometimes just "the Curse". See, here's the thing... Paul has the worst luck when it comes to weather. It's uncanny. And it's not a coincidence. The first time, maybe it was a coincidence. Eight years later, it's a curse.
We can be in the middle of the driest summer on record. Powder dry. But if Paul's responsible for putting on an event in the middle of this stretch of unbelievably good weather, you can rest assured that it will rain on the day of the event. Put money on it.
You might be thinking that the 6-Hour race at Chestnut Ridge last summer was really nice, but I would remind you of how hot & humid it was that day. We actually had a rider (who's a hell of a rider by the way) pulled off the course with heart arrhythmia in part due to the weather. Paul almost killed him with his hot, humid, unseasonably bad weather!
So the next time you register for a COMBO race or attend one of our events, be aware that it was probably planned in part by Paul and the weather will likely be total crap. And it's all his fault. And while you're at it, be sure to thank him for all his efforts and dedication in making great events for the central Ohio mountain biking community! Despite the Curse, we're all incredibly fortunate to have the Remonko's contributing their time!
COMBO is a 501c3 non-profit committed to supporting the mountain biking community in Central Ohio through the efforts of amazing volunteers like Paul and Dawn Remonko. These volunteers commit countless hours improving opportunities to ride, race and relax in a sport that we're all passionate about. If you'd like to become more involved, visit our Contribute page here.