There are no words to soften the blow. Chad Young, vibrant and talented and loved, died Friday night surrounded by his family, succumbing to injuries sustained in a crash at the Tour of the Gila. He was 21.
We remember Chad through those who knew him best. The following stories and memories come from coaches, friends, teammates, and competitors. Some are funny, some are sad. All reveal a humble, inquisitive, competitive young man taken too soon.
We will continue to add stories as they come in. If you’d like to add your own, send the author an email.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Chad’s family and friends.
Photo: Davey Wilson
Photo: Davey Wilson
Luca Haines — junior racer
I’m 14 years old. I grew up about 10 miles from where Chad grew up. One day, about a year ago, he was back in town. I commented on one of his Strava rides and asked him if he was up for a ride. He gave me his info and proposed we meet at a local coffee shop. We rode for about two hours, and just chatted about life, racing, and just people we knew. He was such a nice guy, so genuine and amazing. The next day, I saw him at a road race in Harvard MA, and when I was on the start line for the cat. 4 field, he called my name and walked up to me. He gave me advice, and was cheering for me throughout the race. Since then, he and I got to be pretty good friends. We hung out at the 2016 road nationals, and had made plans to ride in Europe next spring, when I would be in Budapest, and him in France. Probably the smallest thing but something that I thought was pretty funny — Chad one time asked me if I had Snapchat, I told him no, my parents wouldn’t let me. Then, out of the blue sometimes, he would text me random snaps. I just thought that was pretty cool.
Mitchell Garth Sides — competitor with Elevate Pro Cycling
I met Chad at a little training camp in Keystone, Colorado last year. He’d ridden up from Golden and we all had a great dinner. He jumped right into our pretty deep dinner conversation and was generally just the type of guy you’re immediately friends with. He slept in the bunk bed above me, and the next morning at breakfast, he asked me, “Dude. Was that Lana Del Rey last night!?” I’d been listening to music as I feel asleep, but didn’t think it was loud enough to hear. I apologized, but he wasn’t having it. “No, LDR is awesome, I thought it was great”. He was only at camp the one day. The next week we were out racing at Cascade, and he rode up during warm ups and enjoyed riding around talking about how much pain TTs are. Typical, except he was such a positive and warm person, it helped me and the other rider around us relax. Of course, he went on to ride a solid TT. The thing that struck me, from when I first met him, was how warm and kind-hearted he was. It’s more rare than it should be to meet people so obviously good and noble, and Chad absolutely had both those traits every time I interacted with him.
Tim Mitchell — coach at CCB, Young’s previous team
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Chad since he was 15 years old and first starting to race. First he was just a “kid in the club” at CCB, then he was a teammate, then he was one of my riders as I directed the CCB U23 program, and more recently (and for the whole time really) he was a great friend.
My first memory of Chad was of him showing up to one of the Exeter Cycles (Exeter, NH) Wednesday night training rides. Always fast and coming down to two or three guys at the end of the ride, I was curious to see who this rail-thin kid in a baggy jersey was. My teammate, Dylan McNicholas, had been riding with Chad a bit and told me to keep an eye on Chad during the ride. So, the end of the ride is getting close, lots of strong riders are getting shelled, and every time one guy gets popped off, Chad doggedly would go around and close the gap and stick with it. All the way to the end of the ride, and on junior gears no less. I remember asking him what other sports he did; he had a huge grin on his face as he replied “competitive jump roping!” I laughed so hard, but I guess it kind of made sense, and little did we all know that Chad’s jump roping past would become the theme of a thousand jokes and nicknames, all of which Chad happily went along with…
Chad at the Green Mountain Stage Race. Photo: Tim Mitchell
Photo: Davey Wilson
Chad’s first Killington Stage Race will always stick out for me. “Little Chad” as my wife Laurel would come to call him after this race (even when he grew to be over 6′ tall) came up to the race with his father Kevin. I don’t really remember much about what he actually did in the race, I just remember how excited he was for EVERYTHING about it. Dylan decided to give him some time trial equipment for the TT stage, mainly just because we knew he would love it and it would be a thrill for him. Chad ends up with an old borrowed CCB skinsuit (there are countless stories of old borrowed CCB skinsuits over the years ending up on riders that would go on to do great things…). The skinsuit is huge on Little Chad. My wife is pinning Chad’s number on in hopes of making him as aero as possible, and then he puts on the TT helmet. You’ve all seen the bobblehead dolls they give out at the ballpark, right? This was Chad Young, bobble-head bike racer. Sixteen years old, didn’t care how he looked, thrashed that TT as hard as he could, finished the race giving everything he had, and with a giant smile on his face. That kid loved and made the most of every opportunity he had. I never once heard him complain that a piece of equipment or clothing wasn’t good enough for him, or that he wanted something better. He was thrilled when he got a third-hand frame, or a set of race wheels that were 6 years old. It didn’t matter, he loved being part of the team, part of the family, having something to dedicate himself to, to sacrifice for. Sixteen years old and he is teaching us all lessons about what it means to be a good teammate, a good person and how to unabashedly take full advantage of every opportunity put in front of him.
Cycling was the bridge that brought me together with Chad. But Chad was about so much more than cycling. Watching an excited and inexperienced boy grow into a strong, ambitious, honest, dedicated, caring, compassionate, family-minded man is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I don’t have any kids of my own, but if I do, and if they grow up to be half the man that Chad Young was, I’ll know that I’ve done a good job and that my time with Chad will be a big reason why.
Ryan Kelly — friend
Oh, man, my primary Chad story is screaming “JUNIOR GEAAAAAAAHHHS” at him in an obnoxious faux-Mass accent when he was spinning out at 35mph or whatever on the Exeter ride. Which then meant I would yell it at him all the time, regardless of how much sense it made.
But the most compelling thing about him was how smart and well-rounded he was. So many people presented with the racing opportunities he had would go too deep on them, abandon school, abandon normal balance. But he still went with his family to work in a fish factory (that relatives owned) every summer in Nova Scotia (I think? Newfoundland maybe?) And you could talk to him about non-bike stuff. Even when he was like 16.
He was so mature and genuine. I would have loved to see what he’d be doing as an engineer when he was 40, beyond cycling.
Laurel Mitchell — friend
In 2011, we were at the Concord Crit. Little Chad did the Junior race in the morning (where he came 3rd). After that race, I ran into him walking around the course, and he told me that he was going to do the Cat 3 race in the afternoon, because why would you miss the chance to do another bike race? (he came 11th in the cat 3 race, when he was 16). Chad in a nutshell: “Oh, an opportunity, yup, I’m going to take full advantage of that, thank you very much!”
Gary Kessler — Director, Killington Stage Race
As the race director of the Green Mountain Stage Race and the Killington Stage Race I got to see Chad move from a newer Junior racer up the ranks to a top Cat. 1. As he improved I had the chance to speak with him many times as he became a fixture on the podium especially on the climbing stages where he was always a threat to take the win. In 2015 he won the Queen stage of the Killington Stage Race and made it look easy (photo attached).
A fond memory of mine was in 2015 after the final stage of the KSR where Chad secured the GC win. A TV reporter asked if she could interview Chad and even at 19 he was very modest and a total pro. It was clear the reporter was taken with him (see the attached photo). A great talent and a truly nice person all make this such a terrible loss.
Dan Crespo — competitor for Primal-Audi Denver
It had been a rough season for me plagued by crashes, illness, injuries, and more illness. Chad and I were racing the local Bannock Street crit together in downtown Denver and about 40 minutes into it, I rolled my front tire crashing hard. I managed to escape serious injury, but my bike did not — it was broken in five places. I was in a bad place mentally after the race looking at the pile of broken carbon that surely signified the end of my season (and bank account) when Chad walked over post race to see how I was doing.
“Hey man, are you OK? that crash looked gnarly!” he said.
“Ya, I guess I am alright, but my season is over now; look at this mess! I’m canceling my tickets to Gateway Cup when I get home. Screw this sport!”
“Why? Over this? Come over tonight, I have an extra frameset that should fit you. Take it for as long as you need it.”
The next day, the bike was ready to go… three rolls of electric tape later. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked and we laughed a lot at the ridiculousness of taping internal Di2 cables to the outside of Chad’s old Tarmac (that was still too big for me).
On that frankenbike, training went smoothly and a few weeks later, I went on to win a race at Gateway Cup, (St. Francis Park, 9/3/2016, cat 2). After all the adversity I had to endure that season, it was a fantastic feeling to cross the line first that day and it was an experience that was only possible because of who Chad was. I will look back on those days now and remember his crazy smile and selflessness. He was truly one of a kind.
In high school, Chad was one of those rare people that got along with literally everyone. Aside from having a brilliant mind and peak physical fitness, Chad was someone who was basically guaranteed to put a smile on your face at any given time; his own smile was contagious. With sadness in my heart I thank God for giving me four years of friendship with him. Rest in peace Chad, we all love you and will miss you dearly.
Jay Mueller — Friend and teammate
I knew Chad a bit from some local rides and being on CCB together.
Chad showed up pretty fresh from his school year in Colorado to an Exeter training ride. These rides can be pretty quick, and Chad showed up looking super fit. He had been training at altitude with the big boys and clearly was ready to dish out the pain, particularly to Dylan McNicholas who, if I remember correctly, might have had a bit of a riding hiatus at this point.
The ride went off and it was pretty warm…the pace was full on. The group started to dwindle by attrition and Dylan went up and just smashed it. Chad started to come unglued and open up gaps: I had to push him back into the group. He was suffering for sure, but still smiled, “Thanks Dr. Jay” as we ripped along at 50kph.
I can’t remember if Chad finished with the group that night or if he popped off, but we all ended up in the parking lot and Chad looked overcooked, like bacon left in the skillet for too long. There was no shortage of trash talking. The young buck (who was clearly on a trajectory to be a pro cyclist … but just had a rare off-night) had been schooled by old man McNicholas. Dylan offered to give him a ride home, and Chad looked relieved because I don’t think he wanted to pedal another foot.
Chad went to get in the truck, but was corrected. He could have a ride home, but he had to ride in the back, in the toddler’s carseat. He gave a great sheepish grin and climbed into the carseat. I can’t remember if a picture was taken or if Dylan actually made him ride home in the seat, but even with shattered legs, Chad could see the humor.
Chad had character and heart, so much of both, and this loss is so profound.
Jhonatan Narvaez — Axeon teammate and winner of the final stage of the Tour of the Gila
Chad was a very funny guy. I can only thank God for making me share his last days in the Tour of the Gila.
Every night, he would come to the room of Michael Rice and me with his computer to analyze the stage of the next day. He would show us many details about the stage: the weather, the slopes, the length of the mountains – and all in very fun way.
On the last day of the race, we all left the hotel very happy, saying we had just four more hours to race and then we could eat ice cream and chocolate. Chad said, “Oh yes, and chips, too!”
It was a bittersweet taste for me after winning the stage and knowing that not everyone could enjoy the triumph that we had planned in the morning when we left the hotel.
Every year Redlands hosts the Redlands Bicycle classic in Redlands California. For the last few years we have hosted half a team at our house and the other half stays next door. The last few years we had the honor of hosting the Aexon Hagens Berman team and Chad stayed in our home for the week. What a wonderful young man. He is the same age as our son and they talked engineering together. We had great conversation and told us how he was taking a break from the School of the Mines in Colorado to see where his cycling career would take him. Close friends of ours’ son attends the School of Mines and it turned out their son and Chad were summer roommates the year prior. Such a small world. Over the last couple of years we have hosted this team and gotten to know their coaches and support team. We are shocked and saddened to hear that Chad crashed and lost his life. We are praying for his family and cycling family. There just aren’t the right words to say except we are so sorry. We will see the team in a few days and hope that we can come along side and provide a listening ear and some hugs.
I am 19 years old. I have been racing for five years now and I can credit all of that to Chad. Here is my story:
I was 14. I had no idea what I was doing when it came to racing. A contact from CCB sent Chad my information. He reached out to me and I will never forget the day he emailed me. He was on Hot Tubes at the time, but I already thought he was one of the best cyclists in the world. We went back and forth on email for a month. I lived just across the border from NH but life got in the way and we never got to ride together. His kind words inspired me to begin racing and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Chad. He was my inspiration even though he was just two years older. To this day I train and ride exactly how he told me all the way back in 2014, “Remember, keep it fun!”
Chad was an anomaly among bike racers.
He had a much larger vision of his place in the world.
It was not… “I have to ride 4 hours today, 3 hours tomorrow,” etc.
His grades and work at Colorado school of Mines were top notch…
despite my teasing him about his “becoming a miner…damn, that’s hard Chad…”
Every year on Pi day… ( ask an engineer ) March 14… ( 3.14) he would come up with some sappy engineer joke involving pie or something…
classic meat to tease him anew… which he thrived on.
Much bigger picture than most. I have basically run the CCB team for many years…
His demeanor and competitiveness was nurtured by Dylan McNicholas… friend and teammate for years…
Dylan found him when he was 14 yrs old…
His statement to me was: “You should give this kid a jersey… I think he could be pretty good…”
Funny how that worked out.
Great kid, sweet personality. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
The only straw that I can come up with in this is that there is a small piece of Chad in everyone he has met.
Hold onto that straw. It’s priceless.
Emily Pottie — Extended Family
I’m engaged to a maternal, first cousin of Chad. This has meant that over the past six years I have had the privilege of sharing time with him during family Christmas holidays in Arichat, Cape Breton.
Christmas in this small, Acadian town with this large and boisterous family revolves around three essential components: exaggerated story telling, extensive card playing, and enough food to last until spring.
Chad, sitting on an ottoman, joyfully playing with my fiancés family cat, the infamous “Meow-Meows” would listen intently to personal anecdotes and stories—no matter his interest in the subject matter. Likely fresh off an athletic or academic accomplishment, Chad would never derail the conversation to focus on himself; never diminish your mundane news; never even look down at his phone.
Chad’s calm and engaged demeanor extended to the card table. Through constant jabs and shouts of, “What were you thinking? Why would you play THAT card?” Chad’s response would merely be a smirk and reply of, “Ah, we’ll get ‘em next time.”
Chad’s extended family love each other dearly, and this is perhaps most evident by the abundance of food they make and share with one another. While he graciously accepted any food a ‘taunt’ or ‘oncle’ prepared, he rarely ate desserts. Instead, Chad was never far from a container of sour jujubes; a fruit-flavoured candy he couldn’t get in the United States. Lamenting to himself, you could hear Chad say, “Oh no, I shouldn’t” before grabbing another handful.
It took me several Christmas visits to realize the full extent of Chad’s achievements and talents—because his humble, genuine presence outweighed his athleticism and intelligence. Even without full knowledge of his impressive accomplishments, his character was indisputable. His kindness, unmatched; his positivity, unwaning; and his love of family, immeasurable.
I started the Concord (NH) Criterium (first event was a three-day stage race) and other training series’ back ‘in the day.’ We were deep in with team and race formation/ promotion and work with Kinnon Laramee, Dick Ring and so many other contributors and the sustaining community that loves this exciting high-speed grit demanding sport.
The Young family is in hearts and prayers of this worldwide community. May they know how much we grieve with them. Many, many thousands of us.
Andrew Hemesath — Teammate
I met Chad through collegiate cycling and being in a class or two together at Colorado School of Mines. It was the spring season of 2015 and Chad and I were part of the self-proclaimed “Dreamiest Team” in collegiate cycling along with Kit Recca, Edwin Supple, Nic Jimenez and Taylor Schmidt. Chad and I had spent the spring finishing 2nd and 3rd at race after race. It happened so frequently we started joking that Mines was good, but only podium good, not top step good.
After finishing the collegiate season, Chad continued racing for CCB and I kept racing for The Colorado Collective. It was the end of July, Chad had killed it at Nationals and earned a stagiaire spot with Axeon for the US Pro Challenge in August. It was the weekend of the Salida Classic and he couldn’t make it to the Friday afternoon Time Trial because of work and because he only owned a noisy scooter that maxed out around 40 mph and would never make it to the mountains with a bike strapped on the back. So I picked him up Saturday afternoon and we drove west for the crit. The race didn’t go remarkably well for either of us, but our friend and my teammate, Andrew Clemence, made the podium and I wanted to stick around and get a photo of the podium. Chad was worried about the upcoming USPC and wanted to get in some extra KJs before bed so he decided to ride most of the way up Monarch Pass back to our our hotel. Right after the podium finished Chad reappeared saying he had made it half way up the pass before realizing how hungry he was and could we go to dinner as soon as possible.
Post dinner we stopped at the local Safeway for some snacks to prep for the road race the next morning. I grabbed some Oreos for that night and some Pop Tarts for the next morning. Chad indulged in the bakery section, he bought one donut. He was reveling in its delicious sweetness the entire walk out of the store and was down to his last bite as I was firing up the Subaru. He looked at me and said “I’m really looking forward to this last bite, it’s going to be amazing.” I looked at him and moved to swat the donut out his hand. I never meant to actually hit it, it was only a joke, but I swatted that last bit out his hand and onto my dirt caked floor mats. His face was pure shock. I immediately began apologizing while laughing hysterically. He picked up the donut, showed it to me and then tossed it in the bag we were using for trash and said, “Thanks Andrew.” I offered to buy him another, but he didn’t want another donut, he wanted his donut. We drove up the pass, piled in a hotel room with another 3 people and got some sleep before the early morning start.
The Salida Road Race is a good one, steep climb every lap, a very small section of dirt, twisting descent, and plenty of windy flats. Chad was on another level that day, he wanted to be in the break and was more than willing to force it. After 2 laps of attacking the climb, attacking the descent, attacking it all, he got away alone. I bridged up with Fabio Calibrio and we formed a three man group. It was such a good day racing with Chad again, being at the front of a race with Chad again. The pace jumped every time he hit the front for hours and with two and a half laps to he attacked us on the climb I tried to follow, but didn’t have anything close to legs for it. I drifted back to Fabio, he said, “We’ll get him back”, I knew we wouldn’t. Chad beat me by two and a half minutes and the field by over five. It meant a lot to stand next to him on that podium, I was very proud of my friend for the racing he had done and the racing he was going to do. Somewhere between doping control and the car Chad managed to lose his Garmin. “At least I’ve got this prize money,” he said “it’s enough for a new Garmin!” It was a beautiful drive back to Denver through the Rocky Mountains, I don’t remember what we talked about, but I’m glad we had time to race, and to talk.
Evan Young — Chad’s brother
There are many ways to experience the beauty that this earth and life itself have to offer. Chad chose cycling. It brought him to places he thought he’d never go and facilitated friendships with some truly exemplary people. From the NH seacoast to Southern Californina (and everywhere in-between), to the Rockies, the Alps, the Mediterranean, up every little alley and lane – anywhere and everywhere he had a bike, Chad biked.
Despite being four years older, in recent years, I’ve found myself looking up to Chad in many ways. His work-ethic and determination to achieve greatness in every aspect of his life were inspiring. He never asked for anything more than he needed (have any of you seen his old scooter?!). He was quicker to demonstrate his humility than to than his knowledge although it always shone through. He was constantly learning.
Today, I grieve for everything Chad will never have the opportunity to become while I remain thankful that he lived his life to the absolute fullest.
I remember having breakfast with Dylan McNicholas and Chad one sunny morning at the Big Bean in Newmarket. They were going on about threshold and wattage and loving the “burn”. I said something to the effect of “Ya, I usually just slow down when it starts to hurt.” And they laughed and laughed. Chad really did love the burn though. Around that time, Chad brought me on my longest ride ever, a circuit of Mt. Desert Island with an ascent of Cadillac Mountain halfway through (50 miles!). This trip was one of the rare occasions I pushed through the pain, but as we were nearing the end my legs just gave up, despite Chad’s reminders to eat and hydrate throughout the ride. He pulled up close behind me, grabbed my seat and pushed me, on my bike, up hills and across the flats all the way back to the car. For the first time, I heard him at work – he was breathing hard, his heart rate was up, but he still had energy for his infectious laugh. After he delivered me to the car, he went back out to get me an ice cream, then drove the four hours home, with me passed out in the passenger seat. I’m just devastated that he will never be there again to give a word of encouragement or a helping hand when life gets hard.
For Chad’s cycling friends, professional or otherwise, I leave you with the following story. The morning after Chad returned home for Christmas break a couple of months ago, his daily workout was on his mind. Rather than go through the trouble of unpacking and rebuilding his bike, he just asked if he could use mine for the day – a Kestrel – which used to be his until CCB gave his something more fit for purpose. “Sure” I might have said, “I have a motorcycle now. I didn’t go on a single ride all year!” (Imagine this said with an air of extreme self-importance and superiority). So, off he went to the garage only to return a minute later. “Evan, I can’t use that bike. The chain is so dirty and rusty that it snags every half turn. Chains need maintenance!”
The very first thing that I did on Monday morning after his crash was to get that bike off its hook, take off the chain, soak it in Simple Green, and scrub the shit out of it with a wire brush. Then I dried and oiled it, put it back on the bike, and went out for a ride. Not a long one, mind you, since I’m out of shape, but if he wasn’t going to be able to get back on his bike, I was going to have to do it for him. Bad things happen to good people, however if the roles were reversed and Chad was still here mourning the loss of one of his friends, nothing could keep him from the bike or the competition that he loved so much.
Chad, I know I never said it enough over the last nearly 22 years, but I love you. I’m sorry I never found time to visit you in Colorado, or to travel with you to all of the far away places you dreamed of going. But I know you will be with me in spirit when I do those things for the two of us, and I can’t wait till we meet again.
I had known of Chad since I started racing back in late 2013. He was the first bike racer that I really thought, ‘I hope that one day I can be like him.’ I remember when he got the opportunity to race the USA Pro Challenge with Axeon a few years ago and the New England cycling community was beyond pumped for him, so much so that the hashtag #ChadWatch became a “thing” that week. Fast-forward to last summer; Chad had returned home and registered for the Massachusetts road race championships near the aptly-named state park of Purgatory. I decided that I’d introduce myself to him because he seemed like a nice guy and someone that I definitely looked up to. I did, and I realized that ‘nice guy’ only touched upon who he was. I expected him to say ‘hi’ and maybe talk a bit about his racing, but Chad didn’t seem to care about what happened to him in the race that day or where he was traveling to next. He wanted to know how I had done, what my goals were, and what I was looking forward to in the future. Two minutes turned into 5 and 5 into 10 and yet he never wavered in his encouragement and enthusiasm in hearing someone else share his love for racing. And it seems that I’m far from the only person on which he made such an impression on. I think, in the end, the hashtag going around on social media, #BeLikeChad, really sums up who he was.
I could never have imagined how hard it would be to lose a member of our right community the way it has been losing Chad. My deepest condolences go out to his family, his friends, and the entire cycling community. It’s a crazy sport, one that we put so much into, and one that can also take so much away.
Ride on Chad.
Chris Onken — Teacher
I knew Chad while he was a student at the middle school in Maine where I still teach. I didn’t teach Chad, but our school was one that allows teachers and students to come in contact with each other outside of the classroom. I don’t have anything new to add to the remembrances already given – but can echo all of them. Even when Chad was 13 or 14 he was already the same kind, generous, hard working kid who developed into such a wonderful man. He gave a jump roping demonstration for an assembly one day that absolutely staggered the entire school. It certainly redefined what jump roping could be. Chad left our school the next year – but he would still show up for sports games and other school events – as the years went on he would show up on his bike. He never let go of the good friends he made and they all loved him right back. The news of his passing has hit me like a freight train.
Simone Samson — Cousin
Chad you were incredibly smart. As Jacques (my brother) pointed out, you built your own toys, including your very own drone, Evan told me. You were kind to everyone unless “super smash bros”was involved. Driven like no other… I mean who could bike 100+ miles a day if not you and love every minute of it? Any obstacle there was you plowed through, not an impossibility but a challenge, you made it seem so easy, when anyone else would have given up. National jump rope champion (check), pro cycling (check), engineer (check), and 21 years young.
Well Chad, when we see you again, I look forward to hearing all the incredible things you’re doing with Meme and the rest of the crew.
Chad you were and always will be, a beautiful awe-inspiring soul. I love you.
Lisa Boudreau — Aunt
When I read all the wonderful sharing of Chad’s life through these stories, it makes me think of the saying, ‘It takes a whole community to raise a child’.
It’s obvious that Chad’s personality was what stood out and what people first noted about him. He was genuine and good, many children are. But, it’s when someone else recognizes goodness and helps to hone it and feed it that it’s brought forward, and in Chad’s life many people had the opportunity to do so and did. He got what he needed just when he needed it. Being a good student, he recognized goodness too and in turn ‘payed it forward’. From his parents and family, to his friends, teachers, coaches and teammates, everyone played their part to shape him into who he became.
He loved spending time with his cousins and listening to the crazy conversations and heated debates over nothing which normally dominated every family gathering. He would sit quietly and smile when Uncle Cliff fired off in one of his rants or he realized someone had misplayed at cards. He loved his Cape Breton vacations and it was not uncommon for each member of the Young family to arrive to Isle Madame, each with their own vehicle to ensure that they could maximize their time here.
Growing up in a very large extended family means competing for attention and to be heard but Chad was rarely one of those that took the center stage in a social setting, unless it was for the benefit of someone else. If it was to be funny or entertaining then he was there, otherwise, he would give a small comment and a big smile and simply enjoy the moment.
He carried this modest trait in everything he did. He rarely spoke of his cycling achievements but it was clearly a passion that dominated his life. I recall during one family vacation to the Madeleine Islands, (many of us excited about doing a little cycling and most of us ill prepared to do so), how, on the second day of our time there, Chad had already cycled every nook and cranny and was prepared to leave. He was like a wild animal in a cage that was way too small, he needed to have a larger space to run. Now, it’s an 8-hour ferry ride from Prince Edward Island to the Madeleine Islands, it’s a preplanned commitment with reserved ferry crossings to get there and he just couldn’t stay one minute longer. It was the only time in his entire life that I witnessed him insist on having it his way. I think he would have swam back to PEI and then Cape Breton if he would have had too!
Such was his passion and commitment to cycling.
Chad was very fortunate to have had many experiences others could only dream of and he was aware and humble enough to realize it. He never took it for granted, he worked extremely hard to continue to deserve every opportunity he was given and loved every minute of it.
It’s a very sad time for us. We have lost one of our clan, one of the precious young ones and although no parent should have to bury their child, it happens way too often. We can only take comfort in knowing that although he lived a short life, he lived it to the fullest, was loved and knew it.
Whenever I attend a funeral, I always wait for the final blessing…
Dear friends, May every mark of affection And every gesture of friendship that you give to others be a sign of God’s peace for you.
Thank you Chad for being so generous with yourself and for helping to make the time spent with others meaningful and memorable. We love you and miss you and you will forever have a place in our hearts.
I got to know Chad during his time working in a summer internship with my employer in Lakewood. Chad worked for 10 weeks with us on the development of a new product design for our environmental test equipment line and aside from being a terrific, aspiring mechanical engineer, I can attest that Chad was just a wonderful, charismatic and engaging young man.
I got to know Chad during this time and discovered that he was a native of my old hometown of Newmarket, NH, where I lived and raised my kids for 14 years before moving to Colorado. Small world huh?
I saw a lot of my own kids in Chad – kids that come from small towns everywhere; an innate sense of self, a love of life, a maturity level beyond his years; a young man filled with determination and a friendliness that overcomes all adversity. Chad was charged up when he was selected to join the Axeon team, and for good reason. He was getting an opportunity to live his dream, and I couldn’t have been more happy for him. Frankly, I found myself just drawn into his orbit, and my desire to see him succeed. He deserved so much!
I followed Chad throughout the US Pro Challenge and other races he was in by using any media outlet I could find that had news of him. Maybe now I can admit that this older, heavier rider in me was living a little vicariously through him.
The last time we spoke was the time I saw an ad in Velonews for Honey Stinger waffles (Gluten free edition) that pictured a smiling Chad holding the only energy snack I use when I ride today. I laughed and contacted him and we planned on getting together for lunch, or even a ride (which frightened me a little with my inability to keep up) but we just couldn’t connect our two schedules.
My heart goes out to the Young family. I cannot comprehend your loss, but know that my thoughts are with all of you now and always. Chad will live on long in my memories.
Angela Boudreau – family
Our sister Lois is a special person; she is of strong character, friendly, considerate, ambitious, responsible and very hard working; in both her professional and personal life. And she met her equal in Kevin. She is the only one of our family of six siblings to marry a guy from away. The only one to move away from our little island we call home, living and raising her kids in the US. However, it was always very important to her that her two boys know their Canadian roots and their Acadian culture, as well as their American heritage. Since Evan was a baby, Lois would come with them for summer vacations and most all Christmas holidays, sometimes with Kevin, sometimes just her and the boys. It was always fun to get together. The boys were remarkably polite and well mannered, which we joked were traits most definitely from the American side. Chad was always happiest simply belonging, being a part of a larger group. Very selfless and lovable.
Lois and Kevin gave Evan and Chad the best of both worlds; the opportunities and encouragement they needed to grow and thrive. So it is not by accident that Chad was the great person we all know and love. God gave him his sweet, lovable nature. His parents nurtured him along the way, and he had his older brother whom he admired and loved. He was happy in life.
Within the past year, the family had come to Canada for a visit. We were gathering at Tante Paulette’s. Chad had come in wearing a t-shirt with Axeon on it. I asked him “what’s this on your t¬shirt, Axe On, what does it mean?”, he looked straight at me, put on a slow, huge smile and said “no, it’s pronounced Action and it’s my cycling team”. Very proud of his team, very patient of his aunt’s totally missing it, very gracious, always.
Between the Youngs and the Samsons, Chad was surrounded by a huge family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I know every one of us count ourselves very fortunate that he has been a part of our families. And from this we will gather our strength and carry on, through the very tough times, to easier days of warm feelings and tender memories. We will always carry him in our hearts.
I live in Hampton NH, a couple of towns over from where Chad grew up. I am 41 with 2 young kids. Love to ride, still ride every day (almost), did my fair share of cat 4 racing. Wannabe is a good way to describe myself. All the love of the sport, none of the talent. In 2010 and 2011 I was doing the Exeter cycles wed rides on and off where Chad first appeared. So he was 15 or so when I first met him on those rides. In 2011 I was doing the Killington Stage Race. I read Tim Mitchell’s story (above) on Chad’s first Killington stage Race…and can fill in some of the behind the scenes of Chad in that race. I spent all weekend next to him racing (well until he pulled away of course) Cat 4’s.
First funny thing that happened… Day 1. Chad appears next to me in the pack after disappearing for a bit. He says “Oh man, that was a heck of a chase back on. I flatted. But this front Zipp wheel I got from support is sick! I don’t want to give it back it feels so nice!!!.” I will never forget the smile and the way he said it..just so full of joy and he kept looking down at the front wheel getting out of the saddle, rocking the front end back and forth totally loving the “feel”. It was like he could not get over how nice it rode. I am not sure he ever looked up at the road again once he had that wheel on his bike!
The next day at the TT, we meet up before the race itself and he is kind of like “is the start this way?” in his bobble head TT helmet as Tim Mitchell put it. Yep…let’s roll over…as we are riding he says “oh I adjusted my seat last night, slid it really far forward and it feels kind of funny.” Okay..do you want to adjust it? “Yeah, that would be good”. So we get to the tent, get him some tools. Total fumble fest trying to adjust the seat. Of course, nothing is easy right before the start of a TT. Then he wants to get on the trainer to warm up. The rear skewer does not match up to the trainer, why would it? So I swap the rear skewer out for him after the bike slips off the trainer once. I mean it’s like pure comedy. He gets on the trainer finally, about 3 minutes worth of spinning and I say I need to line up, he looks at the clock and says “Oh man, I do too!” Okay, let’s swap that rear skewer again, can’t forget that! So all of that…and his time was up. That entire scene would make a great comical YouTube video on how not to spend 15 minutes before your TT start.
I go out ahead of him by 2 or 3 riders. I look back at some point and say to myself, ‘you have got to be kidding me.’ He is bearing down on me like I am standing still. He came by me and the look on his face under that TT helmet. He looked like a man (or a kid) absolutely possessed as Phil or Paul might call it. I still have never seen anything like it. He was so inside out. To see a kid that young, with that much focus. That moment has been burned into my brain ever since. All that fumbling around before hand and when it was go-time he brought it all back together, found his center and just completely dominated the moment.
I can remember one of the days after one of the races I was randomly driving on east Mountain road ( a very steep road, the final climb of the final day), and there he was…descending the road for fun. Just a huge grin on his face. A kid in love with riding his bike and the relationship it has with gravity. I followed in my truck…and just watched. In my mind it made me feel young again just watching the joy he had on his face and in his body language. I will never forget it. I lived in Killington for many years before moving to NH. Every time I am up there I always think about him and that weekend. Now so, the thoughts will be even greater.
Chad and I were not “close” as one would say but we did spend those 3 days together on the road, sharing that race and all of its experiences. I think right there is where the Magic of Chad exists. Even if you were not close to him he left a huge impression on you and you could not help but feel really good after spending time with him. Rest easy Chad, you don’t have to give that front Zipp wheel back. It is now yours forever.
Dan Conway — Friend
I met Chad in 2011 during his first season racing bikes, when he and my wife Diane shared a season on the same team, Raleigh New England / Gus Bikes. He had just discovered cycling, bought his first cross bike and was already getting spots on the podium in his first races. As the spouse of a racer and team supporter, I had time to spend with Chad either getting ready for, cheering for, or cooling down from races. Beyond his obvious talents on the bike, I could tell right away that he was someone special, the type of young man that as a parent of younger kids, I hoped my kids would emulate: smart, strong, considerate, funny, disciplined and focused. After that season his skills got him swept up in increasingly higher levels of junior development squads, and I followed his accomplishments from afar. He made us here in New Hampshire proud to call him a native son, and never failed to make an impression on everyone he met. Almost everyone I know in our local cycling community has their own Chad story, and he lives on in our hearts.
We will continue to update this post as stories come in. Please check back for more, and if you have a story you’d like to tell, email the author, Caley Fretz.