As we enter into this PBP year, full of excitement and anticipation, we must take a moment to respect the memory of a great American randonneur. Jim Konski, founder of International Randonneurs and arguably founder of American randonneuring itself, died on Tuesday, December 17, 2002. Jim was 85 years old and died from complications from a stroke.
A native New Yorker, Jim served in the Marine Corps in WWII and in the Reserves until 1977, when he retired as a Major. A graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia and the American Military University, Jim was a civil engineer by trade. He founded and led his own engineering company, Konski Engineers. He was an active professional and a past Vice President of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Jim was a life long cyclist and caught the randonneuring bug in the early 70's. In 1975 he made his first attempt at PBP, founded the Onondaga Cycling Club of Syracuse, New York and founded International Randonneurs (IR). He returned again to PBP in 1979 and finally succeeded in getting his PBP medal in 1983. Jim headed IR throughout the 80's and 90's giving impetus and direction to US randonneuring.
In the late 90's Jim suffered from failing health and this ultimately impacted IR and US randonnuering, leading to the founding of Randonneurs USA in 1998. So as we begin this new year and ride the PBP qualifying brevets, let's remember Jim Konski, who led the way. Bonne route et adieu, Jim.