COOL/FAMOUS PEOPLE WE'VE KNOWN
Encounters with living legends + memorials to those who have passed on...

Click on linked names or thumbnail pictures for photos or galleries.

 


Dan Goese with Bill Walton
& Mark Stephan
Bill Walton & Mark Stephan

The Inlaws (40+ Years!):
Gallagher Family

Lauren Gallagher & Dan (1992):
Lauren Gallagher & Dan Goese

George Hincapie & Dan (2008)
George Hincapie & Dan Goese

Dan & Andy Hampsten (2009)
Andy Hampsten & Dan Goese (2009)
& in Tuscany in 2014:
Andy Hampsten & Dan Goese

Dan & Floyd Landis (2007):
Dan Goese & Floyd Landis

Lisa Thompson & George Hincapie (2006):
Lisa Thompson, George Hincapie, Dan Goese

Dan & Katie with David Byrne:
Dan Goese, David Byrne, Katie Gallagher

Dan with Steven Flack (Died 2006):
Dan Goese & Steven Flack

Steve Buscemi & Dan:

Dan, Martina McBride, John McBride:
Dan Goese with Martina & John McBride

Dan & Floyd Landis (2006):
Dan Goese & Floyd Landis

Dan Goese & Bob Roll (2006):
Dan Goese & Bob Roll

Dan & grizzly Bear Roll (2007):
Bob Roll

Dan & Chris Horner (2010):
Chris Horner & Dan Goese
(Photo by Mark Johnson of Ironstring.)

Dan & Gordy Shields (2010):

Dan & Neal Shirley (2010):

 

 

Of course the coolest person I've ever met is Katie Gallagher. Since my first date with her on August 19, 1976 I've been the luckiest guy alive. Somehow I tricked her into marrying me and having three amazing children with me. She may not be the most familiar to you readers, but I'm sure you can understand why placing her at the top of this list might score me some points.


Why not top our list of "famous" cool people we've hung out with with a fellow cyclist, famous athlete (go Bruins!), and all-around nice guy? I'm talking about Bill Walton. Yeah, he's a famous basketball player, but he really loves cycling. I've met Bill several times on the bike, and my wife and I have dined with him and his wife. Every time you meet him, he'll say, "Hi, I'm Bill Walton," as if you don't already know who he is. He is generous with his time, as evidenced in the photo here when he posed with me and a friend of our Chicago-area friends (Jeanne & Rob Schoder) named Mark Stephan. This 2012 photo was taken at the west coast launch of the Stephan Challenge across the country. If you knew Mark's story, you'd understand why I wanted to include Mark in this picture and list of cool people, too. Mark is a fellow cyclist and an inspiration to many, just as Bill Walton is. Bill and I escorted Mark for many miles at the start of his self-powered, cross-country journey. If you ride your bike enough in San Diego, you'll eventually bump into Bill Walton. He's hard to miss.

Bob Roll, the professional cyclist, author and very entertaining commentator for professional cycling events like the Tour de France was visiting a local bike shop in January of 2006. I wasn't ready to let him have my Italian motorcyle jacket, but I did buy one of his books. Unlike some celebrities, Bob is the same in person as he is on TV...relaxed, funny and personable. Here's a picture from a ride we did in San Diego in 2007.

When my friend Lisa Thompson and I met the 2006 National Champion and 11-time Tour de France cyclist & superhero George Hincapie in December of 2006, he said that Bob Roll is his favorite cycling commentator. "Big George" lived up to his reputation as a great yet humble gentleman. Among the stories he told, he explained how Floyd Landis helped him meet a French goddess with kaleidoscope eyes named Melanie who ultimately became George's wife. In 2008 (then again in 2011) I spent 3 days riding around South Carolina with George, his brother Rich, and his dad Ricardo. With the autumn colors in full glory and perfect weather, these were some of the nicest weekends of cycling I've every experienced. (Georgie's family clothing business is here.)

Speaking of Floyd Landis, the "original" 2006 Tour de France winner—just as Lance Armstrong was the "original" winner of 7 Tours de France—came to the velodrome in San Diego where my son Mickey and I met him in December of 2006. Other cycling stars there included Dave Zabriskie, Sarah Hammer (world champion track cyclist), Bob Roll, Robbie Ventura and many more. Here's a picture from a ride we did in San Diego in 2007. While Floyd was regarded as such a "cheat" for a while there, it's clear now that he was the one who really—most effectively—tore down the false castle that Lance built. Now he, Greg Lemond, and Tyler Hamilton can be credited with bringing truth to the sport of cycling, rather than being labeled only as "sore losers."

On another local ride–this one called the "Alpine Challenge"–the only American to ever win the Giro d'Italia was joining in for the second year (2009) in a row. Andy Hampsten is a great, humble athlete. He's also one of the few, brave cyclists who chose NOT to dope as the EPO doping era reared its ugly head. Someday, another American will win the Giro d'Italia, but it's unlikely to be as amazing as the win that Andy pulled off in an incredible snow storm in the unpredictable, high passes of this Italian grand tour. Andy now runs his own touring company (Cinghiale Cycling Tours) and I asked if he raced anymore. Before effortlessly floating up the next grueling climb, he said, "No...those guys are way too fast..." This was clearly a humble and polite way of saying he wasn't that interested in racing anymore, because he clearly has the legs to win some masters races. In 2014 my wife and I joined Andy and his wife Elaine and many other awesome cyclists for several days of majestic rides in Tuscany. I liked it so much I did the same tour in the fall of 2017. See 2017 pics here. See 2014 tour pics here.

Rounding out the cycling legends hanging out in San Diego, several of us SDBC members had dinner in November of 2010 with Chris Horner and Neal Shirley. As Californians we're particularly familiar with his big win of the 2011 Tour of California, and I was especially sad to see him crash out of the 2011 Tour de France with such great form and a head injury not unlike my big, cat-killing head bang. Chris often trains in the San Diego area and is quick to wave back if you see him out on the road. I think he's forgiven SDBC for rejecting his interest in becoming an elite team racer for the club (long before he became a grand tour winner). Neal has also trained and raced locally, and since those days he landed a gig writing and testing bikes for Road Bike Action Magazine. (Of course I'm jealous.) He's such a friendly cool guy, so I'm very happy for him. Both he and Chris have joined SDBC in rides or banquets or whatever, blending in with the rest of us "bike enthusiasts."

Martina McBride wasn't sure why her husband John needed to be in the picture with us, since she did all the singing and I paid for the party (back in my "corporate" days at HP when the budgets were bursting at the seams). Maybe he didn't feel safe leaving her alone with a dork from San Diego dressed up like a cowboy wannabe. But rest assured, that is John's hand on her, not mine. It was such a great priviledge to have her sing for such a small group during our sales meeting in March 1997 at the Grand Ole Opry, even if my international guests didn't quite appreciate how cool this was. See Martina's own site here. Some avid fans of Martina's have actually copied this photo (along with my short story behind it) to some Martina fan sites.

Thanks to my lil' sister Mimi and her husband David Whitehead, we've met a number of cool people (her friends) that we usually just admire from afar...

  • Steve Buscemi most recently of his HBO series called "Boardwalk" (at Mimi's wedding; and no, it's NOT pronounced Bu "SHemi). More about the wild character can be found here.
  • David Byrne of "Talking Heads" fame, after a great concert at 4th&B in San Diego circa 2001; I just noticed as I put these pictures in here that I was wearing the same shirt in both pictures. (I really do change my clothes now & then.) Earlier that day we also met with David as he finished a bike ride around San Diego. Visit David's site here.

 

Memorials

My wife Katie's sister Lauren was definitely a cool person. She died at a young age from a very uncool monster called cancer, and her friends and family (including her two wonderful daughters Claire & Margot) dearly miss her.

My old friend Steven Flack was one of the most adventurous people I've ever known. This picture of him shows the two of us on the day [July 14th, 2005] I climbed up the Torrey Pines hill fifty times. (That was 165 miles total, and over 20,000 vertical feet of climbing. The sign in the background says forty times, but I decided a few days before the ride that "50" sounded better.) This ride took me from dawn past dusk. Steven stopped by to ride a number of "laps" up and down the hill on his bike with me. Then, well into the evening, as I was finishing the 50th climb, Steven stopped by in his convertible and gave me a lit, "motor escort" all the way up the hill...cheering me on the whole way with motivational music blaring. This is just one example of how enthusiastic and supportive my old friend, co-worker and riding buddy was. Steven was stranded by a big storm and died while climbing Mt. Whitney in late February, 2006. (Click here for a story that highlights Steven's enthusiasm and valued friendship.)

Robin Williams was one of the great entertainers of our time and an especially cool guy because he was even more insane about bicycling than I am. He reportedly had hundreds of bicycles. Also, you've probably seen him on the Tour de France coverage. More importantly, he was a big supporter of athletes who are living with challenges the rest of us can barely appreciate. He came several times to La Jolla for the Challenged Athletes Foundation's (CAF) San Diego Triathlon. When I was riding up to meet a friend riding in the 2005 triathlon, I saw Robin Williams heading for Torrey Pines hill. This is one of my favorite local climbs. (I rode up it 50 times on July 14th of 2005 just to see if I could.) It was interesting to catch the celebrity riding by himself. He wasn't terribly talkative (most people aren't when they're climbing a hill near the end of a 50-mile ride), but still very gracious about letting me ride alongside, welcoming me to do most of the talking for him. I just wanted to let him know how fun it was to go for a short ride with him and and also let him know how great it is that he keeps coming back for the CAF triathlon every year. After seeing the coverage in the paper for so many years, it was a kick to be riding with "the man" up the hill.

My father-in-law, Bob Gallagher Sr., was a great inspiration to me for the 30 years that I knew him. In this 1977 picture, he's shown with the whole family on a trip to Europe right around the time Katie and I started dating. Bob Gallagher Sr. was an incredible optimist, businessman, and family man. As a philanthropist, his legacy will live on for many years, as he has put his hard-earned fortune into a foundation that will continue to help poor, inner-city kids get a good education and a chance to become great contributors to society.

At that dinner in 2010 I told Chris Horner that I am very impressed with him as a cyclist, but told him of another, even MORE inspirational rider in the room named Gordy Shields. Gordy had been a huge advocate for bike paths and other aspects of cycling in San Diego for decades. Gordy's big goal at that point in his amazing life was to become the ONLY HUMAN to ever complete a 20 km time trial in the 95+ category. Gordy achieved his goal, setting national and world bike racing records in the 80/85/90/95+ age groups. He died in the summer of 2013 and will remain an inspiration for me and so many others for decades to come.