D’Arcy Burke - November 2, 1971 – July 24, 2020
This past summer our dear friend and Chromag Family member, D’Arcy Burke, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. He was just 48 yrs old. We’ve paid tribute to him over the past few months with many rides and small gatherings of friends, but we wanted to share his story with you as we continue to process the loss we are feeling from his passing.
D’Arcy moved to Whistler from Victoria, BC in 1989. He had a lengthy career at Whistler Blackcomb as the Grooming Supervisor on Whistler Mountain. During the winter months, D’Arcy drove snowcats at night and shredded powder during the day. He knew Whistler inside and out and it was always a pleasure to follow him to his favourite stashes.
Spring, summer and fall were all about mountain biking for D’Arcy. He was a huge part of the mountain bike community in Whistler and was the driving force behind our Friday Rides. D’Arcy was our man with a plan. He was the guy who rounded us up and laid out the agenda for our rides with consideration for conditions, timing and directions to make the most of each adventure. He was a route finder and would always remember small details to identify junctions and guide us the next time around. You’d get to some random spot in the middle of nowhere and D’Arc would be like…’we turn left here, then drop down into that gully over there’.
As with everything he did, D’Arcy was thoughtful, measured and practical, yet still a bit wild. He had the stamina to ride all day, and rejoice and reminisce into the night. With D’Arc, you’d be confident that the mission ahead was worth the effort and his yodels, hoots and commentary along the way charged the spirit of every ride!
“Of most epic adventures I’ve had on a bike, from midnight departures, uncharted mountain passes, or threading our way through multiple trails connected through the valley, D’Arcy was the one responsible for the plan, the guidance, and the enthusiasm that made each one happen.” - Ian Ritz
D’Arcy was an exceptional bike mechanic, he was one of the best! After many summers working as a mechanic at Evolution Bike shop, he started working at Chromag in 2014 as our head mechanic. Over the years D’Arcy’s experience and insight contributed to the design and development of all our products.
“In the shop D’Arcy was a considerate mechanic who set the standards for our frame prep and assembly, ensuring consistent quality for our customers. He was happy to take the time with anyone picking up their new bike, helping them get setup and acquainted with their new bike. They would leave feeling confident that they’d been helped by an expert.” - Ian Ritz
D’Arcy is survived by his partner and the love of his life – Jeannette. They journeyed through his illness together as a team. During their regular visits to Chromag, they would update us on D’Arcy’s health and were very open about all the things he was experiencing. But their attitude was always very pragmatic. Amazingly they never seemed down or depressed about the situation.
Even through all their suffering, they still managed to reassure us. D’Arcy even managed to keep riding his bike up until a few weeks before he left us.
“On Sunday the 26th July, a group of D'Arcy's friends, old and new, rode an epic ride high above the Whistler-Pemberton corridor and spent a day in the mountains exploring and suffering that D'arcy himself would have been proud of. It was exactly the kind of ride that would have started with a brief phone call from D'arcy on the preceding evening, the only information being a meeting place, number of sandwiches and litres of water needed. Whenever I got those calls I knew it was going to be a day that I'd remember for the rest of my life…” - Ben Arnott
“D’Arcy Burke, I nicknamed you “The Dark One” which is so backwards because you are the brightest, lightest one. Thanks for being such a great friend, for the guidance in so many ways on and off the bike. Thanks for having my back and being part of my pack. Thanks for standing with me through hard times, good times – you are the most solid at all times… You invented the Friday Rides which have become a sacred staple in our lives, and you will ride on with us forever! I love you D’Arcy Burke.” - Julian Hine
“D'Arcy. So kind, so funny, so calm, so grounding. A gentle, caring soul. Understanding. Smart, skilled, resourceful, a leader you can trust. Someone you want to hang around. A true light. D'Arcy's here, we're fine.
Since you left work at Chromag, there has been a hole. Every day we miss your easy energy, your confidence in your work, your friendship, your jokes. I miss you coming back down from upstairs to save us all from scurvy with your infamous fruit plates. And, of course, all the rides.” - Claire Buchar
On September 1, a small group of D’Arcy’s friends headed up to do one of his favourite rides, Windy Pass in the Chilcotin Mountain Range. It was a special place for D’Arcy and he had requested to have some of his ashes spread there.
On September 7, there was a special tribute ride in Whistler for D’Arcy in the Jane Lakes area which he also really loved. Different tributes were set up along the way and it was a special day for all his friends in the mountain bike community to honour and remember him.
The Chromag tribute station: This is a 'prayer' that D'Arcy wrote for a Chromag owners ride a few years ago.
My name is D’Arcy Burke and I am a Bike-a-holic.
I started dabbling in biking in my youth in Mount Doug Park, Victoria. No one told me it could lead to harder biking. But I had tasted thrilling rock slabs and sweet loam, and I liked it.
I moved to Whistler to ski, and it was fun...but my first summer here I quickly succumbed to bike-a-holism.
I would hike through snow to be the first down every descent. I would ride five or six times a week. I would even try to ride most of the trails backwards just to see if I could climb the descents...I had a problem.
Fortunately, I was not alone. Ian Ritz suffered from the same affliction. We talked, and decided to start a support group. We called it The Friday Ride.
We thought if we got a late start, consumed mass quantities of caffeine and cholesterol- then embark on cycling adventures in the heat of the day, ours and many others’ bike-a-holism could be managed.
The program is working. I have been Friday Riding for twenty or so years and I am doing okay.
I have had incredible adventures and made the best of friends on the Friday Ride...Anyone is welcome to join us.
We only have one rule:
If you have to be somewhere later, you better not come because you will never make it on time- if at all.
If you can’t attend one of our meetings I encourage you to start your own support group.
And please bike responsibly.
By D’Arcy Burke
Below is the map from his tribute ride, you can click on the image to download it.
D’Arcy’s life and the impact he had on those who knew and loved him can’t be summarized in words alone. He is missed by all of us at Chromag. He is part of our story and we will always smile when we think of him, all the rides, all the adventures, all the laughter.
We love you D’Arcy, you are forever in our hearts.