Leaving a Trail
Last Saturday, BMX racers from around Georgia gathered at Chehaw Park for the first state qualifier of 2011. Racers of all ages sped up and down the berms and dirt tabletops. Yet, they didn't know the time it took, or the man that dedicated his time to building that track. Jim Laue.
"He was one of a kind. He believed in hard work and if you did the work it would get you where you needed to be. He was a great man. He would do anything for anybody and he tried to see the good in everybody," Laue's grandson Terrell Hoffman said.
Laue saw the good from the races last weekend just like he has since the beginning of Albany BMX in 1997. But this year he wasn't watching from that red, wooden official's post. He was watching from a higher station. Jim Laue died October 19th, 2010 from a stroke.
However, Laue left behind a legacy in the bicycling community of Southwest Georgia.
It started with his local motorcycle parts shop, Cycle World, in 1983. As more people came to Cycle World asking about BMX racing, Laue had to change speeds. He transformed the store into a one-stop road bike shop for all of Albany.
"They came to him. He loved to help everybody so that's what he did. He was like, "Yeah, no problem"," Hoffman said.
In 1997, he did the ultimate for the BMX-er's. He built them their own track...with his own special type of style.
"I remember him out shoveling dirt. A lot of people they just contribute money but Jim wasn't a money person...he did that. But he was also hands on...let's get in the dirt...whatever it took. He was real passionate about getting this track started up," Chehaw Track President Tommy Knight said.
That passion was not forgotten after his death, and will be remembered by BMX racers in Albany for many years to come.
All state qualifying races at Chehaw will be dedicated to the remembrance of Jim Laue. Last Saturday, was the 1st Annual Jim Laue State Qualifier.
"For them to come to us and ask us if that was ok...that really meant a lot," Hoffman said.
What meant a lot to Laue were the people he helpedâ|not the recognition he received for his work.
"If it was worth itâ|If he knew it was for a good cause and he knew what they were doing was good for everybody else. He was right there with it. He did so much that nobody knew about," Hoffman remarked.
Laue's impact will be felt for years. Before his death, Laue worked with Dougherty County to provide more bicycling lanes through the city. Currently, the only bike lane in Albany is on Gillionville Road, and Laue's family said they plan to continue working with the county to build more lanes.
"It's crazy because even though he's not here there's still stuff going on that we didn't know about...so it's really cool that he's done all that," Hoffman said.