Jim Edfors and Kristi Kenning’s brother, Kraig, got to know each other even before Jim started dominating Kristi’s attention. What Kraig failed to mention to his companion musician was that his sister could not carry a tune. It was too late. Jim was smitten. Kristi filled in quite a few niches in Jim’s life (like her ability to attract and nurture friendships) that more than made up for her lack of accurate pitch while singing.
That was more than obvious at her memorial ride this last weekend. Jim’s and Kristi’s friends gathered to memorialize Jim’s late wife and their late friend. There were both plenty of tears and plenty of laughter experienced among people who knew her- whether they were professional acquaintances, casual friends, neighbors or those who shared time with her on the bicycle. Many of the latter met her in a spin class at the YMCA or on the roads like the climb up Lookout Mountain.
Kristi grew up in a northern suburb of Chicago. At the University of Southern Illinois, she majored in sales and business. The character trait that “you could hear her coming” worked well for her in the business field of medical journal sales. Her district of business interest was predominantly in the western states, so, after a divorce and a time living with her brother, she moved to Colorado to be with her brother’s buddy, Jim. Kraig gained a musical brother-in-law to make up for having a geographically more distant sister.
Her cycling started when she overcame breast cancer in 1997-1998 and began to participate in triathlons sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She became an athletic breast cancer survivor. A person who gave seminars regarding bicycle mechanics for that group is her now forever friend, Ricardo. Soon they became cycling buddies and when Kristi would attempt to refresh Ricardo’s memory about a song, he would encourage her to keep singing the words because he knew that she would (humorously) never be able to stay on key. He also knew that she would keep singing because words were her medium, even if the melody was not.
The year 2008 forced Jim out of the entertainment business into being a golf pro. Even then, Kristi did not become a golf widow and Jim did not become a cycling widower because their friends were mutual friends. For Kristi’s friends, Jim never hesitated to become a “Bike Sherpa” and the person who knew which wine to order if the group traveled to the western slope of the Rockies or Northern California for a ride.
Ultimately her friends gathered to express their sense of loss, their loss of friendship, their loss of a cycling buddy, but most of all their loss of a friend who, when told that she could cycle faster if she didn’t talk so much, responded “But then, what is the point?”. Her reason for riding was not only the physical workout, but to spend time with and to connect to the people who became her lifelong friends.
Her friends and family miss her voice…..but mostly they miss her.