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Mark Reynolds racing cyclocross in the rain at Lake Castaic. October 2000.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Vigil honors biker killed by cougar
'He had such a good heart,' says a friend about Mark Reynolds.

SAD: Kelsey Berry, 7, left, and her sister Brittany, 14, hold candles during a vigil Sunday in memory of Mark Reynolds. The vigil was held outside the gated apartment community in Foothill Ranch where he lived before he was killed by a mountain lion.
KEVIN SULLIVAN, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER


The Orange County Register

FOOTHILL RANCH A woman wept silently Sunday night during a candlelight vigil for her late next-door neighbor, Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds, 35, an expert mountain biker who worked as a manager for motocross athletes, was killed Thursday by a mountain lion while on a ride in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

"He was a people person - so polite, outgoing," recalled the woman, Estrella Madlangbayan. "I always wanted to give him a welcome to the neighborhood, but I never got the chance."

Reynolds' friends and neighbors gathered at dusk outside the Paloma Summit apartments, where he lived for the last three months of his life. People remembered him as an exceptionally friendly newcomer who offered neighborhood kids 50 cents if they could spell a word he asked them.

Kanisha Lumpkins, the daughter of the leasing manager at the complex, said her younger brother was among the children who looked up to Reynolds.

Her brother didn't attend the vigil. "It's a little too much for him," she said.

Jeremie Caha, a resident who works for a motocross-apparel company in Mission Viejo, said he met Reynolds as he was moving into his apartment three months ago.

"We automatically clicked," Caha remembered. "We had a lot in common."

The two would often meet in their garages, talking about bikes and components. "He had the best gear," Caha said.

John Louch, a friend of Reynolds from the world of motocross, drove to the vigil from his home in Laguna Niguel. Louch said he met Reynolds two years ago and they quickly became friends, speaking daily on the phone.

"As soon as I met this guy, it just clicked. He had such a good heart," Louch said.

At a Supercross event in Phoenix this weekend, a moment of silence was held in Reynolds' memory, he said. "A lot of the professional riders that knew him are just in shock," he said.

Louch said Reynolds often asked him to go mountain biking, but Louch preferred to do his bicycling on the road. "He said it's much safer up in the mountains, and look what happened to him," he said. "It's just crazy."

Reynolds had lived in Orange County for about a year and a half, since taking a job with OMS Sports, a marketing firm in Anaheim. Before moving to Paloma Summit, a gated community of about 200 apartments, Reynolds lived near the lake in Lake Forest, Louch said.

Reynolds, who was single, had no family in this area. He was originally from Missouri.

Some Paloma Summit residents who never met Reynolds turned out for the vigil.

"It's kind of scary to think it was so close to home," said Ashlie Fleig. "All these cars and busy streets, you don't even notice a lot of the time that it's a wild area."

Steve Carey said he often goes running on the trail that Reynolds was riding on when he was killed. Carey said he'll probably return to the trail when the park reopens. "I haven't seen a lot of tracks where I go," he said.


Friends and neighbors of Mark Reynolds are discussing raising funds to create a permanent memorial to him, such as a park bench or a plaque. People interested in contributing can contact Christy Weimer at christynoel@cox.net.