Victoria motorcyclists honor fallen rider (w/video)
Lowering his gaze to the steps leading into Our Lady of Victory, Jorge Borrero presented a red and white motorcycle helmet to the priest.
Four days after witnessing the wreck that killed his friend, he had spent the day in somber remembrance of 19-year-old Bryan Doane, taking time to reflect on life's fast pace and grief's slow process.
The day of Doane's funeral, 18 motorcyclists, some who knew Doane personally and others who only knew him in spirit, led the procession to Resurrection Cemetery in an effort to honor his memory and his life.
"There's a lot of sadness," Borrero said. "We're just trying to show Bryan that we're here for him and his family."
Doane, of Victoria, died Tuesday from injuries suffered after his Yamaha 600 ran into the back of a tractor-trailer Monday night at a high rate of speed. The crash occurred at 8:42 p.m. in the 10700 block of U.S. Highway 77.
He was a 2012 Victoria East graduate. He played golf, baseball, football and competed in skiing competitions in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. In 2013, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
On Monday, he met Borrero and Brandon Garcia, 17, of Inez. They exchanged numbers and had their first ride together that night.
"He loved speed, that adrenaline," Borrero said.
Doane was the kind of guy they could become close friends with.
"There aren't many bikers our age," Borrero said. "It would have been fun to ride with him. ... The last thing he told me was, 'That was badass.' He gave me a thumbs-up."
Borrero, a senior at Victoria West High School, said he has stayed in prayer for Doane and his family.
"It's hard," he said. "I rode yesterday to school, and I just started crying."
Before the funeral Friday, Borrero and Garcia road the city end to end in Doane's honor.
"We drove from downtown all the way up Navarro just going 30 mph," Borrero said. "It was a little ride for him."
A handful of motorcyclists met Friday morning at C.A.S.H. Customs, 3302 N. Ben Jordan St., to pray and reflect before the funeral, sharing stories of their own wrecks and the loss of other friends.
Jacoby Pennington, 20, of Victoria, never met Doane, but through a mutual appreciation of motorcycles, they are kindred spirits.
"As a fellow rider - from the motorcycle scene and the bike scene - he is loved," Pennington said.
Through the love of motorcycles, Pennington considered Doane a brother.
"It takes a lot of guts to get on one, and we do it for the enjoyment," he said. "I feel as if it's just brotherly love - somebody loved the same thing that you do."
Despite being a young rider, Pennington knows the harsh reality. "You're not as safe as you think you are on a bike."
"Sometimes, people feel invincible," he said. "You're nothing on the road. You just have to be careful. The road is not forgiving."
Before starting their engines toward the church, Brother Mike Swearingen offered a prayer and comfort for the men.
"These things are never easy," Swearingen, 68, said. "Over the years, we've said goodbye to a lot of brothers who have fallen."
This year, he has already attended several funerals of friends.
"The road is sort of like a good woman," Swearingen said. "You get overconfident, and she'll get you back in line. If you make a bad judgment in speed or management of the bike, eventually, she's going to get you."
With the speed and power packed into sport bikes, overconfidence is the biggest issue among new riders, he said.
"You have to have a healthy respect for the road," Swearingen said. "You ride like every day is your last."