2014 Cochise Classic Dedicate to Maria G. HarrisOctober 10, 2014
Maria Guadalupe Harris bicycling in memory of her husband, Glenn Ferguson Harris, MD (1949-2014), who shared their love for each other through cycling.
The love affair began with a flat tire. Dr . Glenn ~ then Children’s Medical Director at SEABHS (Southeastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services) noticed bike in the rack with a flat tire. He learned the bike was Maria’s (a social worker at SEABHS) “He let me know my tire was flat,” Maria said. “I told him I appreciated him telling me. When I came out at the end of my the shift my flat was fixed!”
Maria and Glenn found in each other a kindred spirit. Their cycling courtship lead to many adventures on the road. They married a year later in 2004.
Glenn, the more accomplished cyclist, encouraged Maria to enter a few competitions. Among her highlight was winning the 2005 AZ State Road Championship for Masters Women 45-49 age group.
Among their more romantic adventures were the bicycling trips to Italy (picture of them kissing). As a personal tradition Glenn traveled to Riccione, Italy every May to participate in the Nove Coli road race held during the Giro de Italia.
Glenn and Maria Harris were longtime participants in the Cochise County Cycling Classic. (12 times 2001 – 2013) Glenn rode 12 times 2001-2013, twice finishing 1st Place Male in the 42-mile event. Maria rode every other year. Glenn complete 27 Perimeter Bicycling events (2001 – 2013) including: El Tour de Tucson (6 times 2001-2011), El Tour de Phoenix/Mesa (4 times, 2003-2010) and Tour of the Tucson Mountains (5 times, 2001 – 2010).
“Glenn used to tell me I was his best cheerleader and personal photographer,” Maria said. “Glenn was in the competitive bracket, I rode more for company and fun.”
Maria is especially pleased the ride benefits DARC since both she and Glenn worked with patients with mental and emotional challenges. When Dr. Harris passed away earlier this year, he was medical director for COPE Community Services in Tucson. He was know for his simple and direct clinical and organizational philosophy, which included two components: world-class care for patients served and kindness toward everyone.
Dr. Harris was twice honored with the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He had more than 25 years of experience in the delivery of mental health services to individuals of all ages, having practiced in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Arizona.
Dr. Harris was an avid skinny-tire bicyclist and racer, participating frequently in USA Cycling time trials, hill climbs, and road and stage races around Arizona. He built and maintained all the family bicycles using his experience as a master automobile mechanic for the 10 years prior to his career in psychiatry.
Maria is riding the 47-mile event with her two sons and in memory of her beloved late husband, Glenn.
Maria G. Harris will be honored at the Cochise Classic pre-ride Dedication Dinner on Friday, October 10 at the Cochise County Fairgrounds.
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