Motorcyclist lights torch to guide way

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One Washoe Valley resident will get to experience the entire run with the Olympic torch.

Professional motorcyclist Bill Diaz is riding through Carson City today, escorting the torch along its route all the way from Atlanta to the site of the winter games in Salt Lake City.

The 37-year-old superintendent for Cavellero Heating and Cooling has been on the road for nearly two months lighting the way for torchbearers, or at least lighting the torches.

"I've got the primary duty of greeting and lighting and turning on the torchbearers," he said. "I turn on the fuel and get to meet all these excited people."

But Diaz said he is just a small part of the torch relay.

"Everything I do is all about the torch and the torchbearers," he said. "I'm just one of a large team of people who have a lot to do with it."

This is the third time Diaz has been involved in the Olympics and the second he has worked the torch relay.

"I was involved in the 1996 torch relay and was a courier during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles."

Diaz has been riding motorcycles since he was 16 years old. He races in Reno and Carson City and is sponsored by Groves Fisher Inc. and DP Painting.

In 1996, Diaz carried videographers around to get footage of bicycle events.

The Diaz family moved to Washoe Valley in 1994 from Orange County.

"We like it," said wife, Suzan Diaz. "We have one child and this is a great place to grow up. We have a horse and a motorcycle and Bill can ride his dirt bike."

Diaz is on the citizens advisory board in Washoe Valley and has worked with the Bureau of Land Management by carrying a global positioning system to map out all the trails between Washoe Valley and Virginia City.

Mrs. Diaz drove to South Lake Tahoe on Sunday to meet the relay and see her husband.

That was the second time she saw him. During the first she and her son flew to New York City and visited with him while the torch was there.

The torch run is scheduled to arrive in Nevada at 6:30 a.m. today. The route will take it over Kingsbury Grade, north up Foothill Road through Genoa and then along Jacks Valley Road to Highway 395. Runners will start running east of Clearview at 7:50 a.m.

They are scheduled to be at the Community Center at 8:50 a.m. and then leave Carson City at about 9:20 a.m. from the Blockbuster Video on Carson Street.

The torch relay will leave Sparks by train this afternoon for Klamath Falls. The torch will arrive in Salt Lake City on Feb. 8.


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