Tuesday, June 02, 2009

quality family time

i took the grandkids with me to the memorial day weekend of races this year. i've been going there to race and share a little fun for twenty years or more. i've enjoyed friends and their families all this time. i've always said it's my family, this cycling circle i inhabit, and it is.

so i really didn't give it a second thought when i offered to initiate the grandkids on THEIR first exposure to big-time american bicycling. the complications and realities of doing this AND racing myself would remain to be seen and experienced, but i knew it would work out somehow, and it did. and saturday morning, parked in my traditional location at the top of the snake, and my race already out of the way, i prepped the kids for THEIR first race participation. numbers pinned, i gave them final strategic instructions before we began the trek to the start line. they listened intently. for being not particularly verbal, jabari blew me away with his understanding and concentration. both kids have since before birth attended collegiate wrestling meets and tournaments, so they grasp the concept of competition--their dad is no flash in the pan on the wrestling mat, even now, years after his string of 4 all-american seasons at iowa state, he still coaches others year-round--but to see their intense focus really amazed me. i mean, nyla is just four, and jabari is only 21 months [although his RACING age was 3 for snake alley].

this photo STILL makes me laugh, as the kids have completed their warm-ups and hot laps around a street barricade, and each of them collects their thoughts in their own fashion. nyla is so girlie-girlie with her abundant hair-pretties and streamers but her "i'll rip your heart out" look" suggests otherwise. jabari is clearly engaged in his visualization routine. little did i know...

after their races, we relaxed as i always do, heckling others in the afternoon races on the snake, at devil's bend. for you cat 4s and 5s who want to be subjected to this torment, upgrade. i believe wayne and garth said it best: "you're not worthy!" the heckling NEVER begins until after noon. even the devil keeps regular hours.

as anyone who has ever raced the snake knows, it's exhausting. over the years, i gone racing with scores of different teammates and buddies, sharing rides in old vws and vans, and sleeping in beds and on floors in crowded houses and cheap hotel rooms. yet i'd trade them all for this one. i hope the grands enjoyed it as much as i did.

[thanks, maria, for this last photo]

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