Monday, May 27, 2013

Wet, Stanky #quadcitiescrit Lazy Eyed Llama

Sitting in the front seat of the Toyota Sequoia on I-74 somewhere east of Moline, IL the process of collecting thoughts from a weekend of racing begins. These trips always bring new revelations to light, but none as poignant, or is that pungent (?) as how bad Sue the Llama smells after three days in non-stop rain.

After two days of continual rain, lightning, thunder, and wet socks the inside of Sue the Llama smells exactly how you would suspect a wet llama to smell. As first you can't really place that smell when you step inside, but after a few minutes you start to place the smells - wet socks stuck to the floor, damp wooden floor boards combined with wet food and coffee spills, and to top it all off, the smell of gasoline from refueling the generator to keep the lights and coffee pot going during the cold, damp days. Stepping in you aren't sure if you should clean it up or turn around and hurl out the door.

Why do we do this? Why do we continue to trudge around the race course with spares wheels in hand and sopping wet socks squishing heavily inside even wetter sneakers?

In the heat of the moment it is easy to miss the scores of other adults running around sporting a similar three day growth on their chin, mom's standing in the crosshairs at Quad Cities taking pictures of their young juniors carving a corner, and the dozens of kids asking what tire pressure they should run. If you don't take a moment to step back and watch exactly what is occurring around you the moment will be lost.

In the heat of the moment of cheering for Ian, Spencer, Gavin, Mackenzie, Rachel, Katherine, and the scores of other Red Zone and Lionheart racers from our region you will miss that IS Corp had scores of youth at these races - too many to count. You would miss that of the eight lead riders in the Juniors 15-18 at Snake Alley, seven of them were highly ranked CX juniors. You would miss the top six of the combined 15-18 group each day included two juniors that aren't old enough to get their driver's license.

Most of all you would miss the spirit of why these races are important. From juniors meeting the other members of their Rimouski international team to 10 year olds playing with sticks in puddles of water, you would miss seeing long distance cycling relationships blossoming. Cycling for kids is still a very rare choice, rare enough that the support network for the kids is often several states away. 

Snake Alley weekend is more than cycling, it serves a higher purpose. Bringing kids together, motivating kids to reach higher, and providing a support network wider than just mom and dad. Results you won't read about on the USA Cycling website.

1 comment:

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

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