Monday, August 12, 2013

Reflections of Rimouski #juniors

I wrote it in my head while driving, riding my bike, showering.  I think I even tried to write this post in my sleep.  This post has been written at least fifty times. When you're behind the wheel of a team car and your kids are racing, you get lost between being a fan and a father.  With the race radio crackling in french and the window down, thoughts escape quickly.

Powerful events are hard to write about. On this blog, we like to keep things light and write about the humorous observation or the part of cycling that you don't read about in Velonews. Sometimes the slice of life isn't handed to you like a #5 at the drive through window.

While most adults head to the beach or the lake with their kids during the summer, I took 7 vacation days to drive a team car at a junior stage race in Canada. Unless you came up through the junior ranks, even most cycling fans haven't heard of Rimouski.  That's okay.  Some Rimouskians, weren't aware either, but impressively stopped what they were doing when the race passed their house or business and watched. Sometimes they were even surprised into watching. Take the plump, older man who was obviously surprised to see sixty bikes flying past his house with a full police escort, ten motorcycles, six organization cars following the race, fifteen team cars, then a broom wagon. I am hopeful that the Rimouski locals don't ALWAYS watch bike races on their porch in a blue thong, but hey, I was just happy he was watching the race. Of course I will never get that vision of him out of my head, hopefully the therapy will help.

However, no one takes 7 days of vacation and drives to Canada for the chuckle of seeing a big man in a little blue thong.  So why do it?  

It would be easy to expound on 150 teens staying in a two star hotel eating cafeteria style pasta every day. With several different languages in play there was no mistaking the guys checking out the French speaking girls and the girls checking out the leg shaving guys. There is a lot to see, hear, sometimes even smell.

However, Rimouski was more powerful than the evident situational humor, powerful enough that dads witnessing it could barely contain themselves. Dads seeing their kids learn that it is okay to be a cyclist, that there are other kids in the world that love their bikes, wearing lycra, and being fast.  That's a special moment.

Remember when you were a teen?  No matter what you were into, it felt weird to be 'different'.  Even if people didn't directly poke fun at you, you thought they were poking.  Admit it, no doubt, whatever circle you were in, you were probably laughing at someone else too.  It's part of growing up, learning who you are and being okay with it.

Spending a week in far-eastern Canada to support kids racing bikes isn't exactly the Dominican Republic beach vacation. I'll tell you one thing however, letting the kids have a week of racing and feeling accepted around other teens that giggle, text, roll eyes, check each other out, and still race bike fast while wearing lycra and shaving their legs is worth whatever drive was required.

Confidence isn't just about knowing how to ride the bike.

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