|Pre-race Meeting: Courtesy Scott Herrmann|
“I don’t get it Dad,” I remember a young bike racer saying while sitting with legs stretched on the grass after a criterium. With the clank of the cowbells and whiz and flash of the next race behind, being fatherly, he said in more or less words, “it’ll come.” The racer nodded reassured and hopeful. It was a soft way to speak the truth.
|Courtesy Kent Baumgardt|
Holding our 2nd place at the Tri-State 6 Hours Co-Ed Duo race in Versailles, IN by a thin margin, as I struggled to get my flat UST tire off my bike, I was faced with the hard truth. “It” doesn’t whistle down the sidewalk and politely ring your doorbell. “It” doesn’t tap you on the shoulder and ask you to follow through the peloton. “It” doesn’t appear at the side of the trail like a bearded wise-man with a reading of the Barnett Bicycle Manual. “It” never really comes.
This isn’t going to be one of those immature whiner bike racer stories that take away from the preparedness, strength and skills of the competition. Gerry and I clung to 1st for a while. We finished 4th. Those other teams earned every bit of it. So here’s to you: Jason and Janelle, Maria and Brandon, Cooper and Christian! You were strong, tenacious, skilled, and dialed in your transitions. Bravo! Chapeau!
|"Tent Alley" Courtesy Nick Lucas c/o Tri State 6 Hours|
For goodness sake, Brandon and Maria had diapered twins in their tent. Cooing and saying all kinds of goo-goo ga-ga gibberish, I overheard Dad baby chatting with them between laps. He played with and fed them. They were right next door on tent alley. As I wolfed down recovery mix surrounded by every bike racing luxury a team of 8 could house under our sponsor’s 20x10 tent, he wrangled diapers and smooshed peas solo in a pop-up. It was adorable.
Out of the hour or so we had between laps, he spent 59 minutes making sure his little girl and boy were fed, clean, mosquito free and entertained. With minutes to spare, he grabbed a bite for himself, pulled a water bottle out of the cooler, changed his shirt, picked his bike off the ground, gave his duo-teammate the kid-status update, handed her the keys to the crib, and was off again.
So to blame our 4th place position on a stick that flew into my spokes and a subsequent flat would be for him to place blame on two of the cutest babies you’ve ever seen. I’m not kidding. Those kids are stuff ‘em in a cabbage outfit and call Anne Geddes cute.
|Courtesy Kent Baumgardt|
You can bet, right now Brandon is diabolically dreaming up a quicker way to spoon peas just as I am finding a thinner tire lever to quickly get under a stubborn UST. We’ll both train harder to be able to pad our gaps better should a flat or a dirty diaper come at an inopportune moment. I’m patting myself on the back for quickly bending the broken spoke out of the way. He should give himself kudos, because I heard nary a cry in the 3 hours I lived next door to his kids. He’s obviously practiced his routine better than I have.
The truth is “it” never comes. You have to go out and get it.
(Note: The Tri-State 6 Hours Series gives special thanks to CORA and IMBA National MTB Patrol. The next race is July 14th, 2013 at East Fork State Park in Ohio)