Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bike time

This past weekend was the first race of our bike season - the "Sandwich 50" a 7 lap race of our most local mountain biking trails.  We signed up to do the race as a duo, so we could take turns racing laps and watching Noah.  The night before the race, it rained... substantially.  We spent the morning of debating whether we should even bother because the course would be a muddy mess.  Brian voted no, I voted to at least show up.  He wasn't looking forward to cleaning up the bikes after the "fun", while I was thinking about all the effort put into packing our picnic and biking gear the night before.  Noah was looking forward to it, so we had 2 votes for go.
Noah knew that the grass was wet from the rain, so he dressed appropriately - froggy boots!  When we picked up our numbers at the registration table, Noah observed that he didn't have one for his bike right away.  The registration guy, Jeff, knows us from bike team, so he hooked Noah up with a number plate for his bike.  He was pretty proud of being included in the fun.

Noah and Brian starting the race!  (I did the actual first lap.)
About the race, all I can really say is hauling an extra 10 pounds of earth stuck to each tire makes biking a LOT more work than I was conditioned for.  I originally was planning on completing 3 laps, but didn't take long to taper that down to reality of 2 laps, and they were slow laps.  Both Brian and I dropped chains during a lap; I struggled to get mine back on (don't think I've ever done that on a mountain bike before).  My bike slid out from under me on a little wooden bridge, but I managed to keep my feet underneath me, so it wasn't a problem.  We didn't "pass the baton" very efficiently either, calling the other over from playing at the playground took a bit extra time against our lap clock.  I found myself feeling hungry quite a bit while out on the course as well.
The extra fun feature of this low-key local race is that a group of supporters set up a station in the woods to help provide, well, support for the racers.  They have some music going, grill bacon to hand-up as riders are cruising past, lawn chairs under an easy-up tent, beer hand-ups, and many more items available upon request.  Brian's pride of the race was that someone objected when another "supporter" suggested a beer, that he was clearly too young for it!  I claim it's because they were familiar with the high-school racing jersey that he was wearing, he claims he just looks that refreshingly young!  Noah had been hearing about the bacon stand, so when we were done racing, we had a family trip into the woods to "bike" to the bacon tent.  The main organizer of the support station welcomed us and took really good care of Noah - bacon, water bottle, doughnut (the size of Noah's arm and he ate the whole thing in record time!).  Noah discovered a little obstacle adjacent to the course right by the bacon station and rode or walked countless times over the rocks and down the log.  He's getting good training for smooth bike handling!
Back down at race headquarters, hot dogs were being grilled and white elephant prizes handed out.  Noah scored himself a horn to put on his bike (it only fits, poorly at that, on the spiderman bike), kiddy head-light and tail-light set with dead batteries, and more than enough junk food.
We bailed out just in time as it started raining again shortly after getting home; Brian hadn't even finished hosing off the muddy gear.  Noah was a piece of work, desperately needing a nap - too much excitement and junk food for one morning.  After a short bit of crying, he fell asleep and had to get awoken to head to church.
It was good that we went - we spent the time outdoors instead of grumpy about the weather inside.  We networked with a few local bike promoters who might help somewhat with bike team this year.  Noah had fun, practiced biking, and learned some trail etiquette.  We got 4th to last out of a field of about 70 participants - I'm proud to have done more/better than a few people.

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