Monday, September 21, 2015

There And Back Again

The day's first rest stop
Saturday there was a cyclo-cross race in town. Well, not in my town, really. It was in the next town up the river, Cedar Falls, Iowa. Waterloo and Cedar Falls run right into each other these days, much like a mini version of the Twin Cities. Only......smaller, and not as cool, and....well....

The point is that it was about seven miles or so to the race. I convinced my son, who hasn't been on the bike in a loooong time, to make the trip over. So, I made preparations with the thought in mind that this should be looked at as a major, long, long ride, for my son's sake. I packed food and plenty of water, and decided right up front that we'd likely have to take the easiest route and stop a few times.

His bike is a Salsa Cycles Mukluk, so I rode my Blackborow DS to make it something of an even playing field. It worked, especially since the Blackborow has such great slow speed handling. It was no problem to ride slow, or even slower, to help my son feel like he was "keeping up". We made it a couple of miles or more before he was wanting a break, so I aimed for Castle Hill Park and we stopped under a shady area and watched some striped gophers busily packing away food for the Winter coming up.

We then got back underway, and my son was doing much better than I expected, so we only had to stop once more, and that only briefly before we got to the venue and sat down to eat my previously prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Taking the "back way"
My son and I whipped out our cameras and captured some of the action.
My co-worker, Leif Lujan, second wheel here, pipped the guy on the pink bike at the line for the win in his class.
The race venue was strewn out over a long, vast stretch of grassy park land that was at one time a golf course. Tiny pockets of people were spread around all over, so the crowd vibe was pretty low key. Racer turn out was decent though, and there was some good action here and there if you were at the right spot on the extended loop course. I positioned myself at the Europa truck which was on hand and being manned by another co-worker, Joel. I saw a few folks I hadn't seen in a long time. That was fun to catch up with people. I also saw a few new acquaintances, and my son was having fun with his camera.

I also was on hand to witness one of my co-workers take the win in his class, which was a good time. He was pretty cagey, for a young guy, and stuck on the leader's wheel to come around him at the line and pip him for the win.

Resting. It was a bit of a trial for my son to make it home!
Well, with that we took our leave and headed over to get some more grub and a bite to eat in a nearby convenience store. Then it was a long, slow ride home. My son, after having been out running around all afternoon, was on the grumpy side, but I managed to help coax him home.

Afterward, I was surprised to find out we had been gone six hours and then I kind of figured out why it was that it was a struggle for the boy. Besides the riding, he's in his growth spurt now and doing football at school. So, I suppose a couple peanut butter sandwiches may have been a bit too light a lunch! I know that for me, it was plenty of food. In fact, I had only one sandwich. Maybe I should have beefed up his allotment a hair.

The cross race was well attended by racers, but it was kind of a disappointment from a spectator's viewpoint. Joel mentioned maybe the course was too spread out, but I think it is just that cross racing is such an unknown up here and the race was just one of about a zillion things going on that weekend. Plus, it was a glorious, sunlit Fall day, and that means folks are probably busy doing Fall activities, like getting ready for Winter! Oh well, they missed a cool spectacle. Maybe this will happen again next year and the word will get out. I know my son and I had a great time.

1 comment:

R said...

good job getting the yout's out on 2 wheels.
we recently pulled the trigger on a c'dale tandem 29r - it takes some cajoling to get the 10yr old on the saddle - but once we're out riding on gravel - seems he's really enjoying it - he's proud to say "i ride gravel with dad", which is cool.. (but i'll admit i also bribe him up with a west side diner/frontier cafe finish line)... get'em hooked young... if they spend all their cash on bikes - they won't have enough left for drugs. -R