“There are no accidents.” A theme that my Amy taught me on the first night we met, 13 Halloweens ago. And it’s a theme that I’ve wanted to kick, then embrace….then kick again throughout the last decade as I’ve struggled with its meaning.
But alas there are no accidents. And I am embracing it. Last week’s mishap and my current rehab are what they are: a focus on really what’s going on around me which only helps to enhance the appreciation and love I have for my sport. So I used that focus with great intensity Saturday as my son donned a number for the family at the Colorado Cross Classic at the Boulder Reservoir.
Aiden suited up and was so excited. The course promoters put the Junior races deeper into the day at a time when tons of fans would be around. It made these little kids feel exceptionally PRO as fans and racers alike all crowded the tape to cheer them on.
Of course, I was a crazy man, running with my camera from one end of the course to the other, pulling “OJ Simpsons” to get to the opposite side of the course to take pics. Upon the start, I lost sight of the mini-peloton until I see Aiden barreling down the single track towards the beach for the first time.
“I’M OUT FRONT! I’M OUT FRONT” he screams as he sees me and I yell back “YES YOU ARE!! Now just keep going forward!! Don’t look back!!”
He listens to me as a gaggle of other kids come barreling in to the beach section hot on his heels. Aiden Seamus and I have spent a lot of time together nerding-out in the local parks practicing cross. And when Aiden hit the sand, I could see ALL those skills come to life. He remembered! He instinctively jumped off, and pushed the bike through the sand, running like a gazelle. It was amazing to watch. And yes, as you see below, Aiden is a ‘dirty-side’ remounter, Kevin Pauwels style…
He pushed himself ALL the way to the end. Little strongmen like Peter Doorn and Vin Hludinski making him work hard for it the whole time.
Aiden came across the line in 1st place, his first ever victory and he was so blown away as Dave ‘the voice Towle was screaming his name. It was absolutely PRO. Everything done for the Juniors as would be done for the Masters and Pro events. Dave just made it all ‘very real’ that this was a bike race…and an important one for these little athletes at that.
As they finished, Aiden and his friends all got together and hugged. They quickly turned their attention to the Coke they got…a treat for going so hard out there. After hearing about the race, our good friend Tim Johnson rolled over to the kids and said congrats to them all. Amazing act of class as he spent time with them all and asked them about their races. Aiden was floored when he realized who he was…confused with Tim’s VeloNews jersey donned for a special photo shoot as he knows Tim as the “guy with the American Flag uniform.”
Dave then called up all the early race podium finishers, Junior Men 8/9 included. He called them all out one by one to take their step. It was an unbelievable moment as ALL these people assembled to cheer them on. We taught the boys to shake hands with each other to congratulate their efforts, and finally were asked to put arms up. Look at the expression on Aiden’s face. This is true accomplishment. This is, I hope, a moment he never forgets and creates a foundation for his confidence for the rest of his life…
I used my son’s successes on Saturday to fuel my own fire. I am so excited to get back into the fray in the next few weeks with my boys, focusing on doing everything Ann Trombley, Olympic athlete and amazing PT working with FasCat Coaching, tells me to do to get back to health and a strong shoulder. I spent 4 blissful and rare hours training in the mountains on skinny tires…seeing snow for the first time at 9K feet and just climbing…and climbing…and climbing. Injecting some rare mid season base into my legs and making them hurt entirely differently than in a cross. I was envisioning being smooth. Being fast. Being competitive again.
I can’t wait.