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Little Challenges

kids at lookout

For the last month or so, I have been honored to work with the youth of Boulder as a coach for Boulder Junior Cycling. It has been nothing short of amazing and gratifying thus far to be able to work with these kids…ranging in ages from 8 to 17. So much going on in their little lives as they show up, kit-up, throw a leg over their bike and listen to our instructions, our shouting, “do it again!”, repetitions…you know what I’m talking about. But think about it from their perspectives…

  • Dealing with exhaustion after a long day at school…
  • Trying to coordinate their bodies which are growing so fast it often ends up so frustrating for them…
  • The general fear of crashing and when they do, getting back up and not falling into the ‘option’ of quitting…
  • Hauling a bike nearly a 1/3 of their body weight onto their shoulders…where simply put: it hurts like hell.

    You and me? We have no problems. We can bitch about call up procedures, work getting in the way of our training, equipment malfunctions that caused us that 10th place. We’ve got no problems. These kids inspire me deeply.

    One 9 year old child showed up at one of the initial practices a month ago. Absolutely, positively had no idea what cyclocross was…but it looked like fun when he saw it ONE TIME at the Boulder Cup at the shopping mall last year. This, then, 8 year old told his parents he wanted to be a racer like ‘that.’ So at this initial practice he shows up with a massively heavy mountain bike…and sincerely, a level of coordination that would not allow him to ride his bike ‘paper boy style’ (pulling a leg off and coasting with one foot on the pedal). It felt at the time that it would be a long fall for this young man. He never gave up. Each week a little better. I watch him struggle like hell to dial in the instruction we give him…now on a cross bike and already advanced to clip-less pedals. I watch him come in last in the drills and asking questions…and simply just being present as he soaks it up like a sponge. He doesn’t show embarrassment. He doesn’t complain or feign tiredness.

    This boy wants it.

    This boy wants to be there.

    This boy sees an image of himself and what he wants and is grabbing it.

    What’s your vision? More importantly, what’s your excuse?

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