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Aiden's first cyclocross nationals! Mission complete!

Pride. Immense, glowing, unabashed pride is what I feel for my son having completed his first national cyclocross championship in Madison, WI. Aiden is 10 and did his first Junior Mens 10-12 age group and it was a barn burner. He'll be back again in this age group next yere when the Nationals come visit us here in Boulder CO!

From all accounts, from my teammates to my wife to Aiden's Boulder Junior Cycling team parents who made the trek up north, all descriptions of the conditions were nothing less that epic, if not treacherous. Hearing stories by Tilford and Joe underscore what the competitors faced and experienced and it made my stomach turn not being there to support (and maybe feel like I'm protecting in some way). Black ice, frozen earth covered by a thin layer of muddy slime...adults claimed they knew they'd hit the earth, but had no idea when. 

But the conditions are what they are and this is cyclocross. It is all about preparation, equipment and trust in your skills. Knowing my best friends and teammates were there made me extremely happy though...

Brandon Dwight (National Champ) Aiden, Pete Webber (National & World Champ) and Russ Stevenson (long time pro and WA state CX champ)

My teammate and family friend (and fellow BJC dad) Brian Hludzinski had Aiden's Clement PDXs dialed for me. We were texting that AM and he put Aiden's tires in the 16-18psi range. Aiden and the BJC kids know how to drive their bikes in the bad as the coaches and I had taken them all over and over again to the old haunts like Elks to teach them to rail the ice and snow ("Kids! Slow = Fast!"), but again, all accounts had this course being one of the worst set of conditions anyone has seen in recent memory. 

Ward Baker was able to get some great keepsakes. From hearing his name and getting called up (note the sound of the Boulder Mafia when the Boulder kids get called up....and uproar....ha!)... the tense moments of the start. And thankfully they started clean. Aiden was able to get cleanly into the dirt off the pavement. I had him visualize what it was like and what he needed to do to stay clean and push hard on that tremendously long paved start way. He succeeded! Whew...

Once on course, Ward said he made some excellent passes and was able to flow. Aiden said he never hit the earth! That made my heart sing. This is ALL about experience of a National level event and he needs not worry about anything but driving the bike and seeing what it's like to race an entirely different set of radsters from around the country). 

Aiden was able to stay smooth and finish a super strong 13th! He said "I stayed clear of the kids who kept crashing and just focused on not crashing." I love it. Mission complete!

Chris Newlin was able to be out there cheering with his young son, watching these battles unfold. He got Aiden coming off the run up in a sort of Chris Horner-esque smile. Ha!

And finally the moment any parent is happy to see: the child finishing strongly, safely and happily. Ward Baker capturing this moment thankfully...

The kids had a blast and were all so stoked on each other it is just so great to see. The Colorado clan stuck together and supported each other immensely...

So that is that! The butterflies are now gone from my stomach. Mom and Aid are on their way home and I can't wait to have them back in my arms. Seamus has been fascinated with what has been going on, growing hungrier to have this event come to us so he can participate next year! It's going to be all the best ways. 

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