On the line

It’s a race weekend here in eastern Nebraska. There’s a Saturday criterium and a Sunday circuit race, which is code for “longer criterium.” The weather is supposed to be nice, the courses are fun and the fields will probably be stacked.

In other words, I should be getting my money’s worth.

I used to get a lot more worked up about racing. I’d mentally pack my race bag, review strategy, visualize the course … man, it was exhausting work. But since I’ve come under the VeloGear umbrella, I worry less and less about what happens when numbers are pinned on.

Why is that, I wonder? It could be that at my old job I had way more time to think about such things. (Of course, spending time thinking about such things could also be a clue to as to why that’s my “old” job.) And anybody who knows me is aware of what happens when I have too much time to think.

For example, Jay calls me “Headcase.” It’s a term of endearment, really.

So partially because I simply don’t have time to think about it and partly because I’m older and wiser, I’m not terribly concerned with the weekend’s slate of events. Sure, I’m excited and everything. I’ll get my race bag packed tonight and my bike tuned and ready. I might even break out the special socks.

But I probably won’t really worry about too much until an hour or so before the whistle sounds. Honestly, the thing I’m worried about most is my son’s “race.” Since he heard me mention “kids’ race” to my wife earlier this week, he’s been pretty much a non-stop stream of “bike race bike race bike race.”

This is where I mention that my son is 3.5 years old. He’s been all over the neighborhood this spring, getting more and more confident on his bike. And he’s pretty amped up about getting to race in the street, “like grown-ups do.”

If you’ve been to an event that featured a kids’ race, you know full well it’s just a ceremonial lap on the race course. Some older kids will blast around the thing, and some of the younger kids will need to be prodded and cajoled to even turn the cranks, let alone try to go fast.

This was my son, less than a year ago. A semi-interested crowd was clapping and cheering for the little-kid peloton and that boy simply would not move. I actually had to kind of nudge him to get him going. When he finally started pedaling, he was way more worried about the crowd (“They were saying my name!”) than making his wheels roll.

I’m not too concerned about that his time around, but there’s always that little shred of doubt: “I wonder if he’ll actually pedal this time?”

As for me, I know what needs to be done: Go really fast at the whistle and hang on for dear life. The story of my life.

Random link time:

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