Cameron flipped back and forth between showing a little bit of nerves, and appearing cool and relaxed, as he waited with his bike. Not his first race, but this was a big one. Okay, big in that it was the Kids’ UBC Grand Prix, big in that there seemed to be a couple of hundred kids there, but for him big because last year he fell. And he didn’t want to fall again.
But he was there, wearing his aunt Kristine’s racing team jersey, new snazzy bike ready to go. It hadn’t escaped his notice that there were kids in his group with racing style road bikes (his is more intro level mountain), but he liked that his jersey said Trek on it – the same brand as his bike, the same that Kristine rides.
I’m not going to fall this year, Mommy.
Kate was bouncing with excitement, wearing the same jersey. Her race would come next, the 9-12 year old group, when the younger group finished. She hung out with my Dad and Janice while waiting, full of smiles. She didn’t want to miss her race, and she was concerned that some kids wearing the same colour name tag as she had were lined up with the younger kids. I assured her, don’t worry about them, if they’re in the wrong race that’s okay.
Finally, the wait in the hot sun was over, and the 5-8 year old group was shepherded into the staging zone. Older kids in front, little ones in the back. And they were off! Cameron got off to a rocky start; starting is still tough for him and he was worried about bumping into other kids. After the start though he did great, zipping along with caution at first, and with lots of grins as he passed me and heard me cheering.
Next up was Kate’s group, with two laps to do instead of just one. Her first lap I missed her entirely — apparently she was at the head of the pack! The second though I cheered her on, and could hear Cameron with Dad and Janice doing the same. She was further back in the pack then, but all smiles.
Okay, so neither kid won. Cameron finished in the middle somewhere, and Kate is sure she was dead last. But you know what? Cameron didn’t fall this time. And Kate was one of the youngest in her age group, with some riders who appeared to be very into racing if their gear and bikes were any indication, so I think she should be proud that on the first lap she was up there with them at the halfway mark. They both had fun, in a big race, and that’s what matters. They got to imagine themselves a part of the adult races perhaps, aerodynamic bikes, sleek jerseys, leaning far in on the turns, hearts pounding. Perhaps they were inspired, and in years to come will be interested in racing for real.
Oh – right. Big race.
This was part of the preliminaries for one really big race. It’s Superweek here in Vancouver, which means that Kristine is racing with her team all around the lower mainland. She amazes me! After the kids’ races we settled down to cheer her on once the women’s race got going. She’s got something like eight races in nine days – tonight was the Giro di Burnaby, and we went to cheer for her again. This time though we chose the hairpin turn, where the riders slow down enough that they aren’t just blurs, and roughly every other lap we could pick her out.