Some days are good days. You know the kind of day I'm talking about? You pick up the mail and there's no bills, the sun is shining but there's also a nice cool breeze. Then some days are great days: no bills, an unexpected check, your kids pay you an unsolicited compliment.
Then there are STELLAR days! The weather's beautiful, your car starts without protest, everyone you see is in a good mood ... AND ... a new friend goes to bat for you and your dream! That was my day today.
Allow me to explain. In the past few weeks, I've gotten to know our Tampa track director, Art Heinrichs, a little more. I'd seen him at the track and really liked all that I'd heard about him and all that he's done for the BMX racing program. I especially admire his new Mentoring program.
When I saw Art at Competition Congress, I casually mentioned our long bike ride and how we'd like to make Tampa BMX our launch point. Whenever we saw each other, he asked a few more questions about it and I was glad to talk about my family's dream adventure. As we were registering for a race one evening, he casually mentioned that he'd like to have matching ride jerseys made for our Ride the Nation project. I was thrilled! What a generous offer and I was excited at having a professional, unified look while we are out representing the BMX community. I though, "this Art is a nice guy".
I WAS WRONG! Art is an AMAZING GUY! When he gets his hands on a project, he really knows how to run with it and RIDE THE NATION is his latest project. We exchanged a few emails today and then met in the track office this evening to talk about sponsors. I explained that we really only have one sponsor right now: Ohio Dreams, who is giving the Beast a full week of BMX camp when we pass through Ohio on our route.
He casually said that he had made a few phone calls today and that he has a few new sponsors for our ride. First, he said that one of Tampa BMX's dedicated sponsors, J&R Bicycles, is interested in helping us with any bike parts we need and possibly some additional support. He also said that Kirk, the owner, had recently gotten his own road bike and may be interested in joining us for a day or two of riding along the route. WOW! I was thrilled to hear this! Beyond supporting our cause, he's ready to put some rubber to the road and RIDE THE NATION!
Second, Art told us that Riders Ready will be providing us with 2 jerseys each sporting our logo, along with our sponsors' logos. Fantastic!
The third surprise was that BMX Mania, one of the highest traffic BMX sites online, is interested in posting weekly updates about our ride. PLUS, their Caricaturist will design custom characters to represent us on their site! Sweet! For providing the weekly updates, BMX Mania will also be sponsoring us monthly to help with our road expenses!
I was thinking, "Can this day get any better??
Then Art asked if we knew the Smoothie King folks. Of course, we know them by their bright colored trailer that is a staple at most all of the Tampa and surrounding tracks' events. The Beast loves their smoothies and now we do, too! Apparently, there are Smoothie Kings all over and they'll be providing us with coupons for discounts and freebies at all their stores!
This ride is getting more attractive by the moment!
I started to thank Art for all his diligent efforts when he mentioned that there is a fifth sponsor. Earlier, we had discussed that we planned to camp 90% of the time and hoped to stay in a hotel at special occasions along the trip. With a wry smile, Art said he had spoken with Comfort Inn & Suites and secured us gift cards amounting to 10-20 nights of hotel stays at their chain of hotels! Holy Hot Shower, Batman!
My day was officially STELLAR! I could no longer sit in my chair and found myself hugging Art! He accomplished all of this in one day! He also gatthered board members quickly together to vote to donate a portion of their race fees on the night of our launch, April 20th, to help offset our camping and other road expenses.
It reinforces my faith in people when someone comes along and cares so much about OUR dream that they pull from all their resources to make it that much more possible. I will go to sleep tonight knowing that this ride is more than just miles and miles of pedalling. It is an opportunity for us to showcase the phenomenon of BMX; a community of people who are not just committed to the sport but to one another. We cross all lines of race, color, creed and financial brackets and none of that matters when we are at the track. We share tools, trade bike parts, cheer for each other's kids and genuinely care about one another. Almost every BMX family I know is bigger than their family portraits. We have other people's sons and daughters whom we've taken to races when their parents couldn't, fed them when the racing ended and swapped bike frames as they went through growth spurts. We've even raced to fix the last minute flat tire of our own kids' competitors.
All the while, we have forged friendships that go way beyond the track.
I say it again: BMX is our FAMILY. I'm looking forward to taking each of you on our adventure. Can't wait to see you at our BMX family reunion in Louisville, KY!
More later; until then feel free to weigh in with your thoughts about our ride and your own questions; good advice is always welcome, too!
Miles ridden so far: 0 (training miles don't count)
PS- Check out My Bike 'n Me Pics page! Everyone loves showing off their ride. Send us a pic of you and your bike to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll gladly post it, too!