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We awoke to warm sunshine invading the tent early this morning and knew that it was going to be a hot riding day. I got up and pulled the primus stove and pot to boil water for our oatmeal and Frankenbutt’s coffee. The tent heated up quick and forced the Beast out earlier than usual so she helped Frankenbutt pack down the sleeping bags while I prepared breakfast.
We were on our way to Westmoreland BMX by 9am, knowing there was only about 26 miles to ride, according to our GPS. I’ve learned not to think “piece of cake” any more about 30 mile or less rides through the hills of Pennsylvania. We rode about 8 miles out on Route 198 over some pretty tough hills.
We took a rest and enjoyed the Hammer bars while catching up on a phone call from our daughter, the Editor. Although we had hoped she would join us in Pittsburgh for a few days, she has other obligations that will prevent her from coming. I got a little emotional realizing that we probably won’t see her again until she returns from college again during her winter break. Thankfully, we have quite a few electronic ways to stay in touch.
We finally arrived at the Westmoreland track and met some of the early birds who were gathering for the evening’s clinic. Originally, Dominique Daniels was supposed to give the clinic, but could not do to a recent injury. Two local talented riders, Nathan and Chris, came to the rescue and ran a great clinic. They worked on the all-important gate starts, manualing and track strategy, as well.
While the Beast worked on her track skills, I talked with Steve’s wife, Renee, who was so easy to relax and talk with. Being dog lovers, we found common ground immediately. I met three of her four kids, 2 who BMX and one who’s into Karate. Violet, a local BMX mom, joined us and we all exchanged stories about our BMX lifestyle while the sun slid lower in the sky. It was a nice way to relax after a tough day of riding.
As the clinic wrapped up, Steve and Frankenbutt loaded our bicycles into the back of Steve’s work van. The track had pre-arranged for a hotel stay at the local Super 8 and wanted to transport us there since it was getting too dark to safely ride there. The BMX moms and dads wished us well, gave us hugs and told us they’d keep us in their thoughts and prayers as we travel ahead. The Westmoreland track has genuinely kind and warm parents that are lucky to have a track director with so many years’ experience in our sport. We are looking forward to seeing so many of the Westmoreland riders at the National this weekend in South Park.