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- Check out our blog on www.bmxmania.com for exclusive details you won’t find here.
Our day started with laundry. Ugh! And, unfortunately, someone else beat us to the onsite washing machine. So, we ate breakfast and “stalked” the laundry room so that we could commandeer the washer and dryer as soon as our fellow guest removed their laundry. Our laundry finally wrapped up around 11:45 am; we stuffed the clean clothes into our panniers, checked out of the hotel and headed to the Pedestrian Mall in Old Winchester.
Winchester has great signage, is really easy to bike around and we found most drivers to be respectful of cyclists. We parked our bikes at Loudon and Picadilly and strolled through the pedestrian mall. The Beast zeroed in on a terrific little book shop while Frankenbutt and I checked out the menus of several outdoor cafes. We stumbled onto a cozy lunch counter from days gone by with a picture of Patsy Cline having a burger. That was good enough for us! We sat down in the outdoor seating area and ordered burgers for the Beast and me; Frankenbutt ordered the “grooving reuben” special. Coco had a sample of each once we’d had our fill.
While relaxing on a park bench, the Winchester BMX track director, Ben Carey, arrived on his bike. His son, Ponton, and daughter, Besma, also biked up to us. We gathered in the shade and his kids got to know our daughter while we discussed our plans for the evening at the track. Suddenly, there was a POP! The tube on Besma’s adorable 20” bike bit the dust, probably from the intense heat of the street … but, possibly because big brother, Ponton, may have put a little too much air in it. Dad, Ben, jumped on his bike and rode to the local Walmart and bought a new tube while Frankenbutt pulled our tools and bike pump. Ponton and Besma agreed to take the Beast on a downtown stroll to the Hanley Library while the fellows changed the tube and remounted the wheel. Ben brought us back a couple of replacement tubes for our bikes, too. Thanks, Ben!
We sat and enjoyed each other’s company, surrounded by historic buildings in Old Winchester. I was glad that both Frankenbutt and I were feeling better than we had in the days prior. Ben told us that TV3 asked to move the track interview time up a little so that the station could present the story both at 7 and 11pm.
TV3’s reporter, Justin Granit, arrived as the track office opened for registration. Volunteers were already buzzing about doing all the tasks that need to be done in order for a race to get under way. Justin introduced himself and we discussed how he’d like to shoot the footage and do the interviews. The Beast did the first interview and handled herself well. Frankenbutt and I followed with a bit more nervousness than the Beast ever registers. Next, we loaded Coco into her trailer and rode our bikes around the park so that Justin could get some footage of us riding our loaded bikes.
Once the reporter had all that he needed, he thanked us for our time and we thanked him for keeping BMX in the local spotlight. It was obvious that he had a good working relationship with Ben; other local BMX tracks could learn and benefit from Ben’s approach to media relationships: Make phone calls until you find someone who will care enough to come out and see the magic of BMX.
With our TV interview wrapped up, we registered the Beast for racing and I let them know I was available for scoring if they needed me. Ben’s wife, Tina, came up and introduced herself and told me her kids told her all about us. I felt instantly at ease talking with her as we compared notes on husbands and men in general. Connie joined us and the two of them told me how they love driving Ben crazy.
When I returned to Frankenbutt’s side, he was talking with BMX mom, Sue, and her husband about our crazy biking adventure. They were curious about what lead to our big bike trip and we shared some funny stories from the road. We met their young riders, Carson and Cadyn, and then they invited us to share some takeout pizza with their family. They were so kind and welcoming and truly have the BMX spirit.
We checked into our hotel and Ben paid the bill as Connie and Frankenbutt chatted out front. We went out in front of the lobby to say good night to Connie and Ben and found ourselves enjoying quite a few more laughs. The Winchester folks know how to relax and have fun. We love that! BMX is ALIVE AND WELL in Winchester! We can’t wait to see all of you at the Grands … and the other tracks along the way.