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Friday morning’s alarm came quickly after a laid back evening of tacos with the J&R gang. But … at least, it wasn’t raining! We got up and dressed in our “ride the nation” jerseys and prepared to meet up with our fellow BMXers at a local school for a ride in parade. When I pulled my bike away from the fence where I had leaned it, I found out that there were a bunch of insects that liked our Jandd pannier bag. There were over a hundred creepy, crawly hard armadillo soft shell bodied bugs crawling all over the pannier. This looked like a job for Frankenbutt!
He pulled the pannier off and first attempted to “fling” them off by spinning the bag around in the air. No such luck. Evidently, they have powerful little legs! Then he banged the pannier against the picnic table and quite a few flew off the pannier. That’s a start! Then, he realized and showed me that a bunch of them had gotten inside the pannier. Ugh! We decided that it was best to leave the panniers at our campsite. It might look strange if all the little critters decided to emerge just as the media was talking to us.
We put our helmets on and rode up to the Concessions area where we Jennifer met us with directions to the local school meet up spot. We headed out and arrived to find another BMX family pulling bikes and helmets from their SUV to join us on the ride. Within 10 minutes, there were 4 more families and some media started to arrive. There were also 2 sheriff’s vehicles waiting to escort us through town. It was so exciting! I love a BMX escort and I always get butterflies in my belly when we start one of these parades.
Before we rolled out, we posed for some newspaper pics, answered questions and enjoyed talking about our beloved sport of BMX. The County delivered a banner for us to carry at the start of the parade and we decided that the Beast and Jennifer’s daughter, Melanie, should do the honors. The two of them did a trial run in the parking lot and managed to handle the 12 foot wide pole and banner quite well, even thru the giggles.
We lined up behind the sheriff’s car and started riding in the direction of the Waterford Oaks BMX track. Cars stopped as we rode by and many honked and waved. I was so proud to be amongst such a great group of local athletes! Both Melanie and the Beast handled their job so well, communicating through curves and turns. It was a really fun ride and I couldn’t stop from smiling the whole way.
We pulled into the track and there were some BMX parents on hand to applaud all the riders. The reporters also were also on hand to photograph and interview the riders, Coco and us. I liked watching the kids talk about their sport and was moved when one of the BMX moms said that although BMX is an Olympic sport, it’s not a school sport. For that reason, her kids will never get a varsity jacket or class ring with a BMX emblem on it … even though, they’ve participated in the sport for well over the amount of time most high school athletes spend during their school years. Again, BMX is an OLYMPIC sport that gets so little recognition; our sport’s longevity and advancement is dependent upon positive publicity. I encourage all local tracks to appoint local media liasons who help to keep our sport in the public eye.
On Friday afternoon, we relaxed and talked with other BMX parents and re-connected with old friends. Track Director, Jennifer West, told us that the parents group would like to provide us with meals for the weekend and we thanked her; that’s a huge help on our travel budget! The Beast joined the standard 2-6 pm Friday afternoon pre-race practice and declared that the track was just about ready for the weekend National. Later in the evening, we were invited to hang out with the J&C Racing families in the RV area.
We arrived and it was quintessential BMX! Kids were jumping hard plastic moulded ramps, moms and dads were enjoying pizza and beer, and everyone was laughing and poking fun at one another. One of the dads introduced himself and we asked the standard BMX question: “so, who do you have racing?” His reply: “No one. Our kids have been out of racing for a few years. I just come to hang out with our old team; they’re better than family.” Frankenbutt and I laughed, knowing that will probably be us some day. Ironically, three of the adults we met in the next ½ hour were here without kids that race; their kids had either grown up or moved on to other activities. But, like I always say: You just can’t leave BMX. It truly is a Vortex!
We listened to funny stories and enjoyed beers and pizza and had a really relaxing time. My favorite quote of the night? Hmm … oh, yeah, this one: “my husband and I are trying to decide whether to get a French Bulldog or a kid to do Strider racing.” I almost peed myself when I heard that! And … I think I get that. Way to go, Rashonda!
We finally gave up to our need for sleep around midnight. Our ribs were sore from laughing and we really didn’t want to part ways with the fun group at J&C Racing. But, there’s racing on Saturday and we ought to make sure the Beast gets a halfway decent night of sleep. We are really loving our time here at Waterford Oaks BMX. I can’t wait to see if the media covers the BMX aspect of our ride in a way that benefits the track.