First, to Lynda @ High Springs: thanks for the comment! We, too, wish that High Springs was along our route! We love you and your track! Your track was the first track we visited after moving back from Hawaii. I was feeling pretty beaten down at that time and I left you a phone message asking if you had any loaner BMX helmets so that my daughter could get back in the sport, even though we didn’t have the funds on hand. You called me back and left a message saying that “just show up” and that you’d have helmet, jersey and even a bike if she needed it. We’ve since moved 2 hours south of your track and I was thrilled to see you at Competition Congress. I was sitting with Justin Travis of Ohio Dreams when you came to him with a terrific plan: a bus trip for Florida riders who wanted to go to BMX camp at his Ohio world class facility. You told him that if he offered it, you’d make it happen, since so many BMX families can afford a week of camp but not a week off work, and/or a plane ticket and the cost of shipping bikes. I smiled when I received the email from Ohio Dreams confirming that the bus had reached capacity! Thanks for embodying everything that is truly the heart of BMX!
Today, Frankenbutt found our two news articles that ran in the Hernando County version of the Tampa Tribune (online link:
http://www2.hernandotoday.com/content/2011/apr/22/riding-the-nation/news/ ) and The St. Petersburg Times (online link: http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/spring-hill-family-embarks-on-bike-ride-through-12-states/1165478 ). We were glad to see our beloved Tampa BMX track and it’s director get publicity, as well as all of our wonderful sponsors.
We woke up @ 7am and the Beast got dressed in riding gear. I gave her NBL bucks to buy breakfast at the Concession stand while Frankenbutt and I changed clothes in the tent. I’m getting used to lying on my back and pulling clothes on since our tent height is only about 4 ½ feet at the center. By the end of this trip, I should be able to change my clothes in a phone booth! (Do they even have phone booths anymore??) Frankenbutt, Coco and I made our way to Concessions while the Beast ran her first practice rounds.
I was asked by Laura Pingol if I would help out with scoring today and I agreed. I’ve been a volunteer scorer with the NBL since our daughter started racing 8 years ago. Since we are an all volunteer organization, I believe we all need to step up and do our share to keep the sport moving. I also have a motto: BMX is not about the riders. It’s about the SCORERS! Face it: if you race and no one scores you, you were just riding your bike, right? Just kidding! We all know, it’s about the riders.
It was a warm, sunny day and we refreshed ourselves with Strawberry Lemon Smoothies and Angel Food smoothies from Smoothie King. The Smoothie King staff were fast, friendly and efficient so that the three of us could get back to the track and take in all the excitement, including the Strider Bike racing. If you’re unfamiliar with Strider Bikes, they are “pedal-less” balance bikes that are the perfect precursor to bicycling. Kids learn how to balance themselves first and then add pedaling once they have a comfort level and a feel for two wheeling. The Sarasota track is one of the first in the country to build a Strider track, a mini version of a BMX track and it’s been a hit! Today, kids from 1-4 years old strapped on helmets and “paddled” their feet up and over small hills and around dirt curves to the finish line. I was surprised how competitive so many of them were! They all seemed very focused on the task at hand and I witnessed the displeasure some expressed over having to get off the Strider bikes after the competition.
The Beast had decent finishes today in her motos: 4,2, and 3 and then took 3rd in the main event. She congratulated her fellow racers and we all headed back to the tent to relax. She was invited by Brooke’s Mom and Dad for an evening swim and dinner at the campground they are staying at locally and had her swimsuit in hand in a flash. She and Brooke jumped in the truck and headed out while Frankenbutt and I settled into their BMX camp chairs for some relaxation. Frankenbutt pulled out our e-reader and discovered that the screen had cracked and is now not usable. Ugh! During one of the really bumpy road rides this past week, his bar bag had dislodged from it’s bracket and bounced on the ground. Although it’s a terrific waterproof bag and keeps our electronics relatively safe … it didn’t save the e-reader. Luckily, the computer survived the assault. I could cry over it but instead, I’ll think of it as one less item to haul 2,885 miles ahead!
With nothing to read, we decided to attempt to “clean up” a bit at the bathroom. The track director, Troy, unlocked the bathrooms for us and then offered use of the outdoor spigot, too, in case we wanted to wash hair, etc. So, I did. It was quite refreshing and fun. Ahh, camping!
The Beast and Brooke returned from their swim and told us what a great time they had. Brooke’s Mom and Dad (Renee and Joe) surprised us with cups of tea and coffee! What a nice treat! I tell you … BMX folks are made of the nicest stuff on earth! (or is that a certain brand of bottled tea?) Whatever, still applies here!
We’ll get up early in the morning for the 8:30 am racing and then pack it all up and hit the road again.
For viewing of yesterday’s Smoothie King antics on youtube.com, try this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5VWC1-I1K0&feature=related