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After a long, rainy and stormy night, we awoke to a cool Sunday morning. Ahhh, what a welcome change of pace. The tent has been leaking in a few places during heavy rain and Saturday night’s rain left the perimeter puddled. Frankenbutt spread some of the stuff out on a picnic table in the shade while I pulled together my stuff for the shower house. We let the Beast sleep in since she complained of having a sore throat the night before.
Once we all got up and showered, I took the computer bag and headed for the camp store to post the night before’s blog. I also figured I’d pick up something easy for breakfast while there since all we had on board the bikes was pancake mix and syrup. After last week’s pancake burning escapade, neither Frankenbutt nor I wanted a repeat performance. They came out so bad, not even Coco wanted to eat them.
After posting the blog, I headed into the camp store to find that they had two breakfast choices: Pancake mix or Pop Tarts. Hmm, I do love Pop Tarts … but only if they’re toasted. Should I get ‘em and hope to find a friendly RV’er with a toaster? Nah. I figured Frankenbutt would work some kitchen magic from the stuff we had in our kitchen panniers. When I returned, I found that he’d already made Ramen Noodles for the kid, who said the hot broth felt good on her throat. He and I figured we’d pick something up along the route to the Shady Lane BMX track.
So, we broke down camp, loaded the bikes and roller out onto Route 250, following our GPS into Norwalk. It was a pretty flat road so I WAS SO HAPPY! We pedaled along leisurely, figuring we’d arrive at the track around 1pm for the 2pm race. The sun started shining brighter and the heat started gearing up but we didn’t notice it much unless we had to stop for a traffic signal; then it was like a wall of heat.
We rode into Norwalk and saw a Burger King and a McDonald’s. We went with the kid’s first choice, McD’s. I asked Frankenbutt what he wanted as he got Coco out of the trailer. He told me his order and then the Beast and I headed in to order. I started ordering and then the clerk told me that they stopped serving breakfast over an hour ago. Oops! (Don’t you hate that???) So, we revamped our order and got burgers.
The track was only ½ a mile from the McD’s so we finished lunch and rode over. It was nice that there were plenty of signs to guide us in. It was so hot by that point that I really didn’t want to wear my helmet, even that short a distance, but I did. As soon as we arrived, Julie, the clerk of course and track director’s wife, welcomed us and made us feel at home. She told us that the race would be delayed a bit because the heavy overnight rain created some extra track maintenance.
They had a clinic on the track that was wrapping up so we parked our bikes along the fence and drank a bunch of water to re-hydrate. Coco spotted another dog (Oreo) that she wanted to meet so we held onto our leash as she dashed “Iditarod sled dog” style over to the EZ Up where Oreo was playing. At first, they were cool with one another and then Oreo reminded Coco just whose track she was at. Coco wandered off to play with some kids instead, respecting Oreo’s space.
We talked with the other BMX parents who were interested in hearing the story of our crazy epic ride. We were all excited about having passed the 3000 mile mark and one after another said, “I could never do that”. Again … I wouldn’t have guessed I could do it either … But, I’m doing it. And I’m fat. And I’m 47. And I’m not much of an athlete. So, Never say NEVER.
We met a fellow named Brandon Edwards who is opening an indoor BMX track in the Canton, Ohio area called 4130 BMX Park. Cool! I love indoor tracks! If you want to find out more about it, check out their website: www.4130bmxpark.com Apparently, it’s slated to open in November, 2011. At the same time that we found out about the indoor track opening, we also found out that 2 older BMX tracks in Ohio are closed or closing: London and Monroe. Both were on our list of scheduled stops so we will need to re-do our schedule and maybe stop at additional tracks in Michigan or some in Ohio we hadn’t planned on stopping at. We’ll keep you posted.
We found our way to the bleachers as practice was ending and met a nice couple from the Toledo area: Tanya and John. I enjoyed sitting and talking with them as their 7 year old son prepared to race. Coco also enjoyed lying in the shade beneath their Jeep. As we talked, a gentleman with camera equipment approached and said he was there to cover the local race. I was THRILLED! YES! Local race coverage! We really need that in our sport. He explained that he’s 62 years old and has been in the sport for years and loves it. He’s a freelance photographer for the Norwalk Reflector and covers as much as possible at the local track. He said he’d also like to interview us and write something about our trip in the local paper.
We were happy to put our official Ride the Nation Jerseys on and pose for photos. He also took some raw video footage that he said he hopes to have on the newspaper’s website, www.norwalkreflector.com. He said to check the left hand corner under “refcam2.0” and search for “ride the nation”.
They invited us to join them for sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, awesome pasta salad, cookies, brownies, chips and more. It was very relaxing and a great way to end a hot day of bike racing at the track.
As the evening sky began to lose light and the last of the riders left, Track Director Rick and his wife, Julie, were still working on clean up and shut down. The Beast and Frankenbutt headed off to McDonald’s to get some Wifi time for the Beast who had been “disconnected” for over a week. I helped Julie get tables and chairs back into the building and put the wooden covers on the registration windows. She was really nice to talk with and she told me how she and Rick stepped up to manage the track a year ago when it was at risk for closing because there wasn’t anyone interested in taking on the track director position. I know that managing a track is a lot of work and can be a thankless job. I hope that more parents from the Shady Lane track help them make Shady Lane successful this year and next. We all know that the work is less difficult if we all take a piece of it and help out.
Julie had also told us we could camp overnight in their field and left the water on for our use. There was a Porta Pot (which was in better condition than many I’ve seen) for our use and she told us to help ourselves to any of the leftover food from the after party. Russell came over and gave us 3 Gatorades to help us restore our fluids lost in the scorching afternoon sun. He also told us he’s on vacation this week and plans to bring his camper to the track and work on getting the track in shape for the upcoming state race. It’s obvious he’s an asset to the track and I’m sure Rick and Julie would appreciate any spare time other parents could lend to keeping the facility a great place for kids and families to be together.