Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Bike

This is what Mins chose to spend his life's savings on. I'd made him a deal years ago: that if he wanted to have a car, he would have to pay half. If he saved $200, then he could buy a $400 car; if he saved $2000, he could buy a $4000 car, etc.

Then came the dream... and out went The Car Deal in favor of "The Bike Deal."

I had no idea there were bikes that cost this much!! Hah, little did I know-- this thing isn't even top end.

I made sure Mins realized that he was not getting The Car Deal back. This was it.. he had better be committed.

And so far he is, though now that he has his driver's license, I'm starting to hear a bit of muttering about how much EASIER things would be with a car....

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Vacation, December 2005

Ride Hard!: December 2005

BB and I (and my sister) took Mins skiing for a full week in New Mexico over his winter high school vacation.

Some kids would find that Very Cool. Other kids – maybe junior racers – would say, “OMG, I won’t be able to ride for a week?? I’m going to totally lose fitness!”

Some parents might gamely reply, as I did, “Hey, you’ll be at a very high altitude! It will really improve your aerobic capacity!” That might just pacify the junior athlete long enough to get him strapped into the airplane seat before the plane taxis out and it really sinks in that his precious bike has been left home, All Alone.

Ah, well. He suffered through it (and improved quite a bit as a skiier by the end of the trip!)

First Race, 2006

First Race of 2006: January 1, 2006

San Bruno Hill Climb

I wasn’t there for this race. First, it was pouring rain, and I was busy building an Ark.
Second, it had a 10am start on NEW YEAR’S DAY.

Do we need a third reason?

Mins went, though, and Mins’ dad deserves some credit here. MIns spent NY’s Eve with his dad, BatteryMan. The two of them packed up the next morning, then came over to my house to get everything else they needed for the race, then set out with Mins driving (he just got his driver’s license a couple of days before). I have no idea what time they arrived, but I do recall that I crawled out of bed at about 8:30 to find Mins’ 2 water bottles on the counter. Just as I was picking up the phone, to call them, Mins ran back inside to grab them and his rain jacket. Then, they were off.)

I heard from Mins that there was a mass start – his first with a field like that, which numbered 170. I’m glad I wasn’t there. Those things scare me a little.

I heard from BatteryMan that his advice to Mins was to leave it all on the last hill, and finish that with nothing but a smile on his face.

Mins says that’s what he did, and he’s happy with that.

Unfortunately, someone else had a wee bit more than a smile left... :)

Ignoring class, Mins finished in the top half of the whole field of 170 (I think there were like 19 juniors; he was in the top third). But, where should he be if he really wants to be a competitor? I guess we have to do some more research.

Still, a nice start to the year, I think. He had fun.

CycleMom's First

Ride Hard!
Season 1 Notes from a Junior Road Cyclist’s Mom (aka CycleMom)

My 16 year old son decided to try road racing last fall. We live in Northern California, where there are tons of cyclists, lots of weekend races and racers, and quite a few active cycling clubs competing for attention.

Still, last fall as I searched the Internet for information that I could use to better understand this path my son had so passionately declared that he was heading out on, I was surprised at how little there was from a novice-cycling-parent’s perspective. What should I expect? What should I do? How can I help? What resources are available? What equipment is necessary? What equipment is just desirable? What do I have to sell to pay for all this?!?

If you’re looking for expert answers to the above questions, you can stop reading now. I’m just beginning to learn myself. Still, I’ve decided to keep a journal, which you’ve stumbled onto if you’re reading this now. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn something along the way and someone else can benefit. Maybe, just maybe, there are others out there like me, whose sons or daughters have shunned all those traditional, glossy team sports so attractive to colleges in favor of competitive cycling, who just might appreciate knowing that they’re not alone. And maybe, just maybe, this site might eventually come to serve, in some small way, as a nexus for others to contribute information and perspectives of their own.

So off we go. I’ll confess that I’m getting started on this journal a bit late, in that as I write, Mins (my son’s nickname – I’m sure from his teenage perspective that every other sentence I write here holds the potential for his terminal embarrassment, so I’ll try to save him from at least some of that by not using real names) has already gone through his first few races at the end of last season, made the decision to invest his life’s savings into a racing bike, and joined a local club. I’ll catch you up on how that all played out as we go along—how we made our decisions, how we feel about them now, and the works. But, since it’s the beginning of a new year (January 3, 2006, to be exact), and almost the beginning of Mins’ true “Season 1,” I figure it’s best just to dive right in and get started before I lose my nerve.

Oh, one last thing. You know how I mentioned that every other sentence might be an embarrassment? Here’s my first confession. The title, “Ride Hard,” is what I screamed out at Mins from my spectator position near the end of his first race, a local criterium. Afterwards, I asked if he’d heard me. “Oh yeah, Mom. I and everyone else heard you.. But what did you think I’d been doing out there for the last 15 laps?!”

Ride Hard!” has now become a shorthand in our family for, “Moms-Can-Be-Really-Dense-Sometimes, but You-Gotta-Love-Em-Anyway” because they really do mean well.

Mins, I mean well by this blog, I really do! :)