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! :)