Looking for a way to get my kid back into racing found out that in our area there was a group that was sending their top riders to the NICA races. Asked myself what could be better to get the Little DeViL back into racing than high school racing? b.i.k.e. Syracuse is that group, theyíre a non profit organization that provides opportunities and options for inner-city, at-risk children, not necessarily a bike club with racing team if you catch my drift.
Bicycles and Ideas for Kids Empowerment was created in Portland and the city of Syracuse used that program as a model and their goal is to keep the children from entering the cycle of drugs, violence, crime and dropping out of school by providing a caring supportive environment and thatís where abruptly I came in. The program has 4 high schoolers being trained for the NICA series and the Black Fly Challenge, when I talked to them it seemed like a good fit for my kid in cycling and social terms so we decided to go along for a couple of rides. After the first ride the kids were getting along just fine and I started to help with riding technique and bike fit, slowly I became the unofficial mountain bike co-coach and started to take them on regular training rides in preparation for their future events. We got involved a bit too late to do the NICA series this year but last Saturday 3 kids and 2 coaches (myself included) participated on the Black Fly Challenge. My role for the Black Fly was to ride along (and coach) one of youngsters, he has been training hard and lost 50 pounds trying to improve his health and conditioning, the other coach will go with the faster kids.
The race started with an 11 mile asphalt climb fest (the race gains over 1k feet throughout), right out of the gate my kid has a problem, shoe laces in the chainrings, by the time he tightened and double knotted his laces we were dead last. We got into a nice pace and started to pass people, from time to time my kid will slow down and even dismount to walk, at a certain feed zone he even stopped to stretch. To make a long story short, he rode up, he walked up, he flew down, he paced well on the rolling hills and sort of handled the muddy sections prior to the finish. We even caught up to one of his teammates that bonked trying to keep my sonís pace, he learned the hard way that you race your own race regardless of what you teammates do, that was at mile 35 of 40. By mile 39 my kid was struggling, I tried to motivate him and get him from walking to riding, he listened and after 4 hours of hard painful work we reached the finish line, we high five at the line and he looked relieved, happy but dead tired. I quickly found my son and give him a big congratulatory hug.
The race had 508 finishers of 578 entrants, we were among the finishers and that was what mattered. My son finished 7th and my kid was 18th on the U18 class, the other DNFíd. The other coach finished 8th on Expert woman and I finished 36 on the 40-49 class. Iím still sore but feel great after being able to help my kid accomplish another one of his goals and witness my son do a great job after being out of racing for almost 3 years.
Team b.i.k.e. Syracuse
Emmanuel, Little DeViL, Kat, Omar and me.
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