Pride and Determination: Colorado High School Mountain Bike Racing

On Sunday, the Colorado high school mountain bike racing season was in full swing. The race was in Granby at the Snow Mountain Ranch and the course was speckled with aspen leaves of awesome vibrant colors. And just like the first race at the Chalk Creek Challenge, the kids continue to prove that they are in it to finish it.

I waited just past the finish line for the Boulder High girls. Once the kids finish, they are asked to sign a jersey for the sponsors. That’s where I lie in wait to tell the girls how amazing they are (and they are) and to hold their bikes and to give them a hug (if they want one). This part of the finish line reminds me of when we used to be able to go all the way to the gate at the airport. When we would be waiting right outside the door for mom, grandma or our favorite friends. Remember the looks on people’s faces? I really miss that. Well, that’s what it was like for me. The girls would roll up and kind of be looking for their people and at the same time, trying to catch their breath. That’s when I saw what I would have missed ten years ago. Before I became a parent. I saw pure pride.

One of the freshmen girls was racing for her first time. And that’s no small feat. Getting to the race, remembering all of your stuff, remembering your race plate and thinking about what foods will be the best pre-race foods. Of course, parents play a huge role in all this but ultimately it’s the kid who had to roll up to the start line and ride the race. All by her or himself. It’s a big deal. So when they come across the line and they’ve just done something they weren’t sure they could do, well, that’s a really big deal. And when said girl rolled up it was like watching a tennis match. I looked back and forth between her and her dad and I saw the emotion and the pride on his face. And I know this look because I have three kids of my own and I know what it feels like when my kid medals in all five events at the swim meet or when they race short track (at age 4). Or when my kids score their first goal. It’s like the best feeling in the world. And so I guess what I am saying is this: The kids that come out and race are awesome. They could stay at home all nestled in their warm beds (especially on a race day after homecoming) and they could be content with the cyclocross race they did the day before but they get up and they show up and they leave everything they have out on the course.

This is what you might be missing if you haven’t been to a race. Oh, what’s that? You don’t have a kid in high school? You can volunteer! Ring cowbells, set up the course or help with registration. This past race had 387 racers, 25 more than the season opener at Chalk Creek! For Division I, Boulder High and Fairview tied (these are preliminary results) with Vail Valley Composite and Salida trailing close behind for third and fourth. For Division II, Animas (Durango) took first place with Green Mountain (Lakewood) coming in second. Grand Valley and Evergreen placed third and fourth respectively. Again, these are preliminary results but once again the kids gave it their all and seemed to have a great time doing it.
There are two more races left in the 2012 season. I can’t wait to see what happens next time.

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