Axel Merckx Youth Series – Youth Clinic

Lesson #1:  Never, never, answer the phone when Caller ID says it’s Lister Farrar and it’s the Wednesday before a big event.

Especially when it’s a big event that takes place over a weekend that your kids are out of town and all you really had in mind was a campsite at Englishman River Falls, a good book, and a cooler full of delicious beverages.

But I’m glad I helped out.  Tripleshot and the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation hosted a weekend of clinics and racing for young cyclists and it was great to see the kids grow over the three days.  The first day was at Western Speedway.  (“Heh, heh, heh.  Were they learning hit-to-pass racing?” –more wiseacres than I care to count)

I couldn’t quite get past the cognitive dissonance that goes with skinny kids in Lycra zipping past billboards for the Luv Shak and Bob’s Lube Shop, but the track is a super place to learn racing skills.  Lister wouldn’t let me run the big stoplight on the start line, though.  🙁

The kids got to learn about cornering and bunch riding skills through the afternoon and then applied them to a 3k time trial.  The TT was not, as I expected, around the big track.  Instead, the organizing team set up what amounted to a cyclocross course on pavement.  It even wound out onto the parking lot and back, with lots of switchbacks.  This kept the kids on their toes.  I got to learn about CyclingBC’s one-day license rules, how to keep a straight face while telling parents that they needed to sign these three release forms, and learning how to produce start lists and results for the TT on the fly.  I also got to put on my Mom Voice when the kids went over to Thetis Lake Park for a dip and a picnic.  The Glare of Doom accompanied the Voice when I explained to the youth that jumping off the cliffs while they were on my watch and the club’s insurance policy was Right Out, so Siddown and Eat your Vegetables.  They mostly did.

Why does this not work on my own children?

Did a bunch of shopping for various picnic meals.  “Um.  Lister.  How many people for lunch?”  “What?!”  (sigh)  Took another volunteer and made the fastest run ever through Costco.  “She shops like a man,” said my partner.  I think that was a compliment.

Saturday morning, I went and rode my bike while the kids learned track cycling skills at the velodrome.  That afternoon, I pottered around the house so I could be at the track at five to start setting up for the evening racing.  At 3:50, the phone.  Lister.  “Hey, we were thinking of starting the racing at five, can you be here (half an hour away under the best possible circumstances) in ten minutes?”

Broke no really important laws, got there relatively quickly and learned about a new discipline I think I could market, called “Agile Recordkeeping.”  Because the race schedule was, um, fluid.  “Say, Bruce.  What kind of race should we run next?”  “I dunno.  What do you want to do?”  I found myself saying things like, “Hey, boys, does this race record times or place?” And the kids made it even more exciting by doing things like reseeding themselves into different racing groups as the spirit moved them.

I lurve Excel, except for a new feature I discovered, which is that it hacks fractions of a second off times that go into pivot tables under certain circumstances.  We were able to get records and results out in pretty good time, although I don’t think my printer has recovered from having race officials pulling new start sheets from it as it printed.

Sunday was street racing in the drizzle at Windsor Park, and was much the same kind of amiable chaos.

But the kids!  A bunch of learning sponges!  A bunch of sharks on wheels!  I didn’t know a 10-year-old could go that fast!  So, although I feel kind of silly for spending a weekend volunteering at a kids’ clinic my kids weren’t at, my real takeaway is that I wish they’d been able to take it all in.  The coaches and the organizers working with the kids made it all look so easy and the Axel Merckx Foundation was generous with time, prizes, and support.

Still.  Think twice if Lister calls and you had other plans.  🙂

Last Time I’m Likely to Hear That: Part 7

So, my teammate and I walked over to my car to get some supplies for the youth cycling clinic we are volunteering at this weekend.  We got there and he took a step back and whistled.

“Kate,” he said.  “You have a fabulous rack.”

Too bad he was looking at the new Thule hitch-mount bike carrier.

Triathlon of Compassion 2012

So, guess who entered the Tri of Compassion on a flyer the day before the race, put in a really solid performance despite being tragically under-trained for the swim and the run, and then finished with a nice tidy age group win?

Nope. Not me. It was my 16-year-old, D.

Thursday evening, D says to me, he says, “Hey. I’m thinking I could do the Tri of Compassion this weekend.” I summoned my best maternal supportive self and replied,

“Are you out of your mind? I know you love to ride. I know you enjoy time trialing. But you haven’t been in a pool in over two years and I’ve never seen you run more than 50 paces, like, ever.”

“Right,” he said. “How do I register?”

Continue reading Triathlon of Compassion 2012

Tripleshot Friday D

When I want to play road cyclist instead of triathlon-carbon-geek, I ride with Tripleshot Cycling, whose name arises from the quantity of espresso it takes to recover from being up and on the road for a 6AM start several days a week.

The club has a raft of scheduled rides – Tuesdays are sprints around the University.  Wednesdays are hill workouts.  Saturday and Sunday rides tend to go long and vary in their degree of stupidity.  And Fridays, the day I usually make it out, are waterfront rambles that end in a sprintfest on the mile-long circuit in Beacon Hill Park.  On a good summer day, there can be more than sixty people out, which can make for exciting moments when multiple packs going different speeds converge in the park.

With a big crowd, the group breaks into four or so packs:  The A Team; B+ and B- (or B1 and B2) (or, if you prefer, the Killer Bs and the Honey Bs), and C.  C is a no-drop group of experienced cyclists slacking off and new cyclists learning the ropes.  It’s a welcoming learning environment and the most loving thing they eventually do is cast you out.

“You can ride B now.  Yes, you.  You can do it.  Go away and don’t come back until you’ve been on at least six B rides.”

But this morning, since I’m milking my post-race recovery week for all it’s worth, I decided to amble to work on my bike instead.  Then, I decided to put on Tripleshot kit and amble in.  Then, I decided to put on Tripleshot kit and amble in right along the waterfront route they all ride, right about the time they’d go by.  It was challenging to stay in a deliberately relaxed mindset as the As pinned my ears back; B+ went by like a freight train; and B-, stopped by the side of the road discussing their racing tactics for the next bit, looked at me very suspiciously, turned away, and lowered their voices.

When I drifted into the coffee shop, A, B1, and B2 were still crushing each other in the park, but C was there, looking ever so relaxed and happy and they let me sponge a coffee.  So, there you have it.  I rode “D” this morning and had the finest outing of all of ’em.

Data, Endurance Sport, and Data About Endurance Sport