Friday, April 23, 2010

What About The Kids?

Good question I guess. Since I missed two days on here this week, I somehow forgot to squeeze in my report of the Tarheel Trailblazers Kids Ride last Sunday afternoon. I know, I was too busy talking about my visit to Defeet and my trip to Warrior Creek. No worries though; there’s no way I could forget about the kids.

Lunchbox and I headed down to Colonel Francis Beatty Park to get this thing started on what was one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen around here in a long time. Since the Kids Rides are just starting back up again after a long winter, I didn’t really expect a huge turnout. Once everyone arrived though, we had a pretty decent-sized group. Heck, even local wheelie legend/grill master Benson showed up with his doggie, Black. Everyone posed for the obligatory group shot.

We had kids of all sizes, ages, and abilities. We even had one little boy who had just gotten his first mountain bike that very morning. I was excited for him. After a short chat with everyone, we headed out on the trail. Lunchbox lead the way, and showed the little ones how it was done. The kids were all smiles:

Benson gave everyone a clinic on how to ride the trail with a leashed dog:

After winding through the singletrack, we stopped at everyone’s favorite: Beatty’s own Gravity Cavity. The kids (and the adults) practiced their jumping skills for a while:

We hit the trail again, and headed for the next trail feature. This one would be the little log skinny. I didn’t think the kids would find this one too interesting, but I was wrong. In fact, they circled around the trail to hit it over and over again. This gave me (and Lunchbox) the opportunity to take some photos:

Even I got in on the action:

Benson impressed us all with a wheelie on it:

We continued on the trail, stopping at the little rock garden so we could practice yet another skill:

All of this fun would not come without a price. One of our little daredevils got a bit too ambitious when he tried to do another skinny, and took a small tumble. Luckily though, our local chapter of the National Mountain Bike Patrol (just me in this case) was on hand to patch him up. Before I patched him up though, his uncle suggested we take a photo so he would remember it:

The little guy was okay, and he eventually was able to continue. All it took was a little bribe of cookies, chips, and Gatorade to keep him going. We all made it to the end, and enjoyed some snacks at the picnic area:

The kids had a great time, and so did I. I really love doing these rides, and I hope that we can continue this for a long time. I may have said it before, but I would give up the racing and all the other riding I do just for these if I had to. If you are local to the Charlotte area and want to come and and help (or bring some more youngins), let me know. If you haven’t been out on a mountain bike ride with kids, then you’re missing out on all the fun. Having fun is the reason we all should be riding.

With the weekend coming up, I have no definite plans (surprise.) I hope to get out on a ride of course, but nothing is set in stone. With the Charlotte Mountain Bike Summer Series and the 6 Hour Grind On The Greenway coming up soon, I’ll need all the saddle time I can get. Maybe I should just stick to the kids rides., because at least there’s no suffering for me there. Well, maybe I have a thing for suffering. Fun and suffering seem to go hand in hand for me on a bike. See y’all Monday.

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