Monday, August 24, 2009

Da Bears

Friday night we were invited to the Mega Huge Ginormous Grand Opening Celebration of Da Bears Den. My friend and across-the-street neighbor, A.J. and his father just bought this place and converted it to a Chicago-themed sports bar. The fam and I headed out there at around 9:00 p.m., since it’s always nice to show up fashionably late. It’s a pretty nice place. There’s some memorabilia on the walls, complete with freshly painted Chicago Bears team colors. They have pool tables, darts, some kind of golf video game, and TVs aplenty. As soon as we walked in the door, A.J. was there to greet us. I asked him if they had any beer on tap that didn’t suck. He said, “Uh, we have Blue Moon.” Good enough for me, although I did notice that they sold some kind of beer in a can. It was most likely Miller Light, or something hideous like that. To each his own, I suppose. We hung out for a while and found the usual crowd milling about. You see, A.J. is known for having these really great parties in his garage, which was really convenient for me. I could drink as much as I wanted, and then all I had to do was walk home. I guess now I won’t be drinking so much at his parties. Anywho, we talked to some of the garage-party regulars, and had a nice time. Little Miss Sunshine even made us some new friends. Stay tuned.

We didn’t stay out at the party/bar all night, since the Lunchbox and I had to get up at the crack of dark for some volunteer duty. It was time for the Cackalacky Cup, a very interesting time trial-type mountain bike race at the beautiful Lake Norman State Park, in Troutman, NC. This event was put on by Neal Boyd from Charlotte Sports Cycling, and First Flight Bicycles, in Statesville, NC.

The first time trial was “technical,” meaning that there were several obstacles spread out along the course. My volunteer duty station had me at the first, which proved to be interesting. The funniest thing was the difficulty the 29er crowd had trying to weave in and out of the cones. I guess clown wheels aren’t the perfect solution for everything, especially tight turning.

The second time trial was just fast, held on the Monbo loop. You can haul ass through that trail, and the racers did just that. Lunchbox and I found a dangerous spot to camp out, so we could take some pictures and also help with potential crashes. I’m happy to say that there were no crashes, but there sure were a lot of close calls. Even the little kids did a great job. After the last participant passed by us, Lunchbox and I swept the course as we rode the entire Monbo loop. Ahh, another incident-free day as a Bike Patroller.

After the race times were totalled, we had the awards ceremony at the pavilion on the lake. Lunchbox handed out trophies, and I handed out prizes. We saw some familiar faces from the Wednesday night race series, and some new faces too. After the eating, prizes, and other general forms of celebration, we broke down all of the tents and tables, and packed it all in the trailer. Just as soon as Neal closed the trailer door, here comes the rain again. Just in time.

Sunday was our bi-weekly Tarheel Trailblazers Kid’s Ride. This week the ride was held at Francis Beatty Park in Matthews, NC. We had another great turnout, and Lunchbox was happy to be back doing “club stuff” as he calls it. We stopped at the trail features to assist the kids that need extra help. It’s so amazing to watch their confidence grow right in front of your eyes. Yeah, I enjoy racing a lot, but nothing tops this. Helping these kids learn to ride trails is the best feeling. All I can hope is that they grow to love this sport as much as I do. Aside from just going along for the ride, I was there as a Bike Patroller, just in case the little ones get hurt. The funny thing is, they fall and get right back up. The kid’s rides usually have more adults that go down and need medical attention. This guy fell while trying to land a jump, and crashed right on his face. Luckily, I was standing right next to him when he went down. I offered assistance, but he declined, saying he only hurt his pride. I bet he’s hurting today. Check out the video here.

Group Shot

Lunchbox does not like the paparazzi. He's trying to attack the camera.

Rockin’ the garden

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the kid's ride. Thanks for helping out!