Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It’s Still About The Kids

“I’m happy, I promise.”

Today’s post will be a break from the normal crap and nonsense that goes on around here (well, a little anyway.) What could be better than me whoring myself out to sponsors, struggling through races, and breaking every part on my bicycle that I possibly can? Well my friends, it can only be one thing: The Tarheel Trailblazers Kids Ride. This past Sunday, the ride was held at Sherman Branch, on what would turn out to be a beautiful day.

Lunchbox and I arrived on the scene, and to our surprise we saw a fan favorite in the parking lot. I say surprise because I had no idea that this guy would be in attendance. It’s always nice when he joins us for a ride, but even nicer when he comes out to help the kids. I quickly grabbed the camera to capture our special friend, The Dirty Party Cycle:

Soon after we greeted each other, the kids starting showing up. It’s been real hot over the summer here in Charlotte, so the turnout was pretty dismal for the last few rides we held. In fact, I had taken a little hiatus from the Kids Rides until the weather cooled off a bit. Today was one of those days, with temps in the low 80’s.

We gathered everyone up, and I gave the pre-ride talk. I introduced everyone to Lunchbox, our ride leader. Just before the ride started, I had everyone pose for a group shot:

Take a look at the kid right in the middle of the group (with the long flowing hair.) He was yet another special guest. Who is he? Well, he’s not just some random kid with a bicycle that I grabbed off the side of the road (that would be illegal I think.) No, he’s actually the son of the famous Chili Man. Yep. We convinced Sir Chili and his better half to let us kidnap his youngin’ for the day to introduce him to mountain biking. As we headed out for the ride, he seemed to get the hang of it real quick:

We don’t just ride bikes in the woods for these Kids Rides. We stop at various features along the trail and let the kids try them out. This little jump was very popular, and we hung out there for a while:

You know Lunchbox is still a kid, even though he’s man-size:

Junior Chili Man pushed his fear aside and gave it a shot:

The next stop was a little log rollover thingy, and the kids just had to conquer this one too:

Of course the “big kids” stood by as spotters:

After riding the features, we gathered up the group to keep going:

Lunchbox gets ready to resume the ride:

When we were near the end, I hurried to the front of the line to grab some photos of the group on their way out:

Junior Chili Man was still having fun:

Even the Dirty Party Cycle got in touch with his “inner child”:

Yet another successful Kids Ride, as you can plainly see. I really enjoy these rides. Like I’ve said in the past, these Kids Rides are more fun than any race I’ve ever done. Just watching these little ones tear it up puts a smile on my face. These guys and gals are the future of our sport, so it’s good to see them out there learning from the more experienced riders. Now, if I could only keep them from learning any of my bad racing habits…

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