Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Always look to the positive
and never drop your head

Ya, I had a pretty sucky race Sunday. What wasn't sucky was taking my six year old Nephew Noah Mountain Biking last Thursday.

I went to pick him up at School in South Natick. Things have changed significantly since the days when I would pick up my brothers (who were ten and twelve years younger than me) at elementary school. Now you have to wait in the library as the kids file in behind their teachers before being handed directly over to their parents or another pre-cleared and approved individual.

Back when the brothers were in school, at the end of the day they would basically open the front door and let the kids pour out in all directions like a screaming tsunami. One day I was commissioned with picking up James, the younger of the two, something I probably did begrudgingly as barter toward use of the mini van for the afternoon. Parents were lined up in their station wagons (this was before children became so obese that parents required SUVs to contain and transport their immense carcasses), kids everywhere, mayhem. I swing the miniature van up to the curb, my buddy Stu, slides open the door and jumps out, running like a linebacker toward little James. He picks him up under his arm like a sardonically smiling football and begins to run back toward the van yelling "I got one! GO! GO! ".

I think my parents forgave me for that incident last week.

It was his first real mountain bike ride on his new Fisher Precaliber SS. It's his first bike without a coaster brake, first bike with hand brakes, a whole lot to get used on your first ride in the woods, with the roots and the rocks and the pointy things everywhere.

He had never used hand brakes before, he demonstrated this by getting on the bike and promptly grabbing a fistful of front brake, jack-knifing in the parking lot and whacking his shin before we even got going. He walked it off and after a little practice with the rear brake we were out in the woods for some proper mountain biking. Riding as slow as I have to to go at a six year old's pace is actually quite dangerous for me, especially when I'm not watching where I'm going but where he's going. I rode into more than one tree.

He learned quickly that as a Single-Speeder you must come to love "long walks up steep mountains next to [your] bike". Being the budding multi-sport super-star that this genetically gifted little bloke is, of course he opted to run up any hill that knocked him off his shiny red bike. He made up for any lost time on the downhills, adopting a Sam Hill-like, brakeless descending style:

I tried to convince him to lift his butt up off the saddle while going through rough stuff or downhill and to stand while he was climbing, forgetting for a moment here or there that this was his first time riding anywhere besides his driveway or the most sedate carriage path. He was just doing so well. We'll work on that some more next time. That and J-Hopping.

The area we went riding in is called "The Noanet Woodlands". On the car ride home Noah asked "Uncle Thom, what was that place called again?". "I'll give you a hint...if you were trying to catch a Butterfly named Noah, what would you use?". "A Butter-fyie net" (he has a bit of an adorable speech thing going on, his sister "Lyla" is "Yie-La" right now). "Ya, but if you just wanted to catch one named NOAH". "Um, um, um...a Noah Net?".

This story is entirely fabricated. I don't have a Nephew (I don't even have a sister) I just wanted you people to think I wasn't such a prick for a day.

In other news, it may sound insane but it's true. I'm heading up to Canada Cup #2 in Tremblant "on the way" to Coyote Hill Sunday. It'll be my first UCI race as a 35 year old over-worked Single-Speeder with a Pro license in his wallet. I'm sure it will go really, really well. It's OK if I embarrass the living hell out of myself up there though. What happens in Canada stays in Canada (unless you babble all about it on your trog).


Raineman said...

You skank. My heart, welling up with tears like those flowing from the eyes of a couple of wined-up 20-something women watching the climactic scene in Bride Wars, got popped like a balloon.
Noah schmoe-ah. I'll never believe another word. SOB.

Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

That post rocked. too funny.

I hope you are comming to SS-pa-looza. Are you?

Anonymous said...

Hey! I am Noah schmoe-ah's mom...and the sister!!!!!! In fact, a very lucky sister and I have a very lucky kid b/c he has a super uncle who picks him up at school and rides bikes with him!!! Oh, and makes him pancakes. You can cry now.

Raineman said...

Dear sis,
Thom says you don't exist... but if Thom's fantasy world is reality, then that means you really do exist and the story is true. Let us pray... and I quote "This story is entirely fabricated. I don't have a Nephew (I don't even have a sister) I just wanted you people to think I wasn't such a prick for a day."
Or maybe what you are saying is Thom really is a prick. My head hurts.

Big Bikes said...

Al, I found "the tell" while re-reading this post. I never mentioned my sister until I claimed not to have one. That would be the big revelation moment in an awesome episode of CSI Dracut.

And George, yes, coming to NYC next weekend. All signed up and everything.


Anonymous said...

Funny thing about that school pickup - the school never called, noone ever called about it at all...
(Thom's Mom)

Anonymous said...

Great post!


Frenchy aka Bike Boy said...

Nice... I will look for you at SS Pa looza: I will be the guy on the big green bike with flowers...are you actually coming into the city?