2014 JBOMB: Race Report: Dean and Grant from Dad's Perspective

RACE REPORT: Dean and Grant Race the JBOMB at Wakefield Regional Park

last weekend I took the boys to West Virginia for the MORE Fall Camping Trip

nothing reminds me and the boys how much we love mountain biking more than going mountain biking

so... while still on a buzz from being so stoked about our trip to West Virginia we took the bikes out to Wakefield Regional Park for the Trails for Youth's JBOMB!
in years prior the JBOMB was a series... this year the JBOMB is a one day affair
bummer... but we will take what we can get

with the growth of NICA mountain bike series in Virginia the attention of Trails for Youth has been chasing down these other races instead of hosting their own series
I can see a lot of advantages to supporting the growth of the NICA Series
in fact... I would love to see some NICA action at Fort Dupont 


what a thought... a NICA Race at Fort Dupont? 

yes... a NICA Race at Fort Dupont

that is something that should happen

sorry... getting side tracked

and well... with my no more than a scan before hitting Publish and Post I need to try to keep on task
trying to get something down about the boys racing this Sunday past at the JBOMB

there was not much that needed to be done to the bikes
just air in the tires and lube on the chain

oh sure... Grant's suspension fork is blown out... nothing I could do between last weekend and this weekend
no time for a rebuild... plus... in part because I lack the know how to do a rebuild a suspension fork... but also because there was no time to get the fork to a shop and back between West Virginia and Wakefield

so Grant would be riding his geared Trek mountain bike with a fully compressed suspension fork... to which Grant shrugged his shoulders and said... "rigid is faster!"
while Dean would be racing his single speed Gunnar that he has nearly outgrown

like father... like sons

I have always ridden bikes that are tragically too small for me and always out of tune
but this is not about me
this is about my boys racing at Wakefield

the boys were stoked... stoked yet nervous

pre-race anxiety is normal...
they each got a little more than butterflies when we talked about the race
they each went through the same set of emotions that any adult racer would go through

who will be there? 
how will I perform? 
blah blah blah...

this is completely normal... it is not about the anxiety... it is about how you respond to the anxiety

that energy... that nervous energy... that adrenaline can be a valuable tool
gotta try to capture that energy
gotta fight caving into that energy

on the car ride to the race we talked about pre-race anxiety

we talked about preparation... breathing... fueling up... getting your bike ready... getting your body ready... getting your mind ready
there was talk about riding their own race
going hard... but no so hard that you blow up and are too tired to finish

then Welcome to the Jungle came on the radio...

listen to this... a good song in your head helps to keep the tempo up

the boys only gave me half attention... I had my distracted sons repeat what I said so that I was not just talking to hear myself speak...

"be considerate when trying to pass
find safe smart places to pass
be vocal about the pass
ask to take the pass... if you have to... take the pass
but do not put yourself or others at risk trying to pass"

and of course... allow the faster racer to pass

but that does not mean pulling over for the other racers... especially if you are racing them
decide accordingly
if someone is faster... let them pass... let them ride their race
if someone is going to pass and drop their pace... do not let them pass as you do not want to get stuck behind them... you want to try to ride your own race... not get stuck at someone else's pace or their inability to clear various technical obstacles

there was all sorts of talk like that

the boys understood... they had been through this before
I warned them about the possible competition
respecting that we are city folk and do not get into the woods that often
and that there are kids who are taking cycling seriously... mountain biking and biking in general as their main sport

we talked about winning

not that it is so important to win... but to go out and try your hardest and to try and do your best
ride within their limits
again being safe and smart

don't "over cook the turns" 

don't crash going out of control

and of course... have a good start

if possible... WIN THE HOLE SHOT!
do not crash trying to win the hole shot

be up at the front... don't burn out trying to win the hole shot...
do not get stuck behind anyone slower than you
and worse yet
do not get stuck behind someone who might crash

it all sound so confusing
so many "if then" statements

there was some city traffic... but Interstate 395 to I-495 and then Braddock Road was pretty smooth
we arrived with a little less than an hour to prepare for Dean's race
which is really just enough time to register, warm up, and take the line
Grant would have two hours before his race start

before getting out of the car I turned to Dean who was in the back seat and said something to the effect... "I love watching you race... I love your riding style... it is this weird mix of happy go lucky and mellow all the while being intense and totally focused"
then Grant asked me what I thought of his riding style... to which I responded... "Grant... I love your riding style... you race with passion and heart... you attack the trail and try to crush anyone that gets in your way"

I got out of the car and starting pulling bikes off the roof rack

Grant was suited up and riding his bike before I got his race number
he was not warming up... he was checking out the bridge over 495 with the dog
which was fine... it is nice that he is confident with his surroundings
able to explore without getting lost

after registration and numbers on the bike Grant was off to pre-ride the course
while Dean was a little more under my wing

somewhat anxious for the race... me not Dean... I moved frantically between actions

unloading bikes... registration... numbers on bikes... fuel up Dean... release Grant... I had Dean do a little warm up and then when we encountered each other again I took Dean to the gravel uphill
strict and firm... maybe a little too curt... I tried to explain "the fast line" on the lose gravel
and how he would need to chose a smart line

he would be racing with a handful of other people
I told him not to crash trying to get to the hard pack line

I showed him the indentations of the jeep track
and how there were two fast line options
and dangerously soft loose gravel and soft earth options flanking the two jeep track lines

then I had Dean try the hill once.. then again at speed
I wanted him to know if he could clear this short steep loose gravel climb on his single speed
making him understand not to try and grind it
"if you can't spin it... you will have to dismount and run it"

Dean was able to ride it
he rode it twice and then I sent him on an up and back on the road by the creek and some single track
stressing that he take it light
just warm up... stay loose

when Dean returned there was a little time before the start
I had him stand in the shade while I took the dog to the creek

out of the woods with the dog and I rode up to Dean and gave him a quick good luck
race director Pat Childers was giving his pre-race pep talk
his advice to his racers being the exact inverse of mine
sure Pat was right...  the gravel hill does not decide the race... it is a long two lap race and will be places to catch up and places to pass...

all that was true... 
but...  the strategy to win and control the race... the best strategy if the racer can make it happen is to win the gravel climb... sprint to the hole shot... then control the race from the front

let all faster riders pass you
don't get caught behind any suckers
avoid the crashes and the pile ups
if someone passes... pace off them... decide where to fight to regain the lead 
and then gauge the race from there

then a pinch on dean's arm and I was off with the camera
off to find a good vantage point to take some photos of the young racers

although it is not displayed in these photos... I was a little shocked and totally stoked to see Dean was the first Junior in the older age group to be rolling down the singletrack
when Dean passed he already had a pretty decent gap before the next racer
he was spinning that single speed pretty good
I feared he was going a little hot and called out for him to settle in
not sure if he knows what settle in means

I snapped a few shots of a few more racers then grabbed the dog and the bike and took off to try and catch Dean again at the power lines
sure I could have found the racers sooner
but I did not want to go all crazy and end up missing some decent vantage points

so... up to the powerlines
I hung with race EMT volunteer Chris Barnes as we watched the ant size racers in the distance
I could see that Dean was the leader in his jersey that I found as I checked out of the Hotel in Fort Collins... I looked for it could be owner... then forgot about it... Dean has been wearing it ever since

the San Diego Bicycle Coalition would not complain... Dean is putting them on the podium from time to time
Chris and I talked about the short steep rock section before the powerlines
we questioned if Dean and the other kids could clear it
I think Dean did a dismount and run
smart move
less effort and more speed

at different parts of the race there were different racers on Dean's tale
first one... then another
until finally the kid in blue jeans became the chase

he got close... but when I saw him... he was never in his shadow

threatening... but not quite 

after snapping a few shots... just before Dean finished his first lap... I took off to find young Grant
it was getting to a point where Grant should be warming up
I know that he pre-rode the course
but where is he now?

I did not leap into worried parent mode
but I was a little anxious
not because he was lost
but because I was splitting my attention

where would I check
on the bike with the dog at my side I went looking for Grant
first to the Start and then to the Finish 
I slowed and scanned the group of riders in his category
then up to the car

sure enough... chill laxing in the car
smart place to be
relaxing in comfort
I instructed him to fuel up and warm up
and then to meet down at the line

Grant has a good handle on time
he takes instructions pretty well
well.. he takes instructions well for things he wants to do
he hates when I say it... but he is head strong
we lock horns quite often

with Grant suiting back up and eating some pre-race fuel... I was rushing back to the race course to try and catch Dean's finish
he was still a little bit out
none of the racers had finished
I was excited to see if he had held onto first

lots can happen
faster riders... crashing... mechanical... bonking
but none of these would be a concern until I started seeing other Juniors roll into the finish
the I saw him
a few turns ahead in the woods

spinning to the finish
he maintained his pace
he maintained his lead
he set out to win and achieve his goals

My 13 Year old son Dean won his category and was fastest over all for the day!

then it was time for the younger kids's race

they would have a slightly different start
no short steep loose gravel climb for the kids 12 and under
instead they would have a spring on the hard pack road along the creek
then turn into the woods and run pretty much the same loop as the older kids
only they would do one lap rather than two

Grant was stoked... I had given him is pre-race pep talk
and he knew what he wanted to do
Dean and Grant have very different personalities
how they express themselves on the bike is very different
yet they each have their successes

with Grant at the line I took to the woods with Dean
we did not see the start... but at first glance I could see that Grant had taken off fast and was in the lead
Dean and moved from one spot to another to try and get some photos and cheer

humorously... we took to a spot that was not on the course
we waited and we waited
but I missed the initial photo op

so we traversed the trail

out by the powerlines I waited to get at least one good shot
got it... it is posted below

I cheered... I was so excited to see Grant rocking the course
he was so focused
so intense
moving fast yet still in control

no one near him... yet self motivated to hammer fast forward

broken shock and all... Grant rocked the course
he was so fast that I did not get as many snaps as I had intended
at the finish I was ecstatic to see my boys 
ecstatic to see them win
but also just happy to see them so happy

I miss out on so many riding opportunities so that my boys can ride
so moments like this make me feel as if it is all worth it

then before the awards... Dean and I went to retrieve our bikes from the woods
there was a moment of panic
I thought someone had moved them... worse yet... someone had stolen them
I usually do not jump to this conclusion
but I was confident I knew where we put them
but alas no... I had put them in spot one but forgot that we moved them to spot two
my bad

it was a great day
the boys were very pleased with their effort
they each had fun
they worked hard and achieved their goals
I tried not to take the wind out of their sails by telling them that this is just a local grass roots race with a little "just for fun" element to it
but that talk would come later
I let them enjoy their glory
they have heard my diatribe about them being strong on the bike but their being kids who ride and race with skill and technique like small adults

they know that Colorado kids have more opportunities
heck... Germantown kids have more opportunities
but for city folk
they rock it pretty hard

they made me proud
it is a lot of work for a parent to make this happen
but it is worth it
I enjoyed myself

now... when do I get to ride my bike?
oh yes... when I go to work each day

the boys expressed their personality differences on the podium
Dean shy and contained
Grant bold and in charge
I love them so much
I would love them even if they did not make the podium

good times... good times for sure
bummer that the JBOMB is only one day
we need to search out other mountain bike options for the kids
I guess we need to take a measure of our intentions\opportunities for the MoCo Epic

my best two shots of the day... just happen to be of two of my favorite people in the world

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