RACE REPORT: W@W #1 THE KID RACE (battling child size demons)




I already scripted something about my race at Wakefield last Wednesday trying to get down some words about my boys and their race experiences at Wakefield... from my perspective
it has been too many days... the best time to write this report is of course... the evening o
f the race
but really... who has the energy for blogging after a long hot day
oh... usually me

here is what I said about my race W@W#1 my report
now the words that follow are about Dean and Grant's mountain bike experience at WAW number one

shamefully this is the combination of two separate posts
two post and two separate ideas
I think I had BLOGGER open on two machines
making edits on two different set of idea

a set of ideas that I was convinced would come full circle and met up

no dice rock slice
that is not the way it played out
I guess I will give it a quick hack and put it on the page
too much time thinking backwards
time to start looking forward

I wish I could recall the dialogue between Grant and myself
I was more "Father Knows Best-The Andy Griffith Show" then displayed here

Wednesday at Wakefield #1 Summer 2010
the kids' race from my perspective

the parent's responsibility is never ending parenting is about anticipation
anticipation of their child's needs

will they be hungry? will they get cold? what are they thinking now? are they scared? what are their worries? what are their fears?
what do they need? why are they bored?
the list goes on... think of all the what is best for my child questions

parenting can also be about making decisions for the children
not just the decision that keep the children safe but decisions to guide the children to be the best people that they can be
children can not always be trusted about making the best decisions
sure... the child should have a say
but... there should be some guidance as a child may make their decision based on the immediate without any ability to think of the long term

think ice cream and cake...
is it always up to them what to eat and how much?

there are many reasons why a then the child may prefer something for the moment with no consideration of what will be missed later...

earlier this season my older son Dean had try outs for a travel soccer team
Dean is a good little ball player but not a stand out player
it seemed unlikely that he would make the team with so many kids trying out and so few slots

then... a rain date postponed one of the tryouts such that Dean would miss out on a bunch of friends and families going to a neighborhood pool for dinner and hanging out
I could see that Dean was wanting to go to the pool but I thought it best that he still go to tryouts
stick to the plan
think long term rather than immediate

Dean had a good time at tryouts... hours of soccer and smiling
no... Dean did not make the team... but... I think that the tryouts were an experience
if nothing else... Dean has to understand that if making the team is important to him... then he will need to play more soccer

Dean had anxiety about the tryouts... nothing sever... but it was there
butterflies in the stomach
maybe a little more than butterflies

yet not so much that Dean went running for shelter

Dean also had the distraction of the immediate pleasure of the pool party

Dean fought back his demons and ignored the distractions
we all get some sort of anxiety butterflies swam in most people's bellies before the start of something bit perhaps the more it means to you the bigger the butterflies
the same can go for soccer games or basketball practices sometimes there is not a choice... sometimes it is a matter of commitment... fulfilling an obligation other times... it is a issue of confronting one's fears as in the event of performance anxiety
like a child fearing getting up in front of their class or a child not wanting to compete due to some fear of failure

people need to learn to approach their fears
to stand up and meet the challenge
as a parent it can be our obligation to educate our children on how to battle their demons
this year when working with my third grade son Dean on various class presentations I guided him to talk about the topic rather than memorizing a presentation
we reviewed the information... we discussed the information... we wrote the paper... then we loosely scripted a presentation
then of course... we practiced...
we practice talking on the topic
it is far more comfortable and entertaining than reading or reciting things

racing a bicycle is very similar
in the end... RACE DAY is just another day riding your bicycle
when I get pre-race jitters I have a few mantras that I recite in my head
it can be a little Stuart Smally-ish but... it works
simple phrases and simple breathing
we all know... IT IS BETTER ON THE BIKE the start of the race is a painful part of the process especially if you have any stake in the results
one night a few weeks back the family was on the Metro train headed to the National's baseball stadium to witness the first day of pitching for the new young gun
on the the somewhat vacant train I saw a friend of mine's father...
I asked Dean to go and say hello... asking Dean to tell the man that his father is friends with his son
Dean declined I coached him... explaining... I know you are nervous... I know it is awkward... but do not cave into your fears...
approach them and over come them

Dean did... it was easy... but it was also easy to say no and to not do it
that was a short exercise in confronting your demons and not caving under your fear

it is not so easy for us as adults to be aware of our fears and for us to fight back our demons
so... when our children get scared... we do not always know the best way to have them ov
er come the anxiety of the moment

yesterday afternoon as I packed the car with bicycles for the whole family for the Wednesday At Wakefield post work mountain bike race series my younger son Grant told me... "I am not going to race"

"not going to race?"
having been in this situation with this little man before I knew that I had to try to crack the c
it is not always so easy to solve the puzzle
"okay... we will bring your bike... and discuss things there"
I continued to load up the car Grant went back in the house and got ready for the evening

in the car the boys played their Nintendo DS games as I stressed over the traffic and our arrival time
I had considered bringing the boys to Wakefield so that they could do some sort of pre-ride... but t
hat never happened I tried to measure or arrival time and our opportunity to warm up after registration

as I drove... Grant spoke... "you can not make me race"
"yes... that is right... I can not make you race... " the conversation continued...
each time Grant said he was not going to race I may have said something short as a rebuttal

reminding Grant that he had this sort of feeling before
but he had raced and he had been pleased that he got involved
those wise words did not sway him

I tried to show him that I was on his side... "no... you do not have to race if you do not want to..." all the while knowing that it was my intention to get him on the bike and have him race
"hey Grant... why don't we decide when we get there... if you decide not to race... you can still ride around" stubborn little Grant was fine with that as an option...

the thought of momma Lisa riding with him as he raced did nothing to sway him

stubborn little Grant was fine with that as an option... the thought of momma Lisa riding with him as he raced did nothing to sway him

from my perspective both my boys have ridden at Wakefield a few times... not this year... but they have been here before over the years neither of the boys have ever raced at Wakefield Park... in fact the little riding the boys have done at Wakefield has not been on the race course... the creek trail

yet... knowing their comfort on the bike I felt that this event was well within their grasp
both Dean and Grant hav
e 20" BMX style bicycles
both Dean and Grant also have geared bicycles
interestingly enough Grant wanted to race his 20" geared bike while Dea
n thought he should stay on his 20" single speed BMX style bike instead of his newly acquired slightly used 24" inch GT mountain style bike with gears

as th
e father of these boys I also take on the task of coach and manager
I thought about their experience on the bike and their comfort on each machine

I considered the weight of the machine and the use of hand brakes versus coaster brakes in the trail riding situation
there was also some question of Dean being too large for his 20" wheel bike

in anticipation of the Wednesday at Wakefield bicycle race we rode the geared bikes home from
school on Monday and the BMX style bikes the next day
the boys each seemed comfortable on either machine
without running a mountain bike time trial I did not think I knew which would be the more logical machine

the night prior to the race I took a look at each bike
Dean's Redline BMX bike was in need of a new rear tire.
after swapping out the rear 1.75 I stressed over the idea of swapping out the front tire as well

Grant's bikes seemed to be in well working order
there was a glance at tire pressure then some lube on the chain
nothing more

Wednesday came and there was not too much discussion of the evening's bicycle race
there was too much else that needed to be done the boys woke to their first day without school and rushed to the computer to play some PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES
which all went well until I bumped them off the computer which sent them to the Wii
once we were all awake and ready to start our day I had Dean practice the unicycle in the basement as I scurried around and tried to gather the gear for two adults and two children for an afternoon of bicycle racing-riding
then with bags packed for a quick escape in the afternoon it was off to the pool

on the way to the pool we grabbed some new goggles for everyone in the family
goggles and then some Chinese food
here would not be time for cooking
we splashed and played for hours in the pool then took off for home to load up the bikes and get mom

on the way home I heard something I had anticipated... Grant told me... "I am not going to race...
going to..."
this is not the first time I have experienced thi
s "I am not going to race"
six year old Grant can be a stubborn monkey the ha
rder I try to sway him... the stronger his stance can become
so... I avoided the argument and respected his stance
while also ignoring his position
all the while understanding that young Grant is feeling the same thing that adults feel
Grant was caving into pre-race anxiety
Grant was collapsing under the pressure of his internal demons

as the afternoon progressed the conversation continued
Grant would tell me... "I am not going to race... you can not make me race" to which I had no rebuttal just agreement... "of course I can not make you race... I will notmake you race"
all the while packing his gear and prepping f
or him to get on the bike

Dean's attitude was far more agreeable
the boys have very different personalities and very different approaches to t
he things that they do
Dean will try new things... while Grant can be a little adverse to the unknown

Dean can be guided into trying new things... while Grant can
take a stand of refusing to try new things
this goes beyond activities like the bicycle races
this goes back to things as basic as trying new foods

with momma Lisa home from work and the car fully loaded we drove from downtown DC to suburban Virginia
thank goodness for the HOV lane because Interstate 395 was a parking lot
I tried to breath as I drove not knowing how this was all going to unfold
the traffic on the drive is nothing new
the traffic is part of the experience
anticipating the traffic I allowed the boys to bring their Nintendo DS devices telling them that they could play until I told them to put them away

when we got off 395 onto 495 I told them to power down the video games and to start getting their mind on mountain biking
again... Grant feeds me the "I am not going to race... you can not make me race"
rather than argue... I continued w
ith what I started trying to brief the boys on the race
ideas of safety
thoughts on passing and being passed
advice on how to dismount and run or walk a climb off the bike rather than straddling the bike

we were early... we arrived around the same time as the TRAILS FOR KIDS people which was perfect
I tried to piggy back out effort on their actions but they were as disorganized as us we all had to register and warm up there would not be time for an actual "pre-ride"

as I hustled around the car passing Gatorade to the boys and unloading bikes I was approached by Grant... again with this "I am not going to race"

we moved about and looked for the registration table
I had the boys ride around and warm up as I got them registered
as Grant rode by he said very matter of factly... "you are just wasting your money... I am not going to race"
to that I had an answer... "that is fine... it is only five dollars and the money goes to a good cause"

the boys rode the man made rock section and the wooden boardwalk a few times
as much as I wanted them to pre-ride some of the course I knew that we did not have time

I still needed to sway young Grant into racing
and we needed to find the START LINE

TRAILS FOR YOUTH (formerly Trips for Kids) are the organizers of the kid's race www.trailsforyouth.org POTOMAC VELO CLUB aka PVC is the host of Wednesday at Wakefield Experience www.potomacvelo.com


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