Yesterday afternoon our family enjoyed a day at the cyclocross races on one of the last "warm" (50 degree) days in Michigan at nearby park. The boys scouted it out last Sunday as spectators, and this week Dylan was ready to give it a go.
If you've never heard of cyclocross, it's a form of bike racing that takes place typically in the fall or winter on a short course featuring trails, grass, hills, and obstacles which require the rider to hop off his or her bike and carry it for short portions. Dylan signed up for the one loop kids' race (about 15 minutes worth of riding) and Matt did the longer race after that (5 loops, taking about 45 minutes).
Dylan was excited to start but then the experience proved to be a little tougher than he anticipated. Dylan is a first born and hates to fail or feel silly and he got stressed out pretty quickly. Luckily, Matt was riding beside him and could talk him through it. As they passed by and we cheered, I could see Dylan fighting back tears, his eight-year-old lip quivering. He's so close to being a big boy, but still a little boy at heart. But he kept going, and our boys finished strong (well, Matt did anyway).
Meanwhile, Mady discovered the little kids' course set up, complete with super cute balance bikes. She happens to be getting one of these for Christmas and we were happy to see that it will be a big hit. She "rode" and rode around the course, over the ramp and the little barrier they had set up.
I think we may have another rider on our hands.
In the end, Dylan won his division. His eyes lit up when we told him the news, and he has already broken into his winnings: a 6-pack of A&W root beer The day was redeemed and a bike racing career may have been born. (Small print: he was the only rider in his division, but you had better believe we're not telling him that.)
On a related side note, there is a favorite family story of a young Matt crying before a bike race at the county fair, worried about how he would do. His parents talked him through it...and then he took first place. It's in Dylan's genes.
Tonight, before bed, Dylan prayed out loud, "And thank you I could do the bike race and win some rootbeer and thank you that my whole family was there to watch me and cheer me on."