sometimes all the racing and the packing for the racing is a lot. we pack up the airstream. we race for a few hours. we go home. we unpack it. we wash everything and start again the next weekend.
we took a little road trip this past weekend. we thought we’d combine the racing thing with some family time. we thought this might somehow be easier. and super fun. combining two things that each on their own require much planning and packing of stuff.
a little family campy combined with some racy at the fat & skinny tire fest in northern indiana. about 5 hours away. a little bit longer since we were towing a 1973 VW beetle behind an old airstream motorhome that doesn’t go so fast in the first place.
i always have a vision for these sorts of trips. usually they involve some sort of soundtrack playing in my head, stone skipping, ‘smore making, doing well at the races and having everything you need.
packing for five people to go camping in itself is always an endeavor. throw two races in and uncertain weather and it takes the whole affair and the ‘let’s-pack-this-just-in-case’ items up a notch. add camping at the fairgrounds at the same time as the civil war re-enactors with their cannons going off every hour really ratchets the whole thing up. and the half mile bike ride to the village where all the cool critical mass rides were starting and the bmx demonstrations were going on? not as kid friendly as reported.
add in a race on a perfect course on a perfect day in which you feel perfectly superstar perfect that doesn’t turn out quite as well as you imagined – well. it has all the makings of a melt-down. mine.
and forgetting the emergency stash of bourbon and the fixins’ for smores? can’t even really talk about it still.
so we’re at the campground watching the north and the south pitch their tents and build better fires than ours. and i try to shake it off that things aren’t turning out the way i planned.
but i am happy at least that our airstream is parked north of the mason dixon line.
we hang out with teammates. we talk about the races. and we watch the girls fly kites that they found on the bus. and we watch the dog run around with the baby quilt of a cape that lulu tied to her. we watch henry ride his bike and cross into enemy territory and try to spy on the confederate soldiers. and we cook dinner over the fire. and drink beer. and listen to good music. and it’s all good.
annabel is fascinated by the little civil war girls in their blue dresses and black boots, playing hoop games with sticks. and she asks me if we can do that. dress up and pitch tents and fire cannons. i tell her that’s not our tribe. our tribe wears brightly colored spandex.
i wonder what the north & south thought of us. in our spandex. with our bikes and green beer cans and charcoal on the fire. and big silver airstream with electricity.
we packed up early the next morning and drove right through the sleeping and peaceful north and south camps – the cannon fire wouldn’t start till 9 am - and head to the village for the next race.
which is another perfect day. on another perfect course and once again, i’m feeling perfectly perfect and ready to race only to get erroneously pulled from the race after just ten minutes. all parties involved in removing me & my group from the race apologized. but that’s too late. even if i came in dead last, they didn’t let me try. i loved the course, loved the race and wanted to finish. (around here, the women – all categories – race together. it’s fairly standard practice here at least, to not pull 4’s when they get lapped by the 1/2/3’s. i still had a shot at catching back onto the 4’s)
its’ hard. sometimes. to balance it all. all the stuff. all the tangible stuff that you need to bring and organize and clean.
and then the other stuff. the racy disappointments - real or imagined. the worrying about our 13 year old who is still sorta sleeping and thinking think he might have a fever and wishing he’d eat something but really needing to get on the trainer, and just telling him to have a pop-tart.
and then i get on the trainer and have to get off to get a splinter out of annabel’s leg. i ask how it got in her leg but then remember i really should get back on the trainer. and leaving the airstream i tell henry if he has to throw up, he should do it in the sink cause the generator is not on and the toilet can’t be flushed.
and then there’s no time to get back on the trainer so i just go line up.
and then i get pulled. and watch my teammates race from the sidelines only to see them and most of the women’s 4 field end in a heap of a crash on the bell lap.
and then i miss most of my husbands’ race while waiting in line to buy macaroni and cheese for annabel and by the time i made my way through the very awesome and three-deep crowd to go watch the last two laps, the girls say the macaroni is yucky.
and all of it made me want to cry.
but there’s no time for that.
because really - all the confederate-cannon firing, kite flying, campfire chatting and cooking, bike racing, getting pulled, beer drinking, sun shining, bourbon forgetting, was just perfect.
and because i need to wait in line with lulu so she can ride the orbit thingy.
Waiting for lulu on the orbity-thingy will pay off in dividends like you can't imagine. The mere scene of an ear to ear grin and maniacal shrieks of laughter from my daughter at the stupid-cheesy traveling carnival makes missing a classic road race with my teammates totally worthwhile.
I learned not-long-enough ago to compartmentalize things in terms of their effect on my life. 'The weekend at the races didn't turn out like you planned', but all those little disappointments (and they were all pretty small), in the long term, will have little effect on your life. Over the past several years, I've taken to stopping to think about what is currently irritating me and putting it into the big picture. Invariably, I end up at "if that's the worst thing that happens today, I'm doing pretty good".
All in all, it sounds to me like you had a great weekend. I'm jealous of the 73 microbus/airstream.
you post just get better and better girl!
The first and last event/vacation for us was the Disney Marathon 3 years ago. It was awful, stressful, and I was freaking out about everyting. Scott adn I voted to NEVER combine race and family fun in the same weekend. Not enough beer to make it better if you ask me!
Still, I LOVED you post. You are a racing ROCK STAR in my book.
Still have not make the final move to the big ring. I MUST DO THIS in order to take things to the next level.
the idealized trip (complete with soundtrack-i know! i so want one too) is often so comically different from the actual. but you're right, they are both pretty fantastic, even with all the snafus. i want to throw up looking at the orbit thing...
zencycle - thanks. and so true! in the end, and in looking back - it was indeed a good weekend. you hit the nail on the head with "if that's the worst thing that happens then I'm doing pretty good". so right.
gotta run - we sort of decided the same thing. to keep them seperate. i'm sure we'll go on another race road trip sometime, but we won't pretend its a family camping trip too. and then, when it just sort of turns into a family campy trip thing - it'll be like a bonus. i gotta lower my bar a bit on that sort of stuff!
cindy - comical indeed. It's just too bad you don't always see the comical in those moments! Thank god for lulu and the orbit thingy! ... while she did not throw up, not long after she got off the thing - she curled up on a bed in the back of the airstream, said she was a little dizzy and slept for hours.
"you got pulled and watched from the sideline??????" what does that mean? why didn't you race?
betty - getting pulled is literally, getting pulled out of the race. Not allowed to finish. You're usually pulled because you are about to be lapped by the leaders.
The reason being, I guess is that you pose a danger to yourself and the riders lapping you.
A few laps into Sunday's race, I got gapped off in a turn (natch) and was working with some other girls to catch the group - in the meantime, the lead breakaway group consisting of four cat 2 women (and including 2 national champions) was about to pass us. So as my tiny group of 3 girls came through the start finish, the official blew his whistle & pulled us out.
The thing is, they run the women (all categories) at the same time, but score them seperately. So even though the cat 4 girls are in with the 1/2/3's, its sort of a seperate race. Had I been about to be lapped by the cat 4's, it would have been fairer to pull me out.
So yeah - I raced for ten minutes then watched the rest of the race (through a slight haze of fury)from the sidelines ... and in fact, several laps after I got pulled out, the leaders lapped the entire 4 field (yet, they didn't get pulled out). There were apologies all around for pulling us out, but it still stunk. I really liked the course. That said, on the last lap, almost the entire 4 field (including 2 teammates) went down in a crash. All were ok, but maybe it was serendipity that I got pulled out.
What memories you have now! I affectionately call them adventures. Overcoming all kinds of adversity and ending up with belly laughs, exquisite and priceless. You are richer for it.
awww, i am sorry the 4's got pulled. that is a total bummer. and i am sorry you had a bummer weekend too. hope your next race is a lot better.
I LOVE reading your posts - kinda like being there! But that totally sucks out loud about getting pulled. I would have been miffed too.
Ya know though - I remember reading how you were uncomfortable about the club rides before you started racing and look at you now! You're my hero. I'm diggin' the yellow bug too!
oh I thought you were talking at the starting line - I've never done one where they mixed to that extent - other than training crits and then they don't pull you they just make stay to the right with the higher cats getting the right of way. That does totally suck.
...please where can I buy a unicorn?
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