Note: While Fatty is cycling away in France with Andy Are-You-Freaking-Kidding-Me Hampsten, Paul Guyot – okay, I did tell JJ I thought she should lose the hair – is guest blogging for him.
Based on the comments section, today we offer more adventures of Bucky – Captain America’s sidekick… named Bucky by Dave Zabriskie.
Some of you asked how Jack could pull off the 20-mile ride with Garmin-Cervelo in Kansas City last week. As documented here, we did not complete the entire route, but Jack – now aware of his bizarre fatcyclist celebrity status – wanted me to be sure and point out to you all that 20 miles “is nothing” for him.
Obsessed with watching pro cycling even before I started riding, he would do what other kids do after watching their heroes; he would go out and pretend to be them.
But instead of being Payton Manning or Wayne Rooney or A-Rod, he was being Andy Schleck or Tommy D or Chris Horner or Levi or CVV or Sammy Sanchez or Tyler Farrar or any of the other pros he cheered for. He was Andy Schleck for Halloween when he was 6 in full Saxo Bank kit and helmet.
Most people thought he was a NASCAR driver.
When other kids are wearing football and baseball jerseys, he is wearing Garmin or Euskatel jerseys and Liquigas cycling caps. He wears his ATOC t-shirt signed by the team (thanks Fatty and Glenn) all the time, and would proudly wear a RadioShack jersey if they made them in his size.
And for all the people who have been writing in and asking – I got his Garmin-Cervelo jersey from the Shop Argyle team web site.
One thing funny about him is that despite having numerous Saxo Bank items, he refuses to wear any of it now because he views Saxo Bank as the enemy. My son is not a fan of Contador, though he will admit “He climbs like an angel, dad.” He loves the Leopard guys – which I guess now are part of the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek-Crosby-Stills-Nash-Young Super Cycling Team.
Or RNTCSNYSCT for short….
He’s a big fan of the Schleck brothers, Cancellara, Jens Voigt, and Fulsang, and when they left Saxo Bank and Contador joined, well, the lines were drawn. We do NOT cheer for Saxo Bank in our house EVER, which of course, is exactly how his older sister winds him up: “Go Contador.” We’ve had near jihad in our family room during Grand Tours.
But I digress.
Anyway, Jack loves the mountain stages. All he wants to do is climb. Any hill he can find. His climbing legs were etched from cranking a single speed up hills when he was six and seven. BIgger and bigger ones until he just could not make it anymore. That’s when he decided he wanted a “geared” bike. Not to look like his heroes, but for more efficient climbing. His grandfather gave him a Trek KDR this past Christmas. And the hills around our house have been subsequently crushed into rubble.
Meanwhile, his uncle – a cycling coach – was teaching him about distance riding and nutrition. I showed him a magazine piece on Allen Lim and thermoregulation – which is now one of Jack’s favorite words. He loves being out on long rides, unzipping his jersey and just before he drinks saying “Gotta thermoregulate, dad, like Allen Lim says.”
His uncle started him out on 5 and 6 mile rides. Then went to 10. Then his record stood at 13.4 for a while – Jack is very aware of every personal record. Then this July, I flew home from my Leverage duties to ride with him in the Tour de Donut. 31 miles. With two or three fairly serious hills.
Here’s a video of that event. It is not short at 5:52, but if you can stand sitting through it, there are a few great moments – the people’s reaction when he passes them; around the 4:00 mark when he is climbing a hill that adults are walking their bikes up; and then his sprint at the end – 31 miles into the ride, when he is cranking like Tyler.
Later, when I asked him why he didn’t shift into one of his “harder gears” for that sprint he said he was trying to shift, but his little hands were so tired and sore that he could not muster the strength to hit the shifter.
I was very proud of his commitment – I kept saying whenever he wanted to stop we would stop – and how well he paid attention to all my safety instructions. His drafting was pretty good, too.
When we ride these days it’s usually anywhere between 12 and 15 miles depending on time and weather.
THE RACE REPORT
This weekend was the Gateway Cup – one of the many multi-day USA Cycling Crit races around the country. Let me pause and say if you have not been to a local race, please go. Please support local cycling, and local races. Eat the food, buy the products and participate as much as you can. Not only is it helping keep our great sport alive, but it is one of the absolute funniest times you will have without spending a small fortune.
Jack had decided as soon as he heard there were “Kids Races” that he wanted to do it. So on Friday he lined up with eighteen other 7 and 8 year olds. He decided he did not want to wear his Garmin-Cervelo jersey for his first-ever race in case “I do horribly, I don’t want to make Garmin look bad.” So outfitted in a yellow t-shirt (“What other color, dad?“) he stood on the line of his first race and sized up the competition.
The race was a flat sprint of about 120 yards. I told Bucky the most important things to remember were – 1) Get started before you try to go fast, and 2) HOLD YOUR LINE.
The last thing he said to me was, “Dad, I am so scared.” I told him he didn’t have to ride, but he said no, he was going to do it.
The announcer made the call. “Okay, races, on the count of three… One…. Two….”
And the girl next to him (in the pink) took off, as did about three other riders. Jack waited until “Three!” and then he went. When he got going (which is tough for him) he was around 8th or 9th. At the halfway point he hit the afterburners. At the Finish Line he had caught everyone except one of the kids who left early to take 2nd Place in his first ever race.
First thing out of his mouth was, “Dad, I was just like Christian VandeVelde! We both got second and almost won!”
The Pink girl was third. Jack was more happy he beat her – because she left early – than actually taking 2nd.
He immediately wanted to do it again, but we had soccer tournament commitments all weekend. So we returned on Monday for the final day of racing. Inspired by Jack’s performance on Friday, his 4-year-old sister decided she wanted to race. She arrived with her own mechanic and an arrogant license plate: 2 Fast 4U.
She took off with seventeen other 3 and 4 year olds, and just before the finish crashed like Farrar in Spain. But she got up, got back on, and finished the race. As she crossed the line in 16th place, she said, “Did I win?”
Meanwhile, Jack was down the road lined up with 27 others in his age group. He was proudly sporting his Garmin-Cervelo kit. With the first race nerves gone, Jack was all about the win today.
His eyes lit up when he saw that today’s race was about 150 yards and all uphill. “Oh, Dad, I’m gonna crush it.”
This time there were several kids sporting kits and road bikes similar to Jack. Kids on miniature BMC’s and Felts and even another KDR. And as he waited at the start he looked over and there was the Pink Girl again.
The announcer made the call. “Okay, riders… One… T…”
And the Pink Girl took off.
And three or four other kids took off.
“Three!” And Jack exploded. Probably the best standing start I’ve ever seen him do. Within twenty yards he was out of the saddle and hammering full gas. By the halfway point he had caught everyone and took the lead. Up, up, up he climbed, getting faster and faster.
As he crossed the Finish Line and the announcer called out his number he had a gap of about four bike lengths on 2nd.
His first words after… “Dad, I really wish I knew how to ride with no hands because I wanted to make the W for Wouter when I crossed the Finish Line.” I said it was okay for him to do it now….
He was so proud to win in his Garmin-Cervelo colors. “I think they’d be happy, dad.” Yes, Bucky, I think you’re right.
The Top 3 finishers in all the kids races got very cute bears sporting Gateway Cup shirts. I asked Jack if he wanted to give his 2nd place bear to his younger sister for her great effort in her race. He said, “No, I can’t. I’m going to keep every prize I win in cycling so when I’m a grampa I can sit and look at them all and remember how much fun it was.”
Can’t argue with that. Then he proceeded to inform me that now that he was a winning rider he thinks he needs a blue Garmin-Cervelo Giro team helmet. I said I think only the jerseys come in his size.
As we drove home I noticed him quietly looking out the window. I imagined he was replaying the race over and over, or dreaming of winning the TDF, or riding with Tommy D up Alpe d’Huez, something obviously all about cycling. I asked him what he was thinking about…
“Well, I’m just trying to see how many out of state license plates I can find.”
Allez, Bucky. Allez.