Thursday night I attended the Race Across the Sky primer with my father. As I watched the film I found myself getting very excited about next season. Cycling has been a huge part of my life. So much that I’d say it’s often one of the first things I think about when SDAY and I are making decisions about our family. Or maybe that’s just me. If I were to move out of state, would the place I end up have good trails? We’re headed out of town… can I take my bike? Will this job or that job allow me time to ride? I’m babysitting Layla… can I take her riding with me? And so on… Some decisions obviously more important that others, but the bottom line is that cycling is and will always be part of who I am.
It’s pretty simple in most ways but the reality behind it is that my cycling wouldn’t be what it is to me, without the support I’ve received along the way. Family and friends that have always stood by my side and others from around the world that show their support via the World Wide Web are all due for some credit.
The Family: Years ago I was racing at Deer Valley during the NORBA Nationals. I had a great finish in the XC the day before and was warming up for the Short Track event, when, from the parking lot I heard a loud bunch of guys and girls cheering. Each one dressed to kill. By that I mean, one look and you’d die laughing. From old-school cycling jerseys to giant blue-blocker style shades to cowboy boots and goofy headbands; my brother and sisters accompanied by their spouses made their way to the start finish line to cheer me on. If you didn’t know them you’d think they must have escaped from some sort of special care facility. I couldn’t have been more pleased to see them. Just my style. I wish I had the photos from that day to share.
To this day, they don’t dress up much anymore but they do make it to the races. Now bringing their own kids, who from time to time hold up handmade posters with misspelled words of encouragement or ask to help out in the feed zone. I love taking bottles from my nephews and seeing the smiles on their face as I come around each lap.
My dad: the man the myth the legend. He can yell louder than anyone and always has helpful advice on how to warm-up and tactic for the race. There will be times when during a race I’ll hear “Go Kevin.” I know he can’t even see me but he has a good idea of where I am and knows that his voice will help pick me up. A cyclist himself and the one who got me into it, he’s one of my favorite riding buddies. He understands what cycling is to me because that’s what it is to him. There are countless trips to races where he’s foot the bill. Always willing to take time off work, drive his truck through the night, and pay for meals. I can only assume that I’ll know what it’s all about when my children are grown and involved in something that I can provide support to, but I doubt that I’ll ever be able to live up to what he has done for me. Best support dad ever.
SDAY: How could any spouse ever live up to what SDAY has done for me. That’s what spouses do right? To all those mothers out there balancing the family and supporting their cyclists is more than enough to do. Keeping kids entertained alone is a full time job. Add in a remote, hot and dry piece of land in the middle of the woods for two hours and you’ve got a recipe for a rough time. SDAY’s had some good mentors and examples out there and like she always does, steps up to any challenge. She runs a tight ship too. At times she’s been in charge of 8-10 racers all in need of a feed. She even came up with a colored sticker system that helped identify the rider with their bottle, making the chaos in the feed zone a walk in the park. She always knows what to say when I cross the line. When to tell me to speed up and catch people or when to give me some space if I’ve had a bad race. She has the power to read minds I think. 528 SDAY.
Friends: Years and years ago, a cycling coach coined the name K-DAY, and it stuck. Sometime after that, a bunch of my best friends surprised me by showing up to a race with matching shirts decorated with iron-on letters. KDAY RACING on the front and their nickname on the back. That’s how it all started. Five dudes in bright green shirts screaming at the top of their lungs to get after it. I felt like a champion. Someone must be paying some people out, because I’ve never been short of a good buddy to hand be a bottle in the feed zone when SDAY or my dad isn’t around or to call for an epic ride or a few intervals to the top of Francis Peak. My buddies are the best.
The others: those that have supported from a-far. Free product from Italy, friends in Canada, and across the US that I traveled with back in the Schwinn days. And those that make films like Race Across the Sky. I don’t have a direct relatioinship with them but their approach in the film that it’s not all about who wins or holds the new record. It’s the about everyone from the best of the best to those that get cut from the race. They all suffer the same and have a story behind it. Their support crews included. They’re all an inspiration to me in many ways and I’m grateful for their time and efforts.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me, this site, my family and friends. 2010 was fantastic and 2011 will be even better. See you on the trails.