It’s race time! Several hundred young handsome cyclists flood the narrow streets of Borlo anxiously awaiting their moment to compete. This small Belgium town has had a sudden onslaught of testosterone and bicycles. Excitement is in the air and you can almost hear the beating of their hearts, or is that my heart that can be heard above the crowd? Cycling words are plastered everywhere; on cars, signs, bikes and bodies. Familiar words like: Trek, Jelly Belly, USA Cycling, Lotto, Specialized, to name a few of the English words. The boys have become moving billboards for the cycling industry.
Dave is pacing. This what he does prior to race time and I am thinking. Thinking and wondering what thoughts run through the mind of a 17 year old boy prior to competition. I have learned to love the sights and sounds of these competitions: the spinning of wheels, the clipping of shoes into petals, the sounds of encouragement. The sport of cycling is a gentlemen’s sport, low key, and relatively calm. There is no fighting and few words are exchanged after competition. There is not the yelling you hear at football games or the crowds cheering as basketball players dunk the ball. I have had to learn to contain myself and act like a lady, sans too much screaming. This sport doesn’t miss the “Ra Ra” because the cyclists are not waiting for the approval of the crowd, there will be little of that. They are here because they love the sport; they love to cycle anytime and anywhere. That has to be the case because they spend hours doing just that, far from the “madding crowd”. They pedal through heat, rain, snow and sleet. They spend hours and hours in the basement without a coach to bark commands or applaud accomplishments. So here I go, indulge me for a moment. Ra Ra Connor! Ra Ra for all of the young men and women who head out day after day on their trusty bicycles to add to their fitness bank and hone their technique. Ra Ra Connor! I couldn’t be more proud—not just because you represent the USA but because you have found one of the “loves” of your life and you nurture it with dedication and time (oh, that was my heart thumping, it is the heart of a proud mother). Good luck son, no matter where you place in the races, you are a winner in my book because cycling has taught you how to win the game of life. I love watching you pedal your way to success.