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Participation is cross…

Only one more weekend of cyclocross remains.

Sundays have been so good. Community, participation, challenge, support and togetherness all are appropriate words.

There are few sports where the whole family participates. Sunday cross begins in the AM and races go all day. Women, junior’s, 3 categories of men and then even the pro’s each get there 30-60 minutes on the same field.

Mom and Dad are not just in the stands watching. Here is mom racing…
Cyclocross courses are serpentine, repeated 4-8 times in 45 minutes and hence, very amendable to loud verbal support from spectators. Fact is, as many will say, being a fan is the best part of cross.

How many Dads take the field after their son’s game? Then, while racing, get to hear their 12 year old hollering, “Go Dad! drop that guy.” How many moms take to the volleyball court after their daughters match?

I am a realist. Cycling and specifically, cross, is still a fringe endeavor. Is is just fortuitous that we happened on to an activity that the entire family can pursue? Parents play too. Us cross parents get to stay fit, participate, be “in the game” and do this all while spending time with our children. Nice.

No knock to mainstream sports or athletics, but consider the pattern I observe Monday-Friday. Jimmy or Sally were athletic “beautiful” people in their teens. Now they are married with jobs and children. Life busies, kids activities commence, work gets longer and then it begins: a bigger belt, a softness, less sleep and less time for exercise. Doc, “I don’t have time. I spend hours at work and then hours at football, volleyball or basketball practice.” Ever been to an all day swim meet? Sit, eat and talk. The waist expands, the BP elavates and the heart palpitates. Middle age in America.

Here in lay the beauty of the bike. We ride together. Each party reeping the benefits of exercise. Each reveling in the other’s triumphs, albeit it small, in the grand scheme.

I will tell my patients, yes, buy a bike and ride it. Ride it with your family. Be together. Be fit. Be mobile.

I will tell my younger colleagues when helping their youngsters choose sports, to consider mixing in some “life” sports. That is, sports that amend themselves to a forty or fifty year old.

Live in Louisville? Check this out next Sunday at Champions Park. It is free!

Live elsewhere, search “cyclocross races” in your area and check it out.

Who knows, it may be akin to that rainy Sunday years past, when while flipping channels, I found Jim McKay announcing the NYC marathon and was inspired to take my overweight body for a run in the cold Connecticut rain.


3 replies on “Participation is cross…”

Unbelievable – I (Duane Berkompas) saw your article in Jan 2010 Velonews "Bah-Bump". I am a squisher as you call us in Grand Rapids. I was in a practice with Joel Cohn in Lansing for 11 years then got the opportunity to practice closer to my roots in Holland so moved to GR 3 years ago. I became an avid bicyclist over 11 years ago, but am not Cat 2 level, although I do fairly well in occasional mountain bike races (finished 11 out of 130 in the Sport Category of the Iceman Cometh – a grueling 28 mile off-road race from Kalkaska to Traverse City, always the first weekend of Nov). Also went on a tour in 2004 to France to watch Lance win his 6th Tour and got to ride famous mountains in France (Mount Ventoux, Alpe DHuez to name a few). I have 4 kids and my oldest, Katie is in junior year of the nursing program at Anderson University, just north of Indy. Drop me a note if you get the chance at [email protected]. Enjoyed your blog. Duane

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