Wednesday, August 12, 2015

24 Minutes of Great Glen

I won't lie bringing my family and kids to 24 hours of Great Glen was one of the best parts of the entire summer. Possibly the last ten years. Ok maybe that is a stretch but I don't know. The weekend had a profound impact on the kids. Kids today are bombarded by so much crap. Crappy food, crappy TV, crappy internet, blah, blah, blah. It feels like a constant struggle to let them have a "normal" childhood. And by normal I mean one connected to the outdoors, being active and feeling strong and good about themselves. Not to be sexist but this is even more important for girls. Girls get bombarded by so many negative things. So many body image and self esteem issues that can be helped by being strong and loved. The new normal is being stuck on a couch playing Super Mario of 8 hours a day. No thank you. Not on my watch. 

When I heard the news that this was going to be the last 24 Hours of Great Glen I had to bring the kids. My wife, and yes she is wife of the year after this, also agreed to come along. I had fear in my heart I won't lie. I was worried they would hate it. They loved it. In large part to the promoters and staff and also in huge part to the mountain bike community. 24HOGG is unlike any cycling event I have ever been to. Truly a community and truly family friendly. What was truly awesome was that my amazing wife who I love more than life itself didn't have to kill herself to entertain the kids. There were so many fun activities for the kids to do it made it a whole lot easier than it would have been. 

Syd the kid is my youngest. She is amazing. Full of energy and a real character. She is like a puppy in many ways. She has been wanting to race bikes for a while. When she found out there was a kids race she really wanted to do it. But I of course forgot to bring the bikes. Ok I didn't forget them I left them at home because the van was at max capacity and my roof rack is less than trust worthy at the moment. My teammate and good friend Michele offered Syd her pit bike and spare helmet and set her up for the race. There were 107 kids in the race! Can you imagine? That is the size of some fields at Gloucester. Megan Skidmore the social media director at Great Glen led each heat of the races. They broke it down by age group and it was incredible. Syd crashed into some girl or the girl chopped her in a corner. Who knows. Both girls came up laughing. Syd was so stoked. She wants to race mountain bikes. She wasn't the only kid who did their first mountain bike race either at Great Glen. And most of them came away hooked. That my friends is how you grow mountain biking and raise little shredders!

After the mountain bike race she entered a Cheese Doodle Tossing contest. Basically the staff sprayed shaving cream in the kids hair and then other kids threw cheese doodles at them. Most cheese doodles in the hair wins. Syd is the Great Glen Cheese Doodle champion. I can't thank everyone at Great Glen enough. Same goes for my friends and wife. Syd's older sister Zoe wants in as well. This is huge. Zoe hates anything remotely athletic or competitive. I would never push my kids to race. But if they want to race I certainly would support that 100%. I love this event. I am so bummed it is the final year. I am hoping enough people talk to the promoters and thank them and tell them how much we love it and what it means to us that they would consider keeping it going. Trust me it takes a super human effort to put this race on. They have it dialed. And they can't lose money. I certainly would help support them in any way they needed. If it means creating some fund that protects them from the rainy years and low turnout I say we do it.

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