Cyclocross is better with gloves. And shifting.

Saturday morning, after Tatum’s soccer game, we took Bowie to downtown KCMO for his first cyclocross race. We were told by many experienced riders that the course was extremely challenging. Yikes! Bowie didn’t get any practice time on his new-to-him cx bike, but I gave him a quick explanation for how to work the shifters before we sent him off to race. In the Junior Men division, there was one heat for boys aged 9 – 18. 17 races took to the starting line and with a sprint, they were off! The course the Workhouse Castle, a former city jail built in 1890. Very cool! There was a very challenging section in the park that included cement steps that riders needed to shoulder their bikes for. Lots of steep inclines and cornering.

After his first lap, I could tell Bowie was done. We cheered him on and he went out for another lap. So proud of that kid. He never gave up. (There were some adult DNFs that day). As he crossed the finish line, I could tell he gave it his all. He practically collapsed into my arms as he stopped his bike. He had declined to borrow my gloves, so his hands were raw and calloused. We spent some time talking about the course where he admitted that he never shifted his bike. Really… I can’t blame him. He’s had 2 practices on a bike with grip-shifters, and didn’t get to ride the loaner before the race. No judgement on that, Bowie.

Once he had a drink of water and a couple minutes of rest, he perked right back up. We chatted with my friend, Mike, who has 20 years of cx racing experience and got some really great tips on tire pressure and setting his bike up for his small hands.

(Note – Bowie was 6th in his Age Group!)

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After the race, we headed over to a neighborhood bike shop called Volker Bicycles. We all picked out new cycling gloves! And I drooled over the Focus cx bikes hanging on the wall. I mean… I really think the bike wanted to come home with me. Just sayin. Seriously, it was an amazingly welcoming little shop. They helped the boys find gloves and didn’t get us the “oh my gosh, they have little kids in our store” eye roll. We chatted about bikes and music for a bit before we ran a few more errands and headed home.

 

Once we got home, I hit the trainer for an hour. Not as much fun, for sure.

Sunday, Bowie joined me for my long run. Since it was getting late, I just did 2-mile laps of the brick streets. Bowie pedaled along on his bike for most of my run. I think he just needs to spend quality time with his bike until he feels comfortable with it. It takes some time to learn all those new skills!

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