Gloucester Saturday and Sunday and the due date of our first child Monday – OK, if all sticks to plan, everything should be great, perfect even. My wife was willing, excited even, for us to attend the cyclocross races about an hour away from our home in Boston, and encouraged me to register. With a forecast of rain and a muddy course on the docket, our plans for an easy in and out were out. Racing in the rain is easy, but prepping for racing in the rain can be really tricky, as is spectating a rainy cyclocross race when you are 40 weeks pregnant.
Erin, bless her, was still game and we rolled out to the venue with hospital bags packed in addition to a race bag. I found it kind of interesting how nervous I was about the races, which don’t matter for squat – save a safe start with 100+ guys charging up the tarmac. I mean, how could I be nervous about a bike race, when my wife and I have a life-altering event waiting on the horizon? I think it’s because I know how to be nervous about a bike race. I’ve been there before, it’s tangible and easy to focus on. I now know that it’s easier to panic about not having enough time to wash your bike after pre-riding a deeply muddy course, get warmed up on the trainer, embro up and chug some god awful taurine-laced energy shot in a last ditch effort at artificial fitness than it is to envision your wife bringing a baby into the world.
Turns out both days of Gloucester went down in near historical conditions and we’re still waiting for this rascal to come out. At least from my perspective, New England Worlds were a great distraction from the waiting game. And while cyclocross racing and child birthing may seem distant to each other, it doesn’t take a long walk through the parking lot to see how many people have come out of their warm homes to race bikes in the rain with their children. In this respect, Mad Alchemy’s very own Pete and Jan Smith have been an inspiration for many of my racing friends with young ones. Word has it that they were at a cyclocross race with their first born when she was a week old – the Verge Series opener Vermont if I remember correctly. Though, not to be outdone, several years later, Embrocation’s Colin Murphy tried to trump this feat when his wife and his 3 day old daughter arrived at the Wells Ave training crit, only to find it canceled that day. Now, Erin and I may have the best shot at bringing the youngest child to a cyclocross race as our due date lies smack in the middle of New England’s CX Holy Week with 6 races spread over the course of eleven days. But who knows where our heads will be once this boy arrives, probably not too focused on loading the car up for a cyclocross race.
The jestful race for newest newborn at a race aside, it’s heartwarming to see so many babies and kids at cyclocross races. Whether they’re bundled up newborns, toddlers playing in the mud, or youngsters in the kids race, it’s great to see families who’ve struck such a balance that involves an active lifestyle and the community that comes with it. Second after a healthy baby, Erin and I have our fingers crossed that we can manage both raising a baby and maintaining our connection with cyclocross racing and all those involved with it. Big advance thanks to all that are currently making that happen for themselves and setting such an inspirational example.