Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fast Times in Peachtree City: Family, Friends and Fun at the Georgia Peach BMX Nationals

William and Ricky: fast friends and fast riders
The Robinsons did it again. The Georgia Peach National event was run flawlessly. Shayne Robinson is like the "Super Nanny" of the BMX world. When she says jump, people start jumping and asking how high? in unison. Most importantly, the restrooms were not only open, but relatively clean. See? It can be done!

Nothing beats having family at the races
On a disappointing note, there was one reported theft. A bike belonging to a James Bisson was stolen on Saturday. Here's the description: "Bike was a gold pk ripper xxl, black bars, polished JW stem, bombshell carbon forks, blue profile elite hubs laced to polished alienation rims, alienation seat and seatpost, dxr cranks with a rennen sprocket, and time z pedals. If someone suddenly has these parts, ask 'em where they got 'em." If anyone has any information that might lead to the recovery of James' bike, please contact Peachtree City BMX. FYI James, we're the family who accidentally closed the elevator door on you at the Wyndham. Sorry!

Madeline Perez and her boys
Photo credit: Phillip Habib
Saturday's weather was the epitome of spring in the South. We all shed our hoodies by mid-morning to enjoy the warm sunshine. With 218 motos, there was plenty of time in between to hang out with friends and visiting family. My much loved dad, aunt, uncle and cousins came to cheer on the boys and spend the evening with us. Nearly all of the Factory Felt/SC Action Sports team was in the house, so William had a great time with his buddies, while we enjoyed the company of all the parents.

William in 9x
Photo credit: Phillip Habib
Aside from a fall in a cruiser moto, it was a great day for William. He dominated 9 cruiser and 9
expert, repeating his near-perfect day on Sunday. Wyatt rode hard, but was unable to transfer to mains on Saturday. I was proud he made it to quarters in 8 and under cruiser! Sunday was better though. He easily cleared motos and semis to make the 7 challenger main. He's working hard and getting faster all the time.

Gabe Hatem flying high in 10x
Photo credit: Phillip Habib
The Factory Felt team was full of WIN. Aside from William, Gabe Hatem and Ricky Castro finished strong in 10x and 10 cruiser. Coleman Habib dominated 12x and 12 cruiser, and the rest of the team had podium finishes as well. Most of all, we had a great time being together.

There were several other stand-out riders I noticed in Peachtree who I would like to give kudos to. 9x rider Dylan Shipley keeps getting faster, and kept William on fire all weekend. I was glad to have our good friend Keagan Bryson back at his first national since the 2009 Grands. I can guarantee it won't be long before the other 11 experts start seeing Keagan's backside. Keep it up! Our 10x buddy Grant Green showed us he can take it and give it back. Ride strong Grant! I couldn't help but notice Wyatt's Schanewolf teammate Jamie McHenry (8 challenger girl). Keep shining Jamie!

That about wraps it up. The upcoming nationals have a lot to live up to after a perfect weekend at Peachtree City BMX! We had so many great photos, I'll leave you with a few more.

See you in Florida!


William doing the head-shake
Photo credit: Phillip Habib

Everyone's favorite photographer and driver- Phillip Habib

Winding down after a long day with my good friend Mandi Green

Sunday, March 6, 2011

There's No Place Like Home: State Qualifiers at the FWB Dirt and Vert

There's a feeling I get pulling into Fort Walton Beach, FL. Surrounded by the all-too-familiar, in a town where if someone doesn't know me, they know my father, sister or husband. My stress melts in the comfort of home.

My dad moved his young family to Fort Walton Beach from Ramstein AFB in Germany in 1972. My mom shopped at the only grocery serving Fort Walton and Destin at the time-- Kelly's IGA. Nearly forty years later, the building remains, but it's now a boring mattress warehouse, next to a What-a-Burger that replaced the Hardee's I knew as a child.

On our way to Bill Madden's Dirt and Vert (his family has been in FWB longer than mine!), I couldn't help but feel twelve years old again. While Destin has morphed into the unfamiliar, Fort Walton remains trapped in a time warp. I waved at the green dinosaur at the Goofy Golf that's been big fun for FWB families for longer than I've been around, and where knocking a ball in the snake's mouth still rewards you with a free game. Across the street is the new location of "Joe and Eddie's". Once located on the "Strip", it was the post-revelry hot spot for a 3-egg recovery omelet. As we turned off 98, Vann and I pointed out our alma mater to the boys as I sang them the FWBHS Viking fight song (daaaaa DAAAAA da dun-dun-dun-dun...) with my hands in the air. Vann and I talked the whole way about who used to live in this house or that, and oh that hasn't changed a bit.

We arrived at the track for a Friday afternoon skills clinic. William spoke very highly of Mr. Lackey, who headed up the clinic, and both of the boys worked hard to get ready for Saturday's race. William had some trouble with the 4th straight rhythms, and took two ugly spills trying to get it right. I always have the "what ifs", especially where William is concerned. I relaxed as I recalled that I went to New Heights Elementary with the local orthopedist, who would be happy to see us.

Following the clinic, my dad took us for dinner at another FWB icon, the Hightide. Down the street from my childhood home on Okaloosa Island, it used to be adjacent to the Seagull (known as the "Dirty Bird" after midnight), where my mom and her friends would dance the night away. Hurricane Opal took the Seagull in 1995, but the Hightide survived. After gorging ourselves on fried grouper and a dozen raw, my dad decided to get some fresh air and take the short walk to his condo, while we headed in for a good nights rest.

Vann, Heather, Stacey, and Vann's best friend Mike- 1989?
Rain loomed on Saturday as we hoped for a break in the unpredictable Emerald Coast weather. Sure enough, the rain stopped just in time for two rounds of practice. The race was able to start promptly at 11, and was run at an efficient pace. It was an awesome day for both our boys. William, a little cautious in his motos after his falls the day before, was able to go all out in the main and take perfects in both classes. Wyatt had his first 7 challenger perfect, making it a triple-perfect day! As an added bonus, my childhood friend Stacey brought her son Brody to watch the races. I was elated to have Stacey by my side yelling for my kids with perfect ex-cheerleader style. Brody and Wyatt get along like peas and carrots, and Brody said after he gets a racing bike he wants Wyatt to "tell him his secrets to win."

We headed back to Tallahassee after Saturday's race, not needing to stay for Sunday.The race was a much needed confidence booster for both of the boys, in preparation for nationals in Peachtree City later this month. As much as I love Fort Walton, I was happy as I woke in my own bed this morning, when the boys jumped in to ask their dad to go get Krispy Kreme. After all, there's no place like home.