Sunday, March 11, 2012

Texas on my Mind

My Pa Pa- "Mac" McClanahan (center)
I can hardly wait for Wednesday to come. Just me and my boys are heading west on a Spring Break racing adventure. I haven't spent much time in Texas; an aunt's funeral in Waco, a few trips to San Antonio to visit my sister when she was in college at Trinity U, and a spa trip to Austin. That's about it. Despite my lack of time there, I am 1/4 Texan.

Although I hail from the Florida Gulf Coast's Redneck Riviera, where beer funneling is the #1 sport, my maternal grandparents were native Texans. I didn't know my Pa Pa, a leader in the Texas/Louisiana oil industry of the 1950s and 60s, but I know from my Grandma Helen how to be a strong-willed Texas woman. I guess you can say that I'm Country and Western.

Grandma Helen (left) with my mom at a rig christening
Throughout my engagement to Vann, Grandma Helen generously gave me sound marital advice: "Nod and smile at him honey, and then do whatever you want." Unfortunately for Vann, I put this advice in the bank, along with, "Honey, don't take any crap!" So my sweet husband will load four bikes, his wife, children, cooler and a toolbox in our Suburban and send us off to Dallas, while he stays home to work.

I'm excited. The only thing I know about Dallas is who shot J.R. While we travel in unknown territory, I'll think of my grandparents and explore my roots, knowing they're with me in spirit.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Going the Distance at the USA BMX Volunteer Nationals

"Reluctantly crouched at the starting line
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes, the flags go up
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup..."

The first thought that entered my mind was that the 307 moto turnout in Morristown, TN, for the USA BMX Volunteer Nationals was amazing. If you weren't there, you missed it. By "it", I mean all of it---- the sun, the rain, the tornadoes, the snow, the noise, the dirt, the first turn treachery, and some of the greatest amateur racing I've ever witnessed.

The track itself seemed an improvement over the tight-turned tracks laid out in the past by the NBL. The short, flat first straight offered nothing; no skills needed, just strong legs and a bag of wind. Seeing this, my confidence soared for William, who has the leg strength of a rhino beetle. (I've been informed multiple times by William's scientific younger brother that the rhinoceros beetle has stronger legs than any other animal. Look it up!)

We quickly learned that the ease of the first straight allowed for many expert riders to go into the first turn together, causing constant collisions and slide-outs.
"Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns

Their prowess is potent and secretly stern"

Cole Tesar, Felt SC Action Sports, takes the highline in a typical first turn scene.
On the other hand, intermediates still intimidated by lippy jumps and steep rhythms, thrived on the track. Wyatt loved the track, only complaining that, "the first turn's a little bumpy". Wyatt soared through motos, quarters and semis in both classes Saturday, finishing 6th in 8 cruiser, and 3rd in 8 intermediate. Sunday, fatigue set in. Wyatt was unable to clear motos in cruiser, and crashed in his 8 int. quarter after waking up from a nap.

By Sunday, Wyatt had had enough.
William had only minor difficulties in 10 cruiser on Saturday. After crashing in round one, he easily cleared the second moto and semi, taking a 2nd in the main, on the heels once again of Roman Jaworsky.

"But he's striving and driving and hugging the turns..."
William's face says it all.
10 expert was a different story. The top riders were all there, and then some. A rider count of 39 left no room for error, bad luck, or whatever else you want to call it. William drew gate 1 for Saturday's semi, and while he tried to push out and move over to a better line, it wasn't enough to get him a transfer spot. He sucked up his disappointment and became determined for day two.
"He's going the distance
He's going for speed"

William had a repeat of Saturday in 10 cruiser, again taking 2nd to Roman. 10 expert had him anxious though, especially when he turned up in gate 1 again for the semi. Fortunately, the gate gods were with him and his snap was good, allowing him some room to move over into his line, and safely transfer to the main.
"Still driving and striving as fast as he can..."
William finished 4th in a disappointing 10x main. Don't get me wrong. Out of 7 racks, we're thrilled with 4th place. William somehow landed gate 1 again for the main. Unable to move to the right, his left pedal hit the first turn barrier, causing him to unclip and come to a complete stop. Two riders attempting to go around William in the turn, slid out together, while the two top riders crashed on the next obstacle. William was the first out of the five who wrecked to get going again, allowing him to take the 4 spot. "I feel worse today after that than I did yesterday after not making the main", William said. He couldn't stand it. He wanted to know how it should've been.
"In his mind, he's still driving, still making the grade"
Because I've been strong-armed by two rhinoceros beetles, we will see you in the Lone Star State.
"Cause he's going the distance
He's going for speed"*


*Quotes from "The Distance", by Cake