(NOTE No. 1: As we approach NUVO's annual Mass Ave Criterium [or MAC, as we call it], we'll be blogging about cycling in this part of the Midwest. Riley Missel — former NUVO intern and Marian U. Cycling team member — saw her dad run a "crit" last weekend.)
Cycling parents are annoying. They’re always yelling less-than-constructive things like “move up!” and “work together!” and “nice cadence!” They hover while their kids warm up, they ask if they need anything about 85 times, and take way too many pictures of them while they’re in a lot of pain.
Today, I felt like I was that parent.
My dad had registered to race the Marian Midwest Cycling Classic, his first criterium ever, and I was nervous. I was racing later in the day, but my thoughts were hardly on my race as I meticulously pinned his number, filled his bottles, aired up his tires, and asked way too many questions about how he was going to warm up.
He stayed calm and did his thing. I don’t know how he didn’t tell me to calm down and stop pacing.
I walked over to the start line to watch the Men’s 4/5 race begin, feeling a nervous mix of anxiety and pride. Bike racing is not safe or easy, and my dad was out there doing it!
The pack came around as a blur after the first lap, and I scanned for his green helmet… Is he okay? Did he crash? Oh my gosh, where is he? I found him.
The next time around, I saw him through a gap in the riders. I yelled, “Go Dad!” right into a passing riders’ ears. Is he having fun? Will he be happy after the race? His grimace shifted into an open-mouth grin. Oh, good.
I realized then and there why parents are so nuts at bike races, and why they keep letting us do it anyway. To all the cycling parents out there (and soccer dads and baseball moms) — I get you. I have no idea what place my dad finished in, but I could care less — he was out there competing in something fun, terrifying and rewarding, and I couldn’t have been prouder.
(NOTE No. 2: Riley's pop actually finished in eighth. A member of the NUVO-sponsored cycling team, Hogan Sills [Bissell ABG Giant], took top honors in the Men Pro/1/2 category at the event. A complete list of winners can be found here.)