“I’ll be too scared to do the yellow one – can’t Mummy run with me next year too”
Driving out of the car park last year after his first Junior Argus, Ben had been adamant that he didn’t want to ride the next one with Daddy. In a way, he turned out to be right. We weren’t riding in the yellow (2.5km) group. After he and his friend Munro had spent an entire weekend charging around on their bikes, we’d made a last minute decision to change to the orange (5km) group instead.
I guess it must be pretty obvious what a massive day this was for me – Dad’s first bike ride with his 6 year-old son. And in truth, I fear my writing skills will come up short in trying to express all I was feeling on the day. So I’m going to let the pictures Yoli and ActionPhoto took do most of the talking, with only occasional commentary interspersed from myself.
First off the essential pre-ride fueling – a nice big sugar boost from every kid’s favourite on hot day – iced lollies. One of the few purchases I’d made at the Argus Expo during the week previous was Ben’s first proper cycle shirt, courtesy of Rapid Sports. Needless to say, the Spiderman theme proved a popular choice. And what every cycling jersey needs – some jelly babes in the pockets in case a mid-ride energy boost is needed.
With tummies stoked and pockets stuffed it was time to leave the cool shade of the trees and sweat for a while in the steadily building heat if the day whilst waiting for the start.
I’m used to nerves in the chute, but this time they were for Ben rather than myself. Surrounded by young kids struggling to aim their bikes in any specific direction it was clear that the start was going to be something of a melee. The potential for a pile-up to mar his ride was worrying, but thankfully unfounded. Holding back a bit to allow the throng to untangle Ben managed to pilot us both through the masses with confidence and determination. We were underway, side by side on our first ever cycling event together. Just writing that brings a lump to my throat even now.
Five kilometres seemed a ridiculously short distance but watching Ben’s legs spinning rapidly, I realised how much longer it would seem when measured out in turns of his 16″ wheels as opposed to my 27.5″ ones. He seemed undaunted though, passing up the opportunity to stop at both drinks tables on the first lap.
“We’ll stop for a little drink on the 2nd lap Daddy”
And sure enough we did just that – a pink soda of some kind in his case, and for me a sip from my water bottle. We were already almost half way into the 2nd lap and I’d rather have stayed a bit longer but Ben had other plans. He was fixed now on reaching that finish line.
On our 2nd approach to the final corner, we guided our way across to the left lane and under the finish arch. It was all over way too soon for me, but I could also see how tired Ben was.
“3 laps next year Daddy” he said to me as we wheeled through to the tables for his goodie bag and medal. It cannot come soon enough for me.