Kids say the darndest things.
I recently spoke at the Davis Bike Club team camp in Bodega Bay, and although I was very prepared for my presentation, I suddenly become nervous when I saw the multitudes of junior cyclists proudly marching into the room all with matching flannel Davis Bike Club pajamas on. Either they were ready to fall asleep in my presentation, or they ready for a slumber party. My team doesn’t get matching jammies! I was envious at the bright colors and camaraderie it brought.
Would I be able to connect with them? They were a well knit team and some of the best behaved kids I have ever interacted with, and I quickly added some fun trivia and prizes to keep them interested. (My apologies to the parents for sending home your children with energy gels…but…)
One of my main topics for the evening (besides stay in school, get an education) was the imperative necessity of a helmet while riding, yet even if you are wearing your “armor” you can still be susceptible to brain injuries and concussions. We may ride like superheroes on our bikes, but that doesn’t mean we are invincible. This was a heavy topic and of course delved into some intimate details of my own personal struggles. I guess you had to be there to hear my talk, because then it became a little lighter as I shared some of my personal triumphs and humbling lessons learned in bike racing and life.
As we entered the question and answer period, one small child asked…
“After you hit your head did your parents tell you that you weren’t ok?”
I responded, “Yes, but I didn’t want to listen to them”.
He shockingly asked, “But didn’t you remember that you were their daughter!?”.
My parents would be so proud. He couldn’t contemplate not listening to your parents and abiding by their rules and advice. And yes, I am very glad I FINALLY listened to my parents and sought the help that was required.
I had shared with the group of the incredible inspiration of my Grandfather.
One girls asked, “Do you get to bring your Grampy with you when you go to Europe!?”
I chuckled, “Unfortunately no, Grampy has to stay home, but his inspiration is always with me.”
This was followed by, “Have you everywon a King of the Mountains jersey?”
I said, “Yes, but we call it a QUEEN of the Mountains.”
She responded, “Well, when you win jerseys, do you get to keep them?”
“Yup. We get to keep them all!”
She quickly said, “Cool. I want one.”
It was a beautiful evening with the adults and the juniors. And as a departing gift, the DBC presented me with special Davis Bike Club jammies that matched the kids. I hear Steven Cozza got a pair the following night, but I wonder if he was as excited as I was…
I felt so fortunate to spend the time with a great group of people, enjoy the slumber party in my new PJ’s, and impart some wisdom on bike racing, inspiration, and brains. It is about time I share my story.