Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wheelathon--Will Desert Boy Make It All Eight Miles?

 On Wednesday, the local schools held an annual fundraiser called Wheelathon. The Kindergarten through second grade kids ride eight miles, and the third through sixth graders ride sixteen miles. I had called the elementary school teacher to make sure it was okay for Desert Boy to ride, and she invited us to come to her classroom a little early. We took Ernesto and his mom, too, and the preschoolers had a fun glimpse of what school will be like next year.

Finally it was time to start. The kids all got on their bicycles.
 Then we had to take a couple photos.

 These girls don't seem to sure that this will really be a fun event. But the wind was at our backs and we had a slight downhill, so I was feeling optimistic, despite the overcast skies.

 Getting into position!
 Some of the kids were so ready to go!

 And then we were off! I was really wondering if Desert Boy would be able to make it the whole eight miles. There is a snack stop every mile, where all the kids stop and eat and drink and wait for the entire group to arrive. I knew that would be a big motivator.

But I also knew that we took the training wheels off Desert Boy's bike only about a month and a half ago. He's been riding okay, but not super. He often would get distracted and crash. And he didn't know how to start very well by himself. And he kept begging to have the training wheels put back on.

I had talked Chandra, who has four athletic kids, and she advised me to bring the training wheels, but see if he could do it without. "He can learn to ride in eight miles," she said.

I liked that advice, so we went with it!

Desert Boy made the first mile just fine.

 After snacks, we got back on and rode some more. Desert Boy wasn't fast, but he kept pedaling his tiny bike with the 12 inch wheels. That's a lot of pedaling!

 We eventually met up with the older kids coming the other direction. They were riding into the wind first, and it was slowing them down a lot. We all assured them that riding the direction we were going was really nice, and they would have an easy ride back.

 The bigger kids also had a variety of bike problems. Some of the bikes get taken out of the garage once a year, for the Wheelathon.

 John had volunteered to be a chaperone. He said it was harder riding slow than fast!

 Ernesto did a great job of plugging along. His biggest problem was he got so warm from riding. He took off his sweatshirt but still was so warm.

 Bill and Marj were volunteers manning one of the snack stops. They had a lot of free time to read and relax while they waited for the older kids to get back to them.

 Even though there are mountains around, the road is straight and flat, making it easier to ride. There also are a lack of trees along the route, and no houses or buildings, so restroom stops are nonexistent. Fortunately that didn't turn out to be a big deal.

 As we approached one snack stop, we saw a structure up in the air. It turned out to be an orchard ladder, and we enjoyed some freshly picked peaches.

 The peaches revved up the bicyclists, and they were ready to go again. They had collected pledges for each mile they rode, so they were doing their best for the school.

 Before we took off from the peach stand, I climbed up the ladder to get a fun shot of the riders.

 Desert Boy riding with the teacher. We were a bit of a parade, with the bus and a few vehicles following us.

 Desert Boy showing his determination (and his shoes on the wrong feet, which he would not switch.)

Both Ernesto and Desert Boy made it! Good job preschoolers! They're showing off the marks they got at each mile. They think they are big stuff now.

It was a fun ride, and we're already looking forward to it for next year.

1 comment:

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