Growler take one

Nick leading the charge up Kill Hill - too bad he didn't know about the Prime at the top!
Photo - Clay Allison, Ascent Bike Shop
Nick's day to race. One fun and rock filled lap of the Growler course. My job was to make sure he got some fluids about 12 miles into the race. I wouldn't be able to get out and about on the course this time because I was also babysitting for Lonna and Matt. They were both racing the 34 and I had volunteered to watch Kirwin, their 9 month old son. So I was pretty limited in where I could go. But Nick and I had a plan and had practiced. I would give him his Osprey pack on the black top road - easy to get to, smooth pedaling for him to buckle the straps and no issues with getting back to the hotel so Kirwin could get at least part of his nap.

This is how you practice for jousting on a bike!
Yes - I was going to give Nick a fully loaded backpack while he was in motion. That way he'd have enough fluids to finish out the rest of his race. We spent about 30 minutes practicing his jousting at the KOA on Friday. It was just like jousting - I held out the pack and he slipped his arm through the strap. We had quite the audience watching and wondering what the heck we were doing! But after a few trys, we were confident that we could do it. Nick could grab his pack in motion and keep on pedaling.

This bite valve is mine - I'm tired of water and milk!
Saturday morning was abuzz in the KOA. Lots of people were racing the 34 and it seemed like the whole campground was prepping and eager to go. Matt picked me up and I went back to their hotel with my backpack, a book and Nick's pack. After some photos, Matt and Lonna headed to the starting line and I was in charge of Kirwin! We hung out in the hotel for a while - him playing with my phone and me reading. Then it was time to head out to the course. I got there just as the volunteers were setting up the cones to block the road a little. Found a good parking spot and took my time getting Kirwin into his stroller. He was having fun with my bite valve - good thing it was closed! Sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhat - not all of which stayed on the entire time. Sunglasses are made for playing with, not wearing, apparently. Once we were all settled, I walked down to the two volunteers to chat. I wanted to know about how long it would take the riders to get to that point and any other tidbits of gossip about the race. They filled me with horror stories about the single speeders getting swamped on the road, the simple obstacles on josh-o's that caused horrible backups and other stuff. Yikes. Hopefully, Nick wouldn't get caught in any of that. Then riders appeared on the distant ridge that lead to the sandy road descent. Time to get into position and get ready for Nick.

Look carefully for the riders coming down the road!
I hustled with the stroller up the road to a point where I could still see the road, but would give Nick time to toss a bottle. The first two riders came blazing through, followed closely by Kyle B and another guy. I didn't even have time to get the camera out to get a photo of Kyle - he was through that quickly! A few minutes later, I saw the blue and yellow of ProCycling descending the hill. One yip - no response. It was Todd, not Nick. Less the five minutes later, another blue and yellow kit. Another yip, this one met with a response. Time to get ready. Nick tossed his bottle, told the rider behind him he was grabbing a backpack. The rider slowed a little - I think he wanted to watch Nick wipe out. No such luck! It was a smooth and flawless exchange. We got a complement on the hand off from the second place singlespeeder who was right behind Nick at that point. Matt came through just after Nick. New dad that he was, he slowed down to take a peek at Kirwin and make sure everything was okay!
Nick dancing on the pedals near the summit of Kill Hill
Photo - Clay Allison, Ascent Bike Shop
Single track fun in Hartman Rocks
Photo - Clay Allison, Ascent Bike Shop
We stuck around a little longer to watch some of other riders coming through. Then it was time to head back to the hotel and take our naps! I ended up leaving just as Lonna was rolling down the hill. We stopped to cheer, then it was definitely nap time. I had a cranky Kirwin and he really wanted to lay down for a while. After too short of a nap, it was time for a snack and more slobbering on my phone while we waited for the boys to finish. Didn't take too much longer - Nick and Matt came rolling up about two hours later, carrying the spoils of the race (a finisher's growler.) Kirwin was certainly happy to see his dad - a huge smile appeared when they showed up. The entire Thelen clan had a very successful day. Kirwin and I had a quiet morning, Nick took third in the Singlespeed class, Matt had a really good time and Lonna finished with a smile. Can't ask for more then that!

Single Speed podium - Nick took 3rd

Men's 17-19 podium, Kyle B got 2nd (and 4th overall!)

Men's 40-49 podium - Todd S got 2nd


  1. Tracy,
    Thanks for posting your experiences with babysitting out grandson!
    Congratulations! You are all awesome bikers!

  2. Happened to grab a picture of you. -Dave

    1. Thanks, Dave. Thats a really nice one too. Can I post that one in my race report?

    2. No problem, thank you. Can you give me a photo credit, Dave Kozlowski. Thanks!


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