A week ago RKP marked its fourth birthday. Where my brain was is anyone’s guess. I’m precisely the sort that would forget his own birthday if given half a chance, so maybe this shouldn’t be too surprising. It’s not like I didn’t have the Tour de France, my own riding, posts for RKP, two kids and a marriage to keep me busy. And frankly, no one orders a cake for a blog, right?
When I think of all that has transpired in the last year I wonder how I got through it. I’ve been through the events of my life plenty, so I won’t rehash them now, but when I look back I can’t help but be amazed at how the readership has remained utterly consistent. The particular trifecta of the beer fund, the Deuce ordeal and the resulting Kickstarter has done much to rewrite what I think the cycling community offers its own, the depth to which calling someone “our peeps” can resonate and initiate action.
The shot above was taken this past weekend in the kids’ race (actually, one of five our six) at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix by my friend Ian McLagan. This is the kids’ equivalent of the 45+ Masters 1, 2, 3 race—it was 2, 3 and 4 year olds with no training wheels. Ian, like most of my friends, is a rider whose photo hobby could double as a part-time job if his day gig dries up. Last year he dropped by the race to do some shooting and stuck around for the kids’ race when he saw me. That’s when the following image was captured.
You’ve probably seen that shot here; you may also have seen it on the Specialized web site. Of these shots all I know to say is that Philip has great fun radar. He needs no introduction; he can find it himself. He’s got something of the performer in him and I think the constellation of something he loves and being encouraged to do it in a very public way really tickles him. He talks about the race and how much fun he had.
Prior to the moment above, one in which I was unable to restrain myself from cheering him like I’ve cheered nothing in my life, I spent the day at the race selling RKP t-shirts. The opportunity to do so came about thanks to a friend who supported the Kickstarter project at the Coppi level. He’s also on the board for the Southbay Wheelmen, the club that has put the race on for 50 or so years. Here’s where I thank Steve Whitsitt publicly for pulling a few strings to get me that booth space.
I sold far more shirts than I ever expected, thought I can’t say that I really had an expectation for how things would go. And while the result was as pleasant as it was unexpected, the real gift of the day was meeting a number of RKP readers. In every instance they asked about the Deuce and most said their wives had been asking how he is. I’ll reiterate what I told them, that Matthew is happy and healthy, and I really do mean happy. He’s a really smiley, easygoing kid. I confess that having people continue to ask about him is really touching. I think back on those 37 days and it all seems so dreamlike. From the daily routine of driving to the hospital to the meetings with the doctors, nurses, social workers and administrators, I can’t help but wonder if this is what an F1 driver feels when he looks at a photo of his car after he walks away from a crash. Really? I was in that?
What I’m less at ease with is how much more personal RKP has become in the last year. There’s always been a personal side to my work here, but in the last year, from my crash, to the death of my stepfather Byron, and of course to the baring of my life in Enter the Deuce, my work has taken on a “me” edge that isn’t always comfortable. Putting my sons out there has given—is giving—me a chance to write about some powerful experiences, but I’m not a stage parent, and that part of the equation is quease-inducing.
That note of caution is more for me, than you. As I write this, I’m sitting in a condo at Copper Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. Outside my window I-70 passes and I can see a doe grazing on the grass just above the highway. My head throbs thanks to the 9700-foot elevation. I’m here to check out new bikes and last night, when I met someone who contributed to the beer fund (the world gets smaller), I found myself asking whether the kids’ bikes would be shown as well.
So as RKP marks its fourth year, this is a fair occasion to note that what we do here has evolved a bit. It’ll probably change more, but your continued support is why I continue to explore unusual avenues. Thanks for reading.
Courtesy of Red Kite Prayer.
For more from this blog, check out an interview with its founder, Patrick Brady, on Biology of the Blog.