Oct 8, 2008
Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill form what is known as the triangle. I'm partial to triangles. Squares as well, but I had a personal invitation to this particular triangle by a group of off road cyclists known as TORC. Maybe you can figure out the acronym.
The invite came through an individual who had been particularly interested in my bike. That interest grew into an invite to come and participate in the festivities. It was take a kid mountain biking day, so I went out with some youth, and played on the trails. Most of those kids were labeled as "at risk" which I took to mean they were particularly subject to being under the influence of a crummy world. All that was left behind, and since I didn't know they had been labeled till afterwards, we had a good time, just hanging out in the woods, riding bikes.
That was definitely a highlight of the the weekend. I wish I could have done rides with the kids all day. Other than that I got to talk to a lot of people interested in endurance racing and IFs' bikes. I had front row seats to the pixie cross race, spent some time on the pump track in the woods and rode with people during the 6hr race. I got to help a man named Topher fix a chain, then after a minute of riding behind him and witnessing a good toss off his bike, I got to untaco a wheel by slamming it against the ground repeatedly. I like beating things into shape!
The festival brought together a community of people who had a common interest, and created a shared experience. I tend to ride my bike alone a lot, but the TORC fest reminded me about how social cycling can be for a relatively antisocial activity. Maybe not anti-social, but it is definitely a sport outside of most social norms, which is strange since just about every kid rides bikes with a group of kids while growing up.
To illustrate the point I went to visit my cousin in Raleigh. Her new neighborhood had the quaint and quiet streets you might you expect a southern suburb to have. Kid's on bikes soon to be left to rust in a couple of years. Yep, and at some point they'll probably get in a car and throw a cup of hot coffee on some cyclist in spandex...
Well, probably not and it's less likely if there are groups like TORC around, pulling kids in and showing them that riding a bike is fun when ever your age. Thanks to groups like TORC!
I want to thank Marcee for getting me to come down. I'd start a list of people to thank, but I'm bound to leave some one out, so I'll leave it at Marcee for now, and the rest of the TORC community!!
And the Upside is I gained enough encouragement to think it's viable to do La Ruta now. Thanks everyone and especially Mr. C.