Last Saturday I spent the day in San Marcos (for my first ever) cycling competition. We had to leave at o’dark hundred to get there at the appointed time – 8 AM.
We were blessed with spectacular weather…clear and sunny, with temperatures in the mid-70’s and mild, gentle breezes throughout the day.
As with all Special Olympics events, we began with the national anthem, and then the athlete’s oath. Rather than have just one person perform the song, they asked a group of us to sing. As you can see, I welcomed the challenge and stepped up FRONT AND CENTER to sing the Star Spangled Banner! (Loudly and proudly!)
Unbeknownst to my parents, I also volunteered to recite the athlete’s pledge (as seen in the top photo.) I needed a little help from the MC, but my enthusiasm and love of the game more than made up my faltering verbal skills. And then it was GAME ON!
There were 11 athletes from Round Rock that participated in 7 different events, ranging from 500 meter time trials to a 10K road race. Athletes can ride a traditional 2-wheel bike, an adaptive 3-wheel bike (like mine pictured below) or a recumbent bike like my friend Brooke rides.
The first race I competed in was the 5K (3.1 miles) time trial for 3-wheelers. Rather than one epic mash-up of bikes and athletes, cyclists take off in staggered times. This insures that athlete time’s are accurate, and prevents logjams at the beginning and end of the race. Take a good look at my helmet…the brand is called “nutcase” and they offer a huge variety of fun and funky helmets for cyclists and skateboarders.
I know what you’re thinking…”It’s not PINK”, but it has pink in it, plus a lot of other cool colors like turquoise, which totally matches my Special Olympics uniform. After all, it’s important to look good even when you are sweating!
I shaved about 4 minutes off my 5K (practice) time and earned a silver medal for this race. My teammate Julianna received the bronze medal. Woo-Hoo Roadrunners!
Two other awesome teammates were Greg and Riley who went head-to-head on the 5K and 10K road races. They received two silver and two gold medals respectively, and demonstrated great sportsmanship (as it should be) both on and off the race course. Way to go Greg & Riley!
My next (and final) race was the 1K (.62 mile) time trials. There were a lot athletes competing in this race (about 20) so we had four different time trials. This race was all about speed baby, and I really put on the burners and earned a gold medal. There is nothing like a little “bling” to motivate a girl to reach for the gold!
All in all, it was a super fun day, and not because I was weighted down by medals. The Roadrunners did Round Round Rock proud! In total, our medal count was:
Gold – 4
Silver – 9
Bronze – 6
4th place ribbon – 1
5th place ribbon – 1
We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without the help of some very important people, so a big shout out to our cycling coaches – Coach Spitzer & Coach Phil, and all the parents (thanks dad) who helped at every practice. Not only did they drag our giant bikes to practice every week, but they cheered and motivated us to do our best. (Plus, they kept us from crashing into those orange safety cones when we came screaming around the corners at warp speed!) OK, maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but its true that we couldn’t have done it without our parents support.
Special Olympics makes everyone feel like a winner, and that includes those on the sideline. Have you ever been to a sporting event where everyone cheers for the home and the away team? Or where the person who comes in last, gets as much applause as the guy who comes in first? Or your mouth hurts because you couldn’t keep a giant grin off your face? If not, you might want to consider volunteering for a Special Olympics event. It will be good for for your heart, in more ways than one. I guarantee it!