Evergreen Kids Dirt Fest/Subway Games

Put Ian down for another race in the books. Today we hit the Kids Dirt Fest sponsored by Evergreen, Subway, and Cascade. This race also part of the Washington Subway Games. Last year, both Ian and I raced this event. This year only open to kids 18 years and younger. Now I don't need to invent some lame excuse as to why I didn't race.

Oh yeah, location was Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park. Can never go wrong hitting that place. It's chock full of two wheeled fun and frolicking.

Weather was crap, keeping in line with our cold weird spring. About 57 degrees and rain. Not pouring rain, but that constant on/off mist, that keeps you Good 'N' Soaked. Kids Fest was a Mud Fest. Come splash around with us...

Sport class lines up for the start. Ian in the back row, with fellow JL Velo teammate, Henry, manning the front row. Mixture of ages, since this event grouped all under 18 into one class/race. The Novice race split age groups, but Ian deemed that race length too short, so Sport it was - even though at 11 years old - he'd be one of the younger kids in the group.

They also featured an Expert class, though canceled, due to only one kid signing on the dotted line - Henry's brother Evan - and fellow JL Velo team member. No soup for you. He did get to race downhill later in the day, so not all lost.

Henry, age 11, flying the JL Velo colors in actual race conditions. Always fun watching kids race, no matter the ability, from rank beginner to pro looking juniors. I've said it once, will say it a few thousand more times - mountain bike and cyclocross racing are fantastic for kids.

Ian in action. Said it was one of the most fun races he's done - partly I'm sure - due to the fun Duthie trails themselves.

Ian and Henry, battled it out together. They were close on the last section of the course, with Henry pulling away here at the finish. Great job. Have no idea what their finishing positions were, not in the top five podium spots anyway. I hope...

Scoring was a little sketchy with parents correcting race folks at the award ceremony. I checked the online results today to find Ian and Henry not even listed. Strangely enough, teammate Mike - who didn't even race, though I guess pre-registered - is recorded for 9th place (!?!).

All assemble for the awards ceremony. As you can see, wet and muddy was the order of the day.

Boys 10 and under take the podium - in this case, logs - to receive their medals. My spectacular photo blocks their faces. Pretty handy if they're included in the Federal protection witness program.

Winning girls get their medals to the cheers of all. What this sport needs is more girls racing and just general riding. Let's get 'em out there.

Boy's Sport class winners raise arms and smiles. Fantastic job.

After the XC race and awards ceremony, raffle action ensued with great stuff given away; Camelbacks, messenger bags, hats, helmets, armor gear, DVDs, shorts - and even a 24" wheel mountain bike, courtesy of Diamondback. Very nice indeed. Heard the kid who won the bike, planned to give it to his younger brother as a birthday present. Gotta love that.

Then add in the free t-shirts, Subway sandwiches, piles of Clif bars, and medals for all racers. Even with the rain and scoring mishaps, a great event. These kid oriented gigs are extremely beneficial in getting more kids riding and racing. A race focused on kids alone, with total beginners encouraged, as well as more experienced young racers.

Later in the afternoon, a downhill race was offered. Sort of an intro to downhilling, since held on the Bootcamp trail - one of the easier XC trails in the park. Kids timed individually for each run (two runs each). Ian was signed up for this, though mentioned a headache and upset stomach after the XC race. Combined with standing around for an hour with soaking wet and muddy race clothes, he couldn't get warm again. Yes, it's June, at least that's what the calendar says.

While waiting in the downhill queue for a run, I could see on his face - not himself. Combined with an aching knee from two awkward clipless pedal tip overs while trying to warm back up, I decided to pull the plug and he agreed - time to head home. He was freezing while I helped him change into dry clothes in the parking lot, he then passed out in the car and slept all the way home - plus an additional hour in the driveway.

Parent instinct wins out over bike interest in this case. I think I made the right call. Want to keep everything as positive and fun as possible. He enjoyed the XC race, no sense sending him off on a downhill run at speed while not feeling well, even though he can rip Bootcamp pretty fast. Live to ride another day.

A deer bids us farewell from Duthie. Don't worry fuzzy one - we'll be back...