RIDE LIKE YOU HAVE WINGS The Nation’s Capitol Contribution To The Criterion:

10 Jun

 

The Air Force Association Cycling Classic had always been an opportunity open to me when I covered news in DC but somehow the need to travel by Metro and giving up opportunities to watch Dems going at the GOP in real life, moments the world would see on Cspan was too much of a draw to give up even to watch our nation’s heroes (and avid cyclists) careen around corners cheered on with clapping and cowbell clangs.

 

I was told the bikers began at 7:30 am. Double walled windows preclude hearing noise from the outside muffling even train whistles in the distance. At noon, I saw a wall of spandex and wind efficient helmets whizzing by. I had the experience of being thrown on the back of a motorcycle once photographing bikers, a rush and thrill I would put up there with Sheikh Maktoum’s horse bowing to me and the ride home bells clanging on the Euston firemen engine, dead dalmation included. There is an adjustment to being a photographer with no gear in hand. I am still making that horse change. It is rough. To be able to stand and be audience, to be in the moment…. And clap as the bicyclists wailed near my curb. The adrenalin was enthusing. I stayed. I watched. I loved being part of this happening.

 

Boeing and Wounded Airman are two of the annual two day event sponsors. Day One was a smaller route in Clarendon. Day Two with its up, around and figure eight loop was the day that brought out the Pro- Am, the challenge, women fearless from skinning knees as a fall on concrete is unforgiving. The most amazing race of all was the Children’s Challenge where everyone was a winner- proud of their tri colored ribbons and huge cookie sized medal.

One daughter chastised her mom for their missing the race a year ago. The family got ‘there’ but in time to see bike butt getting smaller in the distance. The twelves raced the tens and an occasional littler one in the wrong age group too. The funniest were the Dads, huffing and puffing to keep up with their toddlers on trikes or wooden bikes. The littlest set were pushed on their trikes equipped with handles at the rear. Kid power was Dad power, now that I think about it- grin, smart moms.

The lay of the land was quick to get- the white car is the pacer then followed by the Mike and Ike on Bike and then the lead racer then the pack and then the ‘kudos for even entering’ entrant. It was a blast – off that is. The handful of exhibitors got traffic. The Air Force recruiting handed out blue wrist bands, pins and decals. The Examiner confirmed its last daily publishes June 14th then becoming a once a week political mag. Death to conservatism. The Greater Washington’s ONLY conservative daily bit the dust. I knew that. I am losing friends moving on to better and better.

Branding for other sponsors lined the route- Lockheed Martin, Battlespace Inc., Navy Federal Credit Union, Northrop Gruman, Comcast, abc7, freshbikes, Newschannel 8, Crystalride, Crystal City, Defense Daily, Shady Grove Fertility, Clark Construction, Defense Daily, cyclingnews.com, NCC, Arlington Sports Inc and Shimano. There was Air Force Association Cycling Classic Challenge Ride, the Navy Federal Credit Union Corporate Challenge and categories, part of the prestigious National Criterium Calendar, for the Nation’s top pro men and women licensed racers . And so it goes…. The largest biggest branding for an All American Classic is Japanese www.shimano.com, something not shared when news pundits choose to attack or focus on a country’s nuclear meltdown. Thank you Shimano for stepping up. Just like there are some women who should not wear Daisy Dukes, there are some men who should not wear spandex or ride very narrow thin bikes whose seats disappear into the nethers. AT LEAST, this wasnt Naked Bike Day that I once covered. There are some things and people who should not be put together into ONE- OMG. Like Lockheed says in its spots- “Here’s to the heroes” “Ride like you have wings…”

 And to the Kelly hotties CAT 2 (do I not sound expert or what)… not a Category 2 storm but men good enough to ride next year in France and show the world what real American bikers are all about- not faux men like Lance who hurt the image of what the AFA competition is all about…. American pride   www.cyclingclassic.org, a blush away from the Nation’s Air Force Memorial  http://www.airforcememorial.org/

Air Force Memorial. One Air Force Memorial Drive Arlington, VA 22204.

Phone: 703-979-0674. Fax: 703-979-0556 afmf@airforcememorial.org  

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