29 July 2013

That's my kid!

It's a Family Affair

This last week I read a post my nephew Kenny wrote for a publication offering tips to first time triathletes. Now Kenny is a pro triathlete who has some pretty impressive race wins (hill climb & tri) to his name and young age. I am a very happy Aunt when I receive the usual podium shots and post-race play-by-play phone calls from Kenny. But when I saw his name attached as an author - my pride overflowed. Kenny is not only winning, he is sharing the joy of participation. So proud! [link: Top 5 Tips for First Time Triathletes].

My nephew, Kenny Rakestraw, racing the Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman triathlon on July 18th.
Then this morning I woke up and thought I would start my Monday morning by wearing my new bright yellow tshirt, but not just any bright yellow tshirt, a Je ne suis pas Ted King tshirt. [link: A Ted Tshirt]. Every time I think of Ted King now, I think of his parents traveling all the way to France to see their son race for one day in the Tour de France before missing the time cut-off by 7 seconds. We all know they were just there to show their support and love, but still, 7 seconds!
Je ne suis pas Ted King, mais je voudrais être
This got me thinking about the parents of some of the other pros, those parents who are often behind the scenes at races showing their support. I realized I have met a number of these proud parents at races over the years. I somehow feel more connected to the athletes after meeting their wonderful parents. So here it is - a brief collection of parental pride:

Tejay van Garderen's (BMC) Father, is a bike racer himself and often competes in weekly crits in Boulder, CO. He also works Mavic support.
Marcel van Garderen (second from left), Tejay van Garderen's Dad, with his Mavic support crew at the USA Pro Challenge in 2012.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Tejay van Garderen's Mother-in-law Lynn (that would be Jessica's Mom) was in Aspen as well (with Tejay's Father Marcel) in a show of support.
Lynn and Marcel in Aspen, Colorado, August 2012.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Taylor Phinney's (BMC) Mom - Connie Carpenter Phinney is a four-time Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating. She knows a tremendous amount about the sport and also a great deal about cycling in Italy - just ask her sometime.
Connie Carpenter Phinney, Breckenridge 2012.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Taylor Phinney's Dad - Davis Phinney was a stellar sprinter and American legend in cycling, he is active in his son's career and a champion in his cause against Parkinson's Disease.
Davis Phinney (far left) with BMC staff members in Breckenridge, Colorado, 2012.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Peter Stetina's (Garmin-Sharp) Dad, Dale Stetina, and his Uncle Wayne Stetina were in Telluride last year to support Peter. Both are former National Champions and Olympians. Dale Stetina is a two-time winner of the Coors Classic. Wayne Stetina is V.P. of Shimano, USA.
Brothers Dale and Wayne Stetina, August 2012 .  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Timmy Duggan's (Saxo-Tinkoff) Mom Debbie is a familiar site at the races in the United States. I have seen Debbie in Colorado and California. She usually has a large support group nearby.
2012 American National Champion Timmy Duggan found his Mom in the crowd in Santa Barbara, May 2013, in her matching jersey.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Timmy's family can be easily spotted on the sidelines wearing their bright green tshirts.
The Go Timmy Duggan Fan Club in Beaver Creek, CO  (who also happen to be his family and includes his Dad and Mom).  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Ryan Eastman's (Bontrager) Dad and Mom were there to support him in Santa Barbara in May 2013.
Ryan Eastman (USA) and James Oram (New Zealand National Champion) of Bontrager Cycling Team are greeted by Ryan's parents after Stage 4 of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Axel Merckx - we all know who his father is ... Eddy Merckx! Axel is currently Directeur sportif for the Bontrager Cycling Team.
Axel Merckx in Santa Barbara, California, May 2013. ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®
Did you know that David Millar's (Garmin-Sharp) sister Fran Millar works for team SKY as Head of Business Operations. I especially appreciated her tweet during the 2013 Tour de France after her brother waged his campaign against fans running next to the riders only to be ignored, but Fran posted this ...
Chris Froome used his brother as a double distraction from journalists during the Tour.
Chris Froome's brother  (Photo tweeted by Chris Froome)
Seems we saw Chris Froome's fiance Michelle as much as we saw Chris himself in the final footage of this year's Tour de France, and then Chris dedicated his win to his Mom - awwh!  Parents. Those wonderful beings who not only passed along outstanding genes but gave tremendous support on the road to forming a spectacular athlete.

So the next time you are at a bike race and see the parents of a rider there cheering on their kid, go up and say hi and congratulate them on their child's achievements, you never know, maybe someday someone will do the same for you on your son/daughter or grandson/granddaughter. Won't you be proud?!

After all there is no more justifiable pride than pride in one's family.

My other nephew, 7ft tall Kevin Rakestraw, with his very proud much shorter Mom Missy.