Friday, April 23, 2010

Team Jerkcx Prologue to Baseball - Wha?

The Group Health Commute Challenge is just around the corner - the month of May in fact. It's a once a year gig where companies and individual folk compete against each other for the most bike commuting miles, days biked, and other measurements of fun. It's a friendly competition and excuse to get people exposed to bike commuting. Nothing wrong with that.

I've rounded up a few teams over the years at "the office" and this year is no exception. In the Seattle area, about 20,000 people sign up for this two wheeled shindig, and you can see the increase in bike commuters for the month long event. Super cool to witness.

Last year, our team, Team Jerkcx - a little wordplay on Merkcx - kicked ass in our own company race for the commuting title. We scored the most mileage, thanks to some serious mileage junkies and regular commuters. I'm flattered everyone wanted to be on the team once again, with acting me as Team Captain. Should be a fun May.

With that, I was heading home today on the spiffy carbon Ibis minus fenders, instead of the spiffy steel Ibis with comfy fenders. So of course, it's raining. I stopped to put on a jacket and rain booties, when two fellow members of Team Jerkcx cruised by - Jay and Jamie - so we shared a spontaneous ride home together, since our commutes run the same direction for a few miles. I joked this was the official Team Jerkcx Prologue to kick off the festivities next month.

Jay, fellow IT Geek, has taken up cycling about 2 years ago. He's since gone gaga over riding and has lost 100 pounds. Yes, that's with two zeros. Amazing. His partner in crime, Jamie, has dove in as well and rides quite a bit. She's some sort of graphic designer type at "the office". Both super nice folks and have become pretty strong riders. I think they're hooked for life.

After they peeled off our shared commute route, I continued on in the rain towards my son Ian's Little League game, hoping to catch most of it. Ian is burned out on this baseball gig and came close to quitting last week, but elected to finish out the season. This is our first experience at this Little League deal and the schedule is loopy. They're scheduled to play or practice 4 times a week, with another "optional" practice session at times.

So, we're talking 10+ hours of baseball per week. Unless you're the baseball fanatic, that's a lot of hours for a 10 year old. I find it ironic that Little League actually killed his interest in baseball. Or maybe his interest just ran it's natural course. In any case, we're looking forward to the end of the season. I'm curious to see if he wants to play next year.

To give him additional encouragement, I'm trying to be at every game. I've made almost all of 'em, some impossible due to work reasons. The rest of family however, attends all events - practice and games.

I hit the park/ball field with plenty of time to catch some action. Once at the park, I cut through the woods to save time and passed a couple on mountain bikes. Goofy fun while riding a road bike with 23c tires, dressed like Euro Race Geek, and carrying a messenger bag - in the pouring rain.

I wondered if the game would be rained out, but no - it was in full swing when I arrived - despite the weather. I watched Ian make one good play, which was cool. I was also soaking wet and shivering in bike clothes. 49 degrees and pouring rain, Northwest baseball weather. Since I was now officially in attendance, wife Lori and daughter Amy got to hide in the car with the heat on. I don't blame 'em.

After the game I totally froze my ass off riding home. About a two mile ride, so I never fully warmed up. And yet I still enjoyed it. I am insane.

49 degrees and rain. Perfect baseball weather.

Carbon Ibis shivers against the bleachers.

Another game tomorrow afternoon, as per the crazy Little League schedule. We'll be there, cheering Ian on, probably shivering in the rain. Carbon Ibis however, will be tucked in warm and cozy in the garage. Lucky bastard.

After our baseball commitments, we're hoping to get some dirt miles in on Sunday. I'll take wheels over balls any day.

Hey, now there's a catch phrase to offend people at the field - no? I better keep it to myself.

Ride on.


  1. I am surprised that you have not posted something about a crazy parent at one of the games. I know they can get a little crazy around here like it's a major league game.

    I think every kid wants to quit the sport that they are in. So Ian is just like any other 10 year old. I have two that lived to be 18 and 21.

    Have fun with the commute challenge!!

  2. Yeah - there's one parent on the team who's a little loopy. He comments on every move his kid makes - loudly - good and bad. To give him credit, he also give positive comments to all the other kids on the team.

    Ian is really burned out now though - way too many games and practices. Said he'll finish out the season though.

    None of the other activities he's done over the years - music lessons, karate, chess tournaments (state level), cross-country running, basketball, and mountain bike racing -have burned hom out like baseball.

    During the other activities (some continue, some do not), he whined occasionally (rare), but never flat out wanted to quit - like baseball. I think the loopy schedule killed his interest.