A couple weeks ago we were in downtown St. Paul for the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival pro bike races. In between the women’s and men’s races they do a 1 mile kids’ race. We asked Ryan very last minute if this sounded like something he wanted to participate in, and without hesitation he said yes. He’s never done anything like this before, but has expressed interest in running and biking races, so we figured we’d give this one a try. The course was one complete loop of the circuit the pro racers use, and it wound through the streets of downtown. We’d see him off at the start, meet up with him at the end, and weren’t really sure if we’d see him at all anywhere along the course. (And with Ryan’s infamous NEED TO BE NEAR MOMMY at all times, we were not sure how this would go:) The dude was so eager and so excited to get the race underway, he could barely stand it. And do I remember to bring my camera to such a monumental occasion in my eldest’s life? No. All iphone photos…

daddy pinning on the race number (30)

eagerly, impatiently awaiting the start of the kids’ race. Thankfully there were some trickster bikers to watch to pass the time.

ready to go!

Pat got him started on the course, and Sam and I watched from the sidelines as all the kiddies were off. Ryan was DETERMINED to win the race, and you should have seen those little legs of his pedaling away as he tried to pass other riders right at the start. Hahaha, it was so funny! We headed over to a part of the course toward the end where we could watch the kids come by.

pacer car

We waited what seemed like an eternity. I was worried that he had fallen, or gotten scared and stopped the race halfway through. So when I finally saw that little big man coming down the street, my eyes welled up with tears for a bit. I mean, just LOOK at this guy!

it’s hard to tell, but that is a huge smile on his face

We didn’t realize how close to the end we were at this point, so Sam and I unfortunately didn’t make it to see him finish, but Pat got there just as he was crossing the finish line.

There was an announcer shouting out the finishers over the loudspeaker, and kids were rolling through this race on training wheels, balance bikes, the works. It was really pretty cute. Each finisher received a medal. Ryan was so excited and proud to have participated in and finished this race. He was talking for days about how he won the race and got a medal!

(and, more than ready for a post-race bathroom break)

refueling with a granola bar and some chocolate milk

one VERY proud papa

We were so proud of this guy!