This year, the annual North American uni convention is being held (as we speak) in Michigan. Michigan, as we all remember from looking over maps found on the flip side of the children's menu at cheap roadside diners, is the state that's really two land masses cut by a big river. So now, when locals ask "Where's your other wheel," I can retort, "Hey, where's the other half of your state?" Ha. Take that. Yeah.
Shirra looked up a good route using randmcnally.com, but our car's GPS took us a different (and faster) way. Luckily we didn't need our passports because before we knew what was going on, we were in Canada. Oops, eh!?
Thankfully, the convention is going a lot better than my joke-telling. We got here late, thanks to my trip to the Fire Academy in central NY that ended a few days ago, but we didn't miss much of what we like at these conventions. We missed the artistic competition (in favor of a trip to Shirra's cousins an hour away), but we saw some of it later during the public show. Ryan Woessner and Amy Shields were absolutely flawless and amazing in their pairs routine, and Amy recreated her unbelievable (and flawless) solo routine that made her the American champion this year. There was also a juggling act, a pair of frisbee whizzes (one of whom is also an incredible foot-bag (Hacky Sack) artist, and a great visit from Sem and Teresa Abrams; Sem's finale had him riding around the gym on a 14' giraffe while pretending to lose his balance. I've seen many public shows, and this was one of the best over the past 7 years.
A Day (or Two) at the Races
Today was the first of two race days. The weather was nigh perfect (a bit too hot), and the track is in pretty decent shape. The volunteers assisting with the events did a great job, and thanks to them and the weather, we were done nearly 3 hours ahead of schedule, finishing the 1500m and 400m races and leaving the 100m and 'weird' races for tomorrow. Emmett managed to finish the 800m (kids under 9 ride a shorter race than the 1500m), so he automatically gets a medal since he was one of only 4 in his age category. He actually placed 3rd but forgot to ride past the finish line, so he had to remount and finish the race properly. Fiona finished her first 1500m and also rode a 400m race, both without falling off, but she's not a fast rider yet, so she came in last both times. I was proud of her for finishing and for keeping up her spirits. Her friend Emmy did so well in the 400 that she qualified for the expert heat, where she did even better, earning an 'Expert' tee shirt. Other club members did ok, too. As for me, I managed to eke out Expert tee shirts in both events, but my times were a bit off from last year. The nice thing for me was finishing ahead of so many fast kids. I noticed that after the races, I was the only one panting like a dog -- the young'uns all shrugged off their races and headed for their cars in time for a parade competition that I didn't care for.
I ran into Brian Mackenzie, and he gave me a great DVD he made last year; some of the footage featured some of our club members, and there were a couple sections focusing on me and a small group of riders from NYC. We are staying for the awards ceremony (first time I'll have been to one of those). I look forward to collecting my own medals and tee shirts. I hope my kids get a few prizes, too!