Saturday was Abe’s first mountain bike race of the season. Mike had more than a full day of work he was supposed to do and van breaks needing fixed, so I talked the girls into tending for what I knew would be . . . a lot of hours, and Abe and I, after picking up a friend whose son had left for the race earlier than she had wanted to go, headed off to Powder Mountain.
These races aren’t small. There are schools from all over the state. Hundreds of racers. The races for all the different divisions taking up the majority of the daylight hours. So, at this particular race, they had a relatively small area near the “pit zone” (the field where all the schools’ pavilions, etc. are set up close to the starting line) where you could drop off your racers. Then you were expected to drive to a parking lot much further away where you could take a shuttle bus back to the race.
I pulled up to the drop off area, and, during the brief moment when my friend and I stepped out of the car to make sure Abe had his bike off the rack, etc., . . . I locked my keys . . . and phone . . . and camera in the car (along with my friends’ things). It was one of those dumb things that any number of small things would have prevented from happening. If I’d just left my door open while I helped Abe grab his bike. If I’d just stayed in the car altogether since Abe didn’t actually require any help. If I had left the keys in the ignition (thus stopping the “automatic door lock” from going off on Abe’s car). If I’d put the keys in my pocket. If . . . if . . . if.
Alas there I was – in the area forbidden for long-term parking – unable to do anything but . . . stay parked. We sent Abe off to warm up and find his friend. We talked to the Highway Patrol Officer we found (who said they didn’t carry kits anymore and couldn’t help me). We talked to the people directing traffic – explaining why we were parked . . . where no one was allowed to park. We walked until we found one small bar of reception on my friend’s phone. And then . . . I called Mike.
I couldn’t imagine that getting a locksmith way up there would be any less than a fortune. And I knew Mike’s whole day was impossibly busy. That the whole reason I was at the race and not him was because his day was impossibly busy. But I also knew, as I always know, that Mike would come to the rescue – that he would somehow solve the whole situation without making me feel like I’d inconvenienced him.
And he did. (Though I did wander about for a bit after calling him asking for, and failing to find, hangers, etc. – hoping to somehow get the car unlocked before Mike had gathered tools and left on the hour-long drive.) Mike arrived, and, with the help of a hanger, something to wedge the door open a crack, and the friendly traffic director . . . got the door open, moved Abe’s car, moved our truck, and found his way to me with my camera just in time for me to catch Abe on the very final stretch of his race and at the finish line . . . covered in dirt. (So much dirt! Every kid in that race looked like they’d crashed in a pile of dirt and dust.)
It’s such a fun atmosphere at those races! It’s always somewhere beautiful. Fall weather setting in. People blowing horns and ringing cowbells as packs of racers go by. And walking through weeds and dirt and over rocks to try and get to another clearing where you might see your racer go by.
And . . . Mike did get to work a little on the van brakes . . . though perhaps not quite as early in the day as he might have wished. . . . (And, naturally, Jesse was with him. I’d tried to put him to bed, but it was just too too terrible to be borne. It’s fun having a little soul so insatiably curious and deeply interested in most anything we are ever trying to figure out. And that Mike. He’s a keeper too.)