The Kids Take Over

by Jodi

Every June for the past six years a big portion of my extended family has converged on Sunriver, a resort town in Central Oregon.  We gather to connect as a family and to participate in Pacific Crest, a weekend sports festival with race options for people of all ages and fitness levels.

When we started this tradition, our youngest (Paige) was a baby in a stroller and our oldest was only six years old.  The big event for the kids was the Splash, Pedal, and Dash - a mini triathlon geared to get even the tiniest kids excited about racing.  Pint-sized racers get official race packets that include bib numbers with timing chips, correlating stickers for their bike helmets and bikes, and finisher's T-shirts and medals.  In the past two years, they even started body marking the kids - just like the adult athletes.
The first year they all were old enough to race

It really is an endearing mass of organized chaos.  Nervous parents herd tired, hot, and confused little racers through crowded transition areas to park and pick up bikes.  Race routes lined with well-trained volunteers keep the kids on the right path and tell them to slow down around corners.  Kids finish under a big arch where an announcer calls out their name.  Proud parents and grandparents cry and snap pictures.  What's not to love?

We've watched our kids and their cousins grow up and out of this event.  The only one of our kids who still participates in the Splash, Pedal and Dash is Paige.  The first year Paige "raced" she could hardly get the pedals around on her tiny bike, so she sat on the bike and smiled and waved to everyone while I pushed her for entire mile.  This year she raced the event with three of her younger cousins.  Being the Big Girl was a new experience for her and she rode her two-wheeler by herself, including down the hills and around the corners.  Way to go Paigey!
Paige with her younger cousins

Our older kids all decided to run the 5k this year.  The morning of the race, Grant (11 years), Katie (9 years), Alli (8 years), and their cousin Sydney (11 years) lined up at the start with Aunt Sonja and I serving as unofficial chaperones.  Grant ran by himself and finished at a 10:13 pace.  Alli ran the entire race with Sonja and finished at a 10:24 pace.  Katie ran the first part of the race with me, the middle part with Sonja, and the last part on her own.  A natural runner, she wanted to kick it the last mile and try to catch Grant.  Katie finished in an all out sprint, nearly catching Grant in the last seconds.  Sydney and I ran the last two miles together.  We weren't incredibly fast, but we had fun bonding and I loved helping her accomplish a big goal.  Nice job kiddos!
5k Racers

My favorite part of the weekend was watching my older two nieces and my brother relay an Olympic-distance duathlon.  Shane and his girls trained hard for this event.  On race day, Kayla (14 years) would need to bike 28 miles.  Maggie (13 years) would need to run a 10k.  That's a big undertaking for such young athletes, but we all knew they could do it.

The house was a blur of activity on race morning.  Kayla and Shane left to head up to the mountain lake where the race started.  Maggie came with us to cheer her cousins and sister on at the 5k.  When the kids were done with the 5k, we waited for word that Kayla was closing in on the end of her portion of the race.  When we got the text that Kayla was five miles out, we made a mad dash for the transition area.

Our family spread out along the Bike In entrance to the transition area.  Curt spotted Kayla first and yelled up the line, "Here she comes!"  We all started screaming and ringing cowbells.  When I saw the proud smile that consumed her pretty face, I started bawling.  My big brother was right behind her, even prouder than Kayla was.  I'm certain I saw a few tears on his face too.  It was really special.
Shane and Kayla coming in on the bike

While Kayla, Shane, and Maggie were making the tag and transitioning to the run portion, our group ran across the field to the Run Out area and waited for Shane and Maggie to emerge.  Finally they came running through, Maggie with a huge smile of excitement on her face and Shane right on her heels.  She looked so tiny compared to all the other adult racers and I wondered how she'd do running 6.2 miles.
Maggie and Shane running out with cousins cheering in the background

Shane and Maggie ran and we herded our crew to the finish line.  Once there, we set up camp much like we did at the transition area.  When Curt spotted them, he yelled up the line, "They're coming!"  Maggie came flying through the finish.  Like her big sister, her proud smile consumed her face and I was reduced to tears again.  What a huge accomplishment!  Shane, Maggie and Kayla posed for pictures with their medals after the race.  It's obvious from the look of satisfaction on their faces that it was worth every bit of effort they put into their training.
Olympic-distance duathlon relay team

Pacific Crest in the past has been centered around the events the adults were racing, but this year the scales tipped in favor of the kids.  The kids took over and it was awesome to see their skills emerge.  I can only imagine what stories we'll be telling about this event and their accomplishments as the years progress.  Way to go kiddos!


  1. So AWESOME!!!!! Way to go family team work! What a great way to spend time together as a family. Love how you all support each other. I can't wait to have some kiddos to do this with. Thank you for sharing Jodi!

  2. Amy - it will be great to watch your family grow. I'm enjoying getting to know you! Have a great day.

  3. What a fun event! I can't imagine pushing my son on a bike for a MILE. I would be totally hunched over. haha. Boy are you a dedicated mom! :D

    I love how this set them all up to feel the joy of accomplishment.

  4. Thanks Raina. I was a bit sore from hunching over. And the next year, she tipped over and was about to fall, so I caught her (and the bike) as she was falling. The pedal gashed my leg and I still have a huge scar from it. The things we do for our kids.