Going Around In Circles

It was a languid evening at the Kissena Velodrome:

Between the heat and the fact that it was just after Junior Nationals, turnout for this week’s Twilight Racing Series was modest, though there were some Cat 4s and Novice adults, a smattering of higher-category riders, and a number of kids who stayed to race after the late afternoon Star Track session:

My older son was one of those Star Track kids, though he was racing in the Men’s Novice field, not the one pictured above. As for my younger son, he and I were dug in for an evening’s spectating:

After the Star Track session, and just before the Twilight race began, I had the brilliant idea of picking up dinner. So my younger son and I headed to a nearby pizzeria. As a result, we missed the beginning of the evening’s omnium–during which my son had a crash.

Does it make me a bad parent that I wasn’t there when it happened, or does it make me a great parent that I was getting him a meatball parmesan hero when it did? I’d like to believe it’s the latter, since had I been there the crash would have happened anyway, whereas if I hadn’t gone to get dinner there’d have been no meatball parmesan hero waiting for him afterwards. But I realize that may be pushing it, and that the best I’m likely to get away with is that maybe they cancel each other out. Indeed, the prosecution could certainly argue I’m a bad parent for involving him in bike racing at all.

Fortunately, unlike the mountain bike race crash that involved a trip to the ER and then a follow-up doctor visit that revealed a fractured shoulder, this one was mostly just a case of road rash to both body and bike:

Following post-crash treatment protocol, I bandaged his wounds in fresh handlebar tape, and re-wrapped the bars in Tegaderm:

Also unlike the mountain bike crash, in which he took an ill-timed drink and paid the price, this crash was entirely due to a mistake on somebody else’s part, not his. (As it was explained to me by a coach, that is. I was busy attending to the hero order, as we’ve established.)

Alas, between the crash and the bandages and the packing up of the campsite and all the rest of it, we managed to forget his bag–something I should have had the presence of mind to remind him of in this case, given that he had both fresh wounds and a delicious sandwich to contend with. Not only that, but the bag contained his phone, and by the time we realized we’d forgotten it we were nearly home. (In retrospect I can’t believe it took him so long to notice, as that’s the longest he’s gone without looking at a phone in years.)

It was still light out, the race was likely still going on, and “Find My Phone” showed the phone still at the track. Unfortunately I had no way of reaching anybody at the race because I have no friends, so I dropped the kids off at home and immediately headed back to the velodrome, hoping it would still be there when I arrived, or that someone had turned it over to the organizers. But by the time I got there the phone’s location had shifted about ten blocks west of the track, the racers had gone, and the organizers who were still there had not seen it.

Calling and pinging the phone elicited no response, and so I went after it, attempting to zero in on its location and knocking on doors in the vicinity of its icon like a deranged canvasser. I imagined a happy ending in which someone had found the bag and marveled at both my temerity and the digital serendipity that is life in the 21st century, but this did not happen, and anybody who did answer the door to me had no idea what I was talking about. And so I gave up, standing forlorn in the middle of Queens:

The phone’s gone, and yet I can still see it on my screen, like one of those distant stars that’s long since burned out.

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