I’ve told this story a bunch of times in the past – but never written it down. It’s a true story and one of my best bike racing stories of all times.
Round about 1980 there was a big race in Wildwood, New Jersey. I was 12 years old and by all accounts, pretty much sucked at bicycle racing. I’ll admit it. Dad drove me all over the state New Jersey and surround territories and I pretty much got shot out the back of the field. Hey, I guess I like the punishment?
Anyway – Wildwood was FUN! IT was on the Boardwalk! You started on the boards, went down a ways, rode down a ramp onto the road, took a left…. down a way, another left, up a ramp (Hill points?) and back down the Boardwalk. My Dad can tell you about getting into the railing on those ramps… he managed to flip himself over and land on his back during his race – but that’s not what this story is about!
So – anyway – back to the midget racing (Yes, they called us midgets, this has nothing to do with little people). Were racing 3 laps. Might have been 3 miles? I dunno. We take off and I am feeling good. I can’t believe it… I’m in the field after one lap! WOW! I made it back onto the boardwalk in the field! THIS WAS GREAT! I was sure I was going to win. I heard the bell ringing and did everything a red-haired freckled kid on a 24″ wheeled bike can do to attack. In my current vocabulary, I unleashed furious anger on the field as we went past the announcer hearing the bell! I WAS GOING SO FREEKING FAST! I dove off the boardwalk and flew into turn two. This was perhaps the best attack of my short bike racing career!
As I hammered down the back straight, Jame and Jonas Carney and the rest of the New Jersey Midget Posey decided it was time to race. They decided to go fast… I was quickly caught and shot out the back of the field.
Now – at the point – people will be saying – “Dude, you got all excited about hearing the announcer call your name?” Well, there was that… but much like any story on the Paul Harvey show – there is more!
Being used to getting last and stuff, I went on about may way doing whatever it is that I did. The Awards Presentation happened. Jame got his gold medal for winning the race and everybody was happy. I don’t recall who got second or third, but I know Jame got first. As they were leaving the podium – I hear something odd…. “Will Scott Patton please report to the podium?” Whoa… whats that about? This is unfamiliar territory for me! Are they going to say how much I suck? I’m scared.
I nervously approached the podium and there was a little old lady standing there. Apparently she was SO impressed with my attack on the bell lap, she wanted to give me a prize for being the most courageous racer in the field! She gave me TEN DOLLARS! I was SO HAPPY! You see, I won MONEY! The guy that won the race got a RIBBON! Jame – who to this day is still a good friend of mine – was FURIOUS! How could they do this to him? HE WON THE BIKE RACE… but I took home the cha-ching! Well, I didn’t…. while my dad was off racing and flying over the railing, I spent it all on candy and stuff on the boardwalk … but on that one hot day in Wildwood – I was the highest paid midget!
I bet you can’t say that, now can you!
And now know you know, the rest of the story!