At today's race some kids were at the race with a parent doing a "cheer handup."
My first reaction as I turned the corner on the first lap was "What a bunch of prudes! Holding out a piece of paper? 'Cross is about the BEER handup, or at least a donut or some bacon!"
They were still there on the second lap. "Cheer handup, cheer handup!" As far as I could tell, no one had taken one yet. Not surprising! This is Cat 3; serious racers who are extremely focused.
Third lap they were still there, although most were sitting down, probably as convinced as I was that this was a lame idea.
"What the hell, I'll take one," I thought. Being experienced with the beer handup, whisky handup, and breakfast sandwich handup, I smoothly plucked a piece of paper from the hand of the one kid who was still handing them out. "Yoink!"
Instantly, the kid starts screaming. "He took one! He took one!" The mom calls out "You're a pro!"
Then I realized. This wasn't about me receiving a free 11:15am beer. It was about passing on the thrill and spirit of cyclocross to a grade school kid who will probably not be standing there next week. She'll be warming up for her own race.