Last Saturday Matt TXP and I headed up to Isanti for the ABA BMX Land O' Lakes Nationals. Our boy Lance White (aka L-Roc, aka Lance Rock-a-hara, aka L-Train, aka Drunk Ninja) was racing. I was super excited not just to see him race but to just see my friend. It had been a while.
I've known Lance for well over a decade now and the guy remains one of the raddest dudes I know. Actually now that I think of it, I remember the first time I met Lance. We were sitting around a kitchen table, playing drinking games at a party somewhere outside of Bemidji, MN-probably '92 or '93. The little fucker asks me if he can kiss my girlfriend. I'm not sure, but I do believe he may have been trying to rile me up. That bastard. Anyway, I did not let him kiss my girlfriend and it's foggy as to how the rest of the night went but I think that was pretty much the last I saw of him until we started working together at T.Juans. If I remember correctly, he was on work release from jail, working the afternoons. We'd let him off early so he could enjoy some of the rest of the day before heading back to the clink. (Man, I hope he doesn't get mad at me for airing all this shit.) Eventually we grew to be great friends and even lived together for a summer. Lance was always my go-to-guy when it came to raising a little hell. There are many stories coming to mind right now, but none that I can go into on here. The thing I have always liked about L-roc is his youthful defiance of all things age-related. Don't get me wrong; the guy is a dad and a husband and he takes care of that. I'm just saying he knows how to have a good time...a really good time. He was (and probably still is) always down for some late-night skateboarding, mischief, shenanigans, whathaveyou. Come to think of it, Lance is actually the guy who taught me how to snowboard in the ditches up by Wilton and Walker and then later on Buena Vista Ski Hill. One of the days we were at Buena, he got kicked off the hill for doing a front flip-which were banned at the time. It didn't matter much though, seeing as how we were poaching that day anyway. He blew all the little kids mind with that one flip and that's all that mattered to him. (Lance was also along on my first ever moutain trip, to Mt. Baker, WA.) Another front flip I've seen Lance pull was his now infamous tree dive, one night out in Minnetonka, that landed him in the hospital. Okay, I'm getting carried away here. I could go on for hours...literally.
Anyway, Matt and I rolled into Isanti with no idea where the track was. We asked the first two kids we saw on BMX bikes and sure enough they knew. "Follow us dudes, were going there." Unfortunately we missed Lance's first two races. When we found him-sans a shirt, as expected-and his wonderful wife Trudy and their dog (who's name escapes me) it was all smiles. A quick look at Lance's set-up and then they took us on a little tour...
I was impressed by the sheer amount of kids-all ages-racing BMX. Tons of female riders too. I must admit I had no idea how big this scene was.
Lance races in the Boys-age 36-40 cruiser class. That's right, BMX doesn't make you a man; it helps you stay a boy! Nothing wrong with that.
There is an overwhelming amount of parental support for these kids and luckily we were only witness to a couple cases of overbearing dad syndrome. It's pretty cool walking around. You are literally dodging people on bikes the entire time.
The Man (and the dog.)
This kid was shaving his head for charity to help pay for Alyssa Martin's medical bills. They also were selling cool "Rider Down" shirts for the cause, but they were all gone by the time we tried to buy one.
The Rum River track was really impressive. They even had a skate park area.
I believe this kid was only like 4 years old!
This one was acting like a 4 year old...
This is "the Animal." He got disqualified in the race Lance was in for crossing into another riders lane or something. He was not happy about it-telling anyone that would listen and screaming at the top of his lungs at one of the judges. Needless to say, he wasn't setting a very good example for all the younger riders and was perhaps using some inappropriate language. Anyway, I'm not exactly sure where Lance placed in the race. He had some difficulties with his pedal and maybe went down on the first turn? We couldn't see that part of the race from our vantage point. It was awesome to see him race none-the-less. Unfortunately Lance is too fast on his bike for me to get any solid pics.
After the races were all finished up, Trudy cut her man loose and we went on the search for some beverages. Lance was like "We wanna go to some out of town bar, where there are bikers and shit, right?" Of course. We ended up at the Isanti VFW instead. Close enough. Lot's of laughs, catching up with each other and storytelling.
After several pitchers and a round of Jag shots, we headed out back for some clowning around on the retired anti-air craft tank.
"Got a hot one coming in!"
Grown ass men, acting like children. Yeah, not much has changed. Lance had family commitments awaiting and we had to hit the road so we headed back to the tracks, where we watched the kids skating and riding the park. We each picked out our favorites and imagined what our childhood would have been like, had we had a skate park near us. A round of hugs, and Matt and I were off, back to the city.
We stopped at a gas station, where Matt suggested we each try one of the new Mountain Dews. He had the "Voltage" and I had the "Revolution." Both were horrible. We waited it out in the parking lot for a minute as a carload of teenage girls next to us were making it no secret that they were rolling a blunt. We agreed that "at least they're not smoking meth." They never offered us any. Lance called us as we were on our way home to make sure we were doing all right and tell us how much he appreciated seeing us. That was awesome.
Finished up the day with dinner and beers at Khans, as Amy and Lora were both working. I hadn't eaten at Khans in probably 3 years. Still just the way I remember it.
I've thought a lot about Lance in the last couple days. A dedicated family man, who at 38 years old, is only in his second year of racing. Keeping life rad.
Still one of the raddest dudes I know.