So the best part of my 2 weeks in K-bec was meeting these 2 little rippers – Marine and Ariane Lewis. I spotted them decked out in full KONA gear on matching Kula Supreme hardtails so I rode by and gave them a big thumbs up and yelled something at them to acknowledge their KONA loyalty. Jerseys, gloves, sox, stickers, they had it all. Nothing is cooler to me than seeing little girls on mountain bikes and if it’s Kona’s they choose all the better. Little did I know that gesture would get me two superfans for life.
I was racing the Nationals course the next day and there they were, the two of them, screaming my name on the steep climb. Cheering for me madly. And after the race they came over looking for my number plate and Kona water bottles to autograph. I chatted with them in my pigeon French for a bit and found out they were racing the “kids race” the next morning.
Well, I called it the “kids race,” but as we watched the call up for the Nationals races the next day I soon realized this was no follow-the-wicknasty-circus-clown “kids race”. Marine and Ariane were the real deal. They were called up 1-2 for leading the provincial series in the Pee Wee category (under 13). And their faces on the start line said it all: they were fierce! I gave them a quick wave but I didn’t want to throw them off their game. My brother and I rode around cheering them on at different sections of the course (I think he was checking out the competition for Hannah). They were flying! Picking off boys every lap and ripping up the downhills. When they heard us calling their names they would go even faster (a la Sneddon). The two sisters were battling back and forth for the first 2 laps. Blood meant nothing when they were racing. It was going to come down to the last lap to see what sister would take it but unfortunately Marine flatted and had to run. She looked pretty upset so we encouraged her to keep running and finish strong. Her sister Ariane pulled into the lead and won the race with a big grin on her face. Marine ran it in and finished in top 10 but on the verge of tears. We found out from her dad that she had been sick that morning but still wanted to race. Tough cat!
We got some photos together because I figure the Lewis sisters will probably be taking over Marie Helene Premont’s spotlight in the future. Kona should keep these 2 on the roster.
The whole Lewis family came back the next week for the World Cup at Mont Saint Ann with custom coloured signs saying "Go Wendy". As much pain as I was in on that steep climb, I HAD to look over and check it out. And the whole family showed up again in the POURING rain in Bromont to cheer me on again. Wow. That is dedication. Unfortunately I didn't put on much of a show for them on that day but they still cheered me on. Thanks guys!