If I ever happen to break my back as a result of, say, crashing my swiftly moving bicycle into a car that has pulled out in front of me because I was holding a Slurpee in one hand and couldn’t hit the brakes in time, I would a) trade the bike for some mall-walking shoes and b) never drink a Slurpee again.
But, as you probably know of assume already, Danny Parks is awesomer than me. Whereas my Slurpee-induced injury was only hypothetical (though I did get a pretty ugly brain freeze once), the 14-year-old Janmar resident actually did break his back last year following a training ride at White Rock Lake while enjoying 7-Eleven’s deliciously corn-syrupy frozen treat. But did he trash his bike and avoid swear off frozen beverages for all eternity, forever and ever? To the contrary. He rides more than ever–about 300 miles each week–while mainlining pina colada Slurpee, although I made that second part up.
If you happened to catch a glance at our paper’s July 9 cover, you no doubt saw the spandex-clad Parks with his bike and know that he is one of the top couple of cyclists in his age range in the country (this according to his coach). At the end of June, he placed first, second, and third at the U.S.A. Cycling Junior Road Nationals in Oregon, the feat that prompted Friday’s article. This past weekend at the U.S. A. Cycling Junior Track Nationals (USACJTN for short), Parks won gold in the points race, two fourth place finishes (one of them for overall performance, anbd a fifth and sixth place finish. Though less impressive than if he had done it with a Slurpee in each hand, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. As his mother wrote in her e-mail to me apprising me of the results, “Not bad for a kid that has been on a track 5 times before last week!”