The hardest part of any awards ceremony is picking winners. A lot of time it is pretty squishy because the world famous South Bay Cycling Awards doesn’t exactly have a precise procedure, scoring system, nomination system, selection system, and etc. Still, every year we mostly manage to come up with winners who deserve what they’ve won.
This year the woman who won Best Young Rider was Zoe Ta Perez. She won the national time trial title this year and is a powerful force on the local racing scene, to put it mildly.
When I called her dad to tell him about the award and see if she would be able to accept it in person at the awards ceremony he said, “I don’t think so. She’s in Germany at the moment.”
“Okay,” I said, “no worries. We will drop it off the following week. What’s she doing in Germany?”
“She’s racing the madison at junior track worlds at the Frankfurt track.”
“Wow,” I said. “I hope she wins!”
On the day of the award ceremony, someone came up to me, breathless. “Did you hear about Zoe?” he said.
“No? What happened?”
“She won the world title in the madison with Megan Jastrab.”
In other words, what I’m trying to say, is that, you know, well, picking this young world champion for our Best Young Rider award kind of, you know, NAILED IT.
On Wednesday Ken Vinson and I drove over to drop off the trophy. We had her trophy and swag bag and were pretty pleased to have the chance to present her with her award.
She had been expecting us and met us at the door. “Here’s your trophy,” I said, reaching into the bag and pulling it out with a flourish. She beamed and I handed it to her.
That’s about the time that we both studied the plate glued to the base of the trophy, which said “BEST MALE RACER: JUSTIN WILLIAMS.”
“Um, uh,” I stuttered, but she didn’t.
“No problem! Don’t worry about it.”
“I must have grabbed the wrong, uh, you know, gosh, gee …” I looked frantically around for the STUPID and MORON signs that usually dangle off of my chin. “We’ll get it to you,” I said. “So sorry …”
She was so kind and understanding, and after a couple of seconds, so was I because Zoe probably doesn’t have much space left in her trophy case anyway, and if she does, it may well be reserved for the world road title she’ll be hunting down a couple of weeks hence in Yorkshire, England.
Ken and I gave her the swag bag, took a couple of pics, and left. The award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving #winner. I do need to work on the presentation, though …