BOISE, Idaho — Crowds showed up for the 33rd annual Twilight Criterium cycling race in downtown Boise for all sorts of reasons-- but some had a more personal connection than others.
One local dad and daughter duo cheered on the matriarch of their family, who was competing in the amateur women’s race. Boise cyclist Christine Edwards shows us it’s never too late to race for your dreams.
“Most of these girls out here are twenty, or ya know, maybe thirty years old, and she’s 54 years old and she can hang with them," said Reggie Edwards, husband to Christine who was a cyclist in the race. "In this group even younger! There’s some high school girls," added Ashleigh Bettis, Christine's daughter.
“My wife put her life on hold to raise her kids, ya know? And about nine or so years ago, it was, 'Hey you know what, we need to get you a bike, get you going!'" said Edwards.
Bettis says she helped her mom find her passion for cycling by taking her to an exercise cycling class.
"It's neat to see her find her passion. Cause she was always, ya know, she was always, 'Mom,' taking care of us and doing everything. And to see her just fall in love with something and be good at it-- Ijust had wished she could have found it sooner. But I'm glad she found it now," said Bettis.
Christine was in the lead for several laps during the race.
“Boy you put her on a bicycle, she’s just a powerhouse!" said Edwards. "We come here every year and sit in the same spot.”
Ultimately first prize in the amateur women’s division went to a 15-year-old Idahoan. That, however, didn't stop their family from enjoying the community-oriented event.
“My three year old got to do the kids ride. Which was really cool with Kristen Armstrong," said Bettis. "He’s three weeks old (gestures to her other child). He’s a trooper. He’s chillin.' So he’ll grow up watching grandma ride. So maybe he’ll ride too!"
Edwards says he loves coming to watch his wife do what she loves.
"I support her and help her and, and, divvy all the races, and so, as you can see, it’s just really fun to see her compete and do well!" said Edwards.
The Twilight Criterium also featured a brand new event this year! The Challenged Athletes Foundation brought their women's hand cycling team to Boise to race in this year's event.
"The Challenged Athletes Foundation female team is the only one in the world," said coach Carlos Moleda. "We think the female population is really under represented in sports overall and when you talk about disabled sports it is even less than that."
The team features women who range from ages 16-48.
It wasn't just adults getting in on the action, Treasure Valley children got to hop on two wheels today too!
Children joined Boise-native and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Kristin Armstrong, for the annual kid's ride. Armstrong is well known for her efforts to give back to the local community, and for encouraging kids to live healthy, active lifestyles. Before the race, she met one-on-one with children for pictures and autographs.
The Boise Bicycle Project was on hand making sure everyone was ready to ride. Kids as young as three could ride, as long as they had a helmet.