Claremonters past and present compete in L’Etape
Thirty-six years ago, a builder named Crowder built a small neighborhood of homes in North Claremont. They were and still are of average construction and are , by most accounts, unremarkable. However, the children who moved into this neighborhood in 1976 formed something very remarkable.
This past Saturday, 2 friends whose bond has weathered many trials returned to Claremont to tackle what is being called the toughest 100-mile bike race in the country. The fact that Shane Rogers, an amateur cyclist, was able to complete stage 7 of L’Etape du California in 6 hours and land in 51st place out of 1000 riders might seem like the most remarkable piece. And I assure, you it was amazing to watch. Riding support on a motorcycle gave me a front-row seat to Shane’s accomplishment.
The 200 miles on the motorcycle along that 100-mile route—which included 2 trips along a crowded Glendora Ridge Road handing water and food to Shane so he didn’t have to stop peddling—may seem remarkable to some. It was a riding feat that I am proud of, almost equal to the way 2 Claremont boys of 34 years ago came to be here in the first place.
The homebuilder Crowder named one of the streets Woodstock Court, most likely as a shameless pandering to 1970s hippie parents hoping to prolong adolescence. The 8 families and 22 children that moved into this Claremont neighborhood were not particularly “hippie” but have a remarkable bond that is something akin to what those “children of love” were seeking.
Bill Cosby once said, “The essence of childhood, of course, is play, which my friends and I did endlessly on streets that we reluctantly shared with traffic.” That essence has allowed the kids to return as adults to the love, security, camaraderie and confidence that Woodstock Court provided.
Shane rode his race and I supported him. The evening that followed was attended by 3 of the neighborhood girls, who are now beautiful, strong women. And the following day spent wandering through the Village, we all realized that we had shared wonderful times playing in the street all those years ago. As adults, we are now aware of the hidden imperfections that lived behind each neighbor’s front door.
We realized that our childhood home, that place where our heart is, is actually with one another on that funny little street in that unremarkable Claremont neighborhood.
As I sit in Ontario International Airport on this Sunday evening to make my way back to Colorado, I am reminded me of the Saturdays and Sundays of my childhood in Claremont—days filled with so much fun, adventure and joy that by the end, I’d slump onto my arm at the dinner table, too tired to finish my meal but so completely fulfilled that my parents let it slide.
The fun, adventure and joy that we shared as kids was brought back to us this weekend. What we rediscovered in one another has undoubtedly made us better parents, and better men and women. Those days of playing in the streets of Claremont will keep us tied in a truly remarkable bond of friendship.
To the children of Woodstock Court—and to Claremont—I love you all and thank you for that bond.
K. John Wood
Woodstock Court, Claremont (1976-1990)
[Editor’s note: Locals may remember Mr. Wood’s mother, Helen, who in the 1990s sold display advertising for the COURIER. She and her husband Ken are happily living in San Marcos in north county San Diego, and still make regular visits back to Claremont. We would be remiss to not include the names and times of L’Etape competitors who currently call Claremont home. They are listed below. Congratulations, cyclists. —KD]
Christopher Hynes 6:16
Michael Kim 7:04
Kurt Rothweiler 7:16
Dan Domonoske 7:42
Leo Bister 7:48
Thomas Shelly 7:58
Joel Cinnamon 8:09
Kevin Zitar 8:22
Scott Banks 8:48
Michael Willard 9:17
Stephen Yarbrough 9:28
David Tannenbaum 9:51
James Belna 9:54
KOM #1 finishers:
Jeff Bruening 1:34
Tommy Oei 1:34
Mark Beckett 2:02