A few days ago, Dan Marshall held a Season Wrap/Launch party at Joyride150. The weather had different plans (as it did for each of the 45NRTH Ontario Fat Bike Series) and many people couldn’t make it out. I made it out though. With my kids too!
The evening was a tiny picture of my love of riding and challenges that accompany it. First, I couldn’t make it on time because sometimes it’s just tough to get two kids, three bikes, helmets, gear, snacks, water, and my load of things out the door in time. We made it though. And when we arrived, we went through the normal routine of getting ready to ride. Although first, it was snack time. And “Where are all of the elbow pads?”. Then we started riding, but for some reason it was still snack time. And “Could you please tighten my elbow pads daddy?”
So it’s never smooth getting out for a ride. Whatever. We were riding together.
My kids have such distinct personalities. My daughter brought her first aid kit “Just in case someone needs my help” and my son, who had been bugging me for a while to go to Joyride, just wanted to ride and ride. Pump tracks, the XC Loop, the skinnies, and the jump lines.
My daughter played on the pump tracks, and my son played on the jumplines. He didn’t play on the pump tracks as much as own them. Without being taught, and unprompted by me, he gapped the jumps in the beginner jump. Damn. And in that moment, I think I became one third less cool in his mind. There are two more jumplines that I can do (I don’t do the fourth line–the big boy jumps–at Joyride).
They were content to ride, and wanted me to watch. But I wanted to ride too (stamping my feet) and maybe talk to a few of the other riders (more stamping). Dan wanted to ride some laps, and play in the skinnies. So we rode a bit, talked a bit, and jumped a bit. My daughter needed my attention. My son needed my attention. But I wanted to ride (stamping my feet even harder).
Dan wanted to ride too. At one point, he said “Let’s hit the XC Loop”. So we did. I told my son that I’d see him in a few minutes. When we got to the top of the first climb, I heard a voice from below “Wait for me daddy. Wait up.”
When you’re riding, no matter how much you want to book it, and no matter how sweet the trail is, nothing is better than riding with an 8 year old who wants to be like daddy. True, I just want to ride (stamping my feet a bit less now) but so do my kids.
And that’s the challenge. How can I ride as much as I want to, when there are always obligations. Some obligations enjoyable (my family) and some not-so-enjoyable (the damn laundry…).
And even when my kids aren’t asking me to “wait up”, asking me to watch, or looking for a granola bar, the fact is, they are always riding with me too, literally sitting on each shoulder. But the facts remain: If I’m on the trail, I’m not with them. If I’m with them, I’m not on the trail.
So I’m going to ride when I can, and play with my kids when I can. Race results are an important part of the Team Colin experience, but not the only part. I haven’t yet figured out how to balance it all. Not yet. But I’m working on it.
Plus, I don’t know how long it’ll be before I’m at the bottom of a climb, calling to my kids “Wait up…” but I’m going to enjoy the ride until I get there, and when the time comes, I’ll just figure out how to gap it.