Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting old, having kids, and riding

If you have been riding long enough you'll notice a pattern.  As people have kids or get a new job things change; bellies may grow, they're gone more, or disappear all together.  I disappeared some when out of college and got me a "real job".  My belly grew dramatically, riding seemed not very important, and I thought being successful meant working hard to eventually earn the big bucks.  Finally the stress caught up, I found a way out, and I went on to drop a bunch of lb's, get faster, but most importantly enjoy life more.  Then the wife went and got herself knocked up.

I had seen the pattern.  I knew that history had taught me that life in the drive thru lane was not far away.  Something else can happen though when you have a kid.  Time management becomes much more important.  Getting out for a long ride has a sweeter taste.  It is harder to accomplish, but it is great.  I managed to ride a bunch that first year and had a great season of racing.  Then the wife went and did it again.

Number 2 child has been with us for over a year now.  Last year I was determined to not let our red headed trouble maker cause problems in my hobby.  Then came the month long ordeal of a 6 month old being really, really sick last spring.  That zapped most of my motivation to be a racer boy the rest of the year, only gearing it back up for Arrowhead.  Oh, how I love to ride my fat bike.

So, here we are to 2013, and things are different.  I still want to race, but the mountain bike I plan on is one that will carry a much higher degree of fun and a lower degree of racer boy.  I am working on making this bike a reality and it should be ready here in a month or so.  There will be far less carbon.  It will weigh more.  It will not be raced less.  In fact, it will be fun to toe the line with others on the type of bikes I have been rocking for the last many summers.

As I have grown older I have been able to reflect back.  For instance, I turned 35 last week.  This summer will make it 20 years of me racing a bike, some years more than others.  I race against guys now that were born when I first hit the start line at Millville.  Deathrider, Joe Parkin, Jon Sandberg, Gene Oberpriller, Jeff Hall, Bob Boyd were some of the biggest baddest names in the local scene at that time.  Results were often found out in the mail weeks later, we all waited with baited breath for the new Chi-Chi's poster to tell us where we got to race that summer, things like the 24 Hours of Buck Hill (when it was 3 times the length) had riders running lights with powerful 10 watt bulbs that lasted maybe 90 minutes, WORS was a joke both in size and competition to the MN series, and Mike Reimer took pics of it all. 

Now, my summer will be spent with the highest emphasis on fun.  My bike will be a "fun" bike.  The last few years had me start questioning why I was racing around on a stupid light super high dollar, but ultra fast carbon wonder job.  At some point you reach the point where that stuff seems excessive, and I have passed that point.  No, I have not ruled out carbon, or ever riding a bike like my Superfly 100's from the last several years.  So look for me this year to hopefully avoid the bigger gut, but still sweating it out and all with a bigger smile than normal.  And if I can beat some carbon wonder jobs in the process, all the better.

Oh, and my summer ride will present itself when you are prepared to see my summer ride.


Anonymous said...

The Big Balance! but then the kids get older, and it gets easier. enjoy them and get them involved in your passions.
As far as the bike, soon you'll be riding a rigid singlespeed.

mark scotch said...

As Buff said, enjoy the kiddy years, they only come around once...biking will always be there, believe me.

Charly Tri said...

Oh, I am not "giving up" or anything like that. This was more a self realization post. My 4 1/2 year old daughter has already thrown down in a half dozen bike races. Along with her 1 1/2 year old sister, they will rule the trails soon enough. Single speed rigid? Not if I can help it. Love the kids, will always take priority, but Dad gets fun time as well.