Monday, October 8, 2012

of Pulling Teeth, and Watching Them Grow

Well fair readers, I don't know how many of you will have any common ground to this post but then again, maybe you will, it is a post about struggles after all and that is at the essence of successful Randonneuring. Often times I feel like I fall into a small niche. Someone who would love to be a serious Randonneur or a fast cyclist but often finds his responsibilities as a father interfering with training and his ability to ride with others. My number of Brevets I can run have dropped and my number of rides with the kids has risen. Interestingly enough, the challenges remain although they differ in many ways.

Today's kids and tomorrows Randonneurs face a lot of challenges. They live in a world determined to make them Obese and as inactive as possible. Everything cool is aimed at keeping them firmly in their chair and out of the elements or anything active. Part of this is television/ipods/video games and part of it is perceived safety issues and part of it is real safety issues (let's face it, drivers aren't getting any smarter or safer). Add to this multiple school schedules seemingly designed to make it impossible to get a morning ride in and you have setup a number of challenges which could make an otherwise difficult task nearly impossible.

These are the demons I have fought the last 3 months or so. Want to see something scary? Try and get 4 sleepy kids out of bed before daylight so you can get a measly 5 mile ride in before the bus arrives to pick 2 of them up just before 7 am. The 2 that wouldn't otherwise have to wake up that early can be pretty vocal about fairness and how it should allow them to stay out of the whole affair. Many comments ensue about the unfair tyrant of a Dad who tries to prepare his kids so when the day comes for the ride he signed them up for they will not fail to complete the ride in under the 5 hours allotted for 49 miles. Frustration peaks many times after pumping up 10 tires and discovering how quickly the awakened have fallen to recidivism as the clock ticks and the zero hour speedily approaches, as well as any chance for a suitable workout.

I have to say, that training others I have endured more and harder challenges than trying to train myself. I can push myself to the brink without second guessing myself. If I fail to make a workout there is no one to blame but myself and the resentment is processed effectively without fear of damage to relationships or tender feelings. This is not true for trying to help another accomplish great things. One must coach at their pace and mental competence. I have developed a large capacity to suffer and work hard on the bike over the years and often it is difficult to work with kids that have many years ahead of them to learn these lessons and gain this kind of self control. Then there is the self doubt, have I pushed too hard? Have I not pushed hard enough? I fear the former more than the latter and probably err on that side.

Saturday is the ride (Cochise Country Cycling Classic 49 mile). This year it is 49 miles and after all the miles of training we opted to put my youngest on the back of the tandem, the plan is to let her still ride her own bike at El Tour though (42 miles). To be sure, I feel her contribution a lot more after all this training than in the past when she did all her training on the tandem with me as opposed to riding her own bike, Saturday was her first tandem training ride and we only did that as I wanted to iron out any tandem issues that might arise. I believe they will all finish under 5 hours. I believe that it will be a good day too. The boys are a lot more stable mentally this year, not to mention they ride faster as well. How much of that is riding with the Two Wheel Jones Juniors and how much of that is we have ridden more I don’t know but I think it’s a healthy mix of both. Maybe someday they will ask me to do the 165. A man can dream can’t he?

This year also marks the first organized ride my oldest has ridden in all on her own power. I finally got over feeling bad about neglecting taking her out on the bike for a few years while I tried to be a good rider. My wife told me that whether she wants to ride or not at this point I should just make her go as she needs it. So sign her up and make her go I did. She has been vocal at times, but as of late, she has been almost supportive and agreeable. Strange behavior this is, coming from a teenager. She even had several likes when she posted we had done a 35 mile ride on facebook. Maybe I’m not so overbearing after all, or maybe the bearing I am doing is good bearing.

Anyway, I’m excited to be taking the kids down to Cochise this week and ride bike patrol in support of them and any other riders in need. The day will come I am sure when they are off leading their own lives and I will have all the time in the world to train and try to be the best rider I can. Maybe even get to Paris one of these years to ride the Randonneur Super Bowl de France. They will always have these memories of riding with their Dad and how he would push them to accomplish things none of their friends did, and work with them and teach them not to take the easy way out but rather to strive and push and finish the ride and do their best to have fun come what may.

1 comment:

Steve Atkins said...

Paul they will never forget your commitment to them and the sport!

Good luck this weekend!