sometimes you have to stop and smell the chamois butter

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who would you get into cycling

     Now that guiding season is over and winter has officially set in, it's time to start writing again.  I'm sure I could conjure up a whole boatload of reasons why I don't blog during my busy season, but excuses can be applied to the same old adage as opinions.  Opinions are like assholes - everyone has them and they all stink.
     Lately I have been spending my free time (when not riding of course) devouring magazines, blogs and whatever other literature I can find on cycling.  I like having time to read because the more I read the more inspired I am to write.
     This morning I was pouring through my normal list of bookmarked pages and came across a post from Patrick over at Red Kite Prayer.  He posed the question - If you could bring anyone into the sport, who would it be?
     While a majority of the comments were targeted as the "significant other" would be the obvious choice, I have learned over the years that you can share your passion for something with someone, but that doesn't mean they will embrace it as you do.  I have offered the experience of cycling to virtually every relationship I have had, but never pushed the issue.  If they embraced it, wonderful.  If not, life will go on.
     In all honesty, the thought of trying to persuade Lisa (my amazing other half) to become a cyclist never even crossed my mind.  She enjoys pedaling, but rock climbing is her passion.  And we are both alright with that.  We both dabble in each others sports, but realize where our passions lie.
     That being said, the obvious answer to the question was -  my Dad.  Unfortunately it would require a time machine to make this happen at this point.   He is still alive and kicking, but is in his eighties now.   As bad as I hate to say it, it's a little late in the game for him to take up cycling.  I know he can ride a bike, but for as long as I can remember, I can't recollect ever seeing him ride.
     I found that I was oddly affected by my immediate reaction to this question.  Emotions welled up inside as I thought back to the time my Dad and I spent together in my youth.  I played both baseball and football like most red-blooded American boys were supposed to do back then.  At the time I loved baseball and had the luxury of my Dad being one of the coaches.  We spent many hours together not only at practice and games, but also in the backyard; practicing throwing, fielding and hitting.  I knew that this was something special we shared, even as a kid, as I can remember the day he spent a hundred bucks on a glove for me at Pee Dee Sporting Goods.  Don't tell your Mom how much this was he told me.  It was our little secret and being the 70's a hundred dollars was a lot of money.  Money I knew our family really didn't have.   I kept my mouth shut and cherished that glove more than anything I owned.  I wish I still had it.
     These days I could give a flying crap about baseball or football.  My world revolves around the bicycle.  I'm not sure if Dad understands my love for the sport, but I know for sure that he believes in everything that I do and stands behind me one hundred percent.  That's what makes me wish I could take him along on my rides.  To share the experiences that define me,  places I've been and relationships that have been forged from my perch on the saddle.
     When I wrote my response on Red Kite Prayer tears began to fill my eyes.  Writing this piece also gives me the same emotional response.  I'm not really sure why.  Maybe it's because I feel like it's something my Dad and I are missing out on or the fact that two thousand miles separate us these days.  I don't really have an answer other than my Dad is an amazing individual who has made a huge impact on my life, even though we don't share a love for cycling.