Sunday, June 15, 2008

One Father's Father's Day

I was not going to post today. It's Father's Day. And since I am a father, I figured I could do anything I wanted. When I woke up, I decided I wanted no part of the blog today. All I wanted to do was go for a ride in the rain in the woods with some other Fathers who were doing what they wanted. It was our day and by God, if we wanted to exercise our stupidity to the max, then this day we could do it without guilt or regret.

It seems the manly bravado of yesterday's conversation at the bike shop melted away when some of the dads woke up this AM and buckets of water instead of rain were being dumped on southern Maine. Dave in particular was conspicuous by his absence. He was one of the loudest voices who chimed in agreement when I said, "Rain or shine dudes, we ride no matter what!" "

"Yeah dude! Alright! In town Loop! Burnt Car Loop! We're gonna ride it all!" Mutual chest thumping comments, all with jive ass macho emphasis that insinuates manly behaviour but often falls way short of the promise.

I head to the shop around 7:45 AM. On the way I keep having to bump up the hesitation switch of the wipers from casual to full bore. With each bump, I consider what breaking my word might mean. After all, I have bailed on rides before. No big deal. But I kept going. If for no other reason, the prospect of sitting around on a Sunday inside was even more depressing than the thought of a wet cold summer rain ride in Maine.

As I pull into the lot, -Jim of Jim-Jim is pedaling circles in front of the shop. He's already soaked to the bone, but he throws me a big smile like he was cheering me for even showing up. I parked and unloaded my riding gear. In the shop, I threw my bike on the stand to check it over before the ride. Normally I would not have done this, but the rain made me look for any excuse to not go out in it. Performing a bike check is a time honored way to do this. I look to be serious about riding. I am checking my bike. But with each cable checked, each tire checked and pivot bolts checked, I am successfully putting off the inevitable. -Jim of Jim-Jim just stood around dripping wet and grinned. He was getting used to my delaying ways.

Then Jim of Jim-Jim showed up. Shit! Looks like we ride. But Jim of Jim-Jim is in no hurry either. He goes into bike check mode also. He even says out loud, "I'm in no hurry to ride guys. It's wet out there."

He has spoken that which usually remains unspoken. He has stated what is on the minds of all present. It's raining. It's 48'F or so. And let's not rush into this.

Keith shows up and we all know we are going to have fulfill the bragging promises we made to ourselves yesterday. I change my clothes and pull on my helmet and gloves. Not being sure what might work and what might not, I put on everything. I will regret this later.

Four of us went on that ride in the rain in the woods. While it was an abbreviated version of what we promised yesterday, we still rode. The rain stopped while we were out and the temperature went up. 20 minutes into it, I was stripping off clothes I thought I would need. Everything was slicker than snot on a door knob. We skidded and squirted our way through mud, over greasy logs and took minor diggers when we overwhelmed our balance points. The pace was slower, but the challenge was tougher. And we all enjoyed it like we did when we were kids. I think that's what I look for in the things I do. That child like pleasure we all remember but have trouble finding again as we get older.

Some lessons or rules of thumb have to be constantly reinforced to keep their memories fresh. Again I found that every time I think I am going to regret riding in the rain, I usually end up having a blast. I forget about the wet cold clothes. I forget about the wet soggy socks settled in a bunch around my mud coated ankles. I forget that I did not want to do this. And I remember that almost always it is better to go ahead and ride than not to.

Happy Father's day guys. Hope yours was as fun filled as mine ended up being.


Noah said...

I have never once actually regretted any ride I've gone on, ever.

I've very often regretted not riding when I decided not to.

And dude, you bike is gonna need some serious TLC after that.

I am not a dad yet, but I spent my time today mixing and matching parts among my three trashed bikes making one that will hopefully work well for the next month while I save up to get the other two working the way I want them to. Then I, too, rode in the rain. But on pavement. And with fenders.

GJG said...

oooh yeah that, "how the hell did I get myself into this?", feeling, and wanting out of it, but not wanting to admit it outloud, and being out of control, and at the mercy of on going events-----and yeahh, that feeling when its finally over----very nicely phrased and described, good post.

Wendy said...

Sounds like you had a great ride despite the rain! Good for you for sticking to your promise.

That is what I call a Real Man Ride!!

Missy's Blog said...

I agree with Wendy ... good for you for going!

After reading your post I just smiled. It made me think about trying to hurry with my 3-year-old son Griffin when it's raining and trying to avoid getting too wet. Then I think, what the heck ... we'll dry and he and I can enjoy this little bit of fun provided by mother nature. I'll definately have to remember that next time when I think I'm too busy to get a little bit wet from the rain.

Apertome said...

Sounds like an incredible ride! Sometimes the rides in the most questionable conditions end up being the most memorable.

"Jim" and "-Jim" of Jim-Jim just cracked me up.

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

What an awesome ride, I can just imagine it!

We live in southern CA (coastal bone dry desert) but oh, I remember going for mountain bike rides in the mud of New England. There's something about coming home from a good ride covered in mud that makes it THAT much more enjoyable. (And an immediate shower that much more necessary.)