Journal Entry 081910: Riding together

So I spent a lot of time with my brother last weekend. Carroll lives in Buda, Texas, and we don’t see each other often enough. We talk on the phone once or twice a week, thanks to Carroll’s social nature. I tend to forget we even have telephones until they ring.

Friday, Carroll drove six hours from Buda to Midland, with his bike, picked me up along with my bike, and we both traveled another one-and-a-half hours to Hobbs to join our Dad. We got there just in time for Carroll to tune up Dad’s bike and to eat tuna fish sandwiches with Mom. On Saturday morning the three of us rode together in the 2010 Roll For The Cure 25K race.

As for our team, our combined ages were 178.22 (42.10, 54.15, 81.97), but if they had an award for oldest team we didn’t know about it. My legs were the strongest because I’ve been running on them for so long, but I only started riding distances again this summer after a 15-year layoff. I am still a little unsteady on wheels.

Carroll is the best bike hander. He has been riding since his BMX days back in elementary school. He also loves and follows the sport of cycling better than the rest of us, by a factor 10 or 20.

But of the three of us, Dad had the most miles on his bike and the most time in the saddle, of all three of us. He rides almost every day, and he regularly goes out ten miles or more.

Carroll and I almost ended up racing to the finish line but it didn’t seem prudent to risk crashing in front of all of Dad’s friends. Carroll would’ve won any last-minute sprint, but I might’ve taken him had we started to race a mile back. Dad didn’t seem very interested in racing to the finish line, though, so he wasn’t part of the position jockeying. I guess he has outgrown the need to finish first.

My Dad is happy any time Carroll and I do something together. We had nothing in common during the early years - I was 12-years-old when Carroll was born and I started college the year he started first grade. I grew up with 60s rock-and-roll, Richard Nixon, the Viet Nam War, and wore bell-bottomed Levi’s. Carroll grew up with 80s rock inspired by MTV, Ronald Reagan, and wore zippered parachute pants and Vans. We both played in our high school pep band, called Taskervitch (named after Hobbs High School’s famous basketball coach), in our respective eras.

Through the years the only thing we had in common was music. I played trombone and loved music, Carroll played drums and loved music. I have always been a utility player, able to handle my parts but never a soloist. Carroll has always been a percussion prodigy, and he is the finest drummer I’ve ever played with. I’ve been playing trombone as a sideline since I was in Junior High, and Carroll has been earning money playing drums since he was a teenager.

We really found each other as friends in our adult years while raising families and trying out various careers. Carroll works at Performance Bikes in Austin and he has sucked us all into his cycling world. He used to pitch bike ideas at me whenever I complained of sore knees. He bought a bike for my Dad a few years ago, and helped me pick out a bike a few months ago when I decided I should ride more often with Kevin. Dad and I both ride Fuji hybrid bikes.

I have made a few rides with Kevin, from home to Burger King and back; but when I put in a couple of 16-mile training rides to get ready for the 25K race, I rekindled my enjoyment of riding longer distances. I can imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when I’ll need a road bike built to handle more speed and mileage.

But the weekend was about riding with Dad; three amigos riding together for the first time ever. It was a great day. No one crashed, no one flatted, we finished together under our own power, we contributed a little bit of money to the American Cancer Society, and we found another way to enjoy each other as men. It was very good.

In fact, we have never been a demonstrative family. We love each other, we just don’t say much about it. It isn’t hard or awkward for me to say, “I love you, Dad,” and I doubt it is hard for Carroll, either. We just don’t get around to it.  Growing up I don’t remember a lot of hugging, even among grandparents and aunts and uncles. We hug more nowadays, which is the influence of daughters-in-law.

So riding 25K together was never about exercise or accomplishment or fund raising. It was saying, “I love you, you are worth the trouble.” I hope we have many more rides ahead of us.



“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32


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