Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy 54th Birthday

Today's present to myself: a full-distance Eisenbahn State Trail ride.

I can’t complain about today. I did that goofy cyclist birthday thing, riding a mile for every year. The sun was out for a change. The winds were light for a change. The temperature was pleasant for a change. Gosh, we actually hit 70° today.

But it wasn’t much of a weekend. Take your pick: too cold, too windy, too wet. If you went up to Mt. Morris for the WORS race on Sunday, then you endured a mudfest in 50-something-degree temperatures. Me? I spent the first half of Father’s Day waiting for the temperature to crack 60°, then spent the second half working on my yard. It was another lost weekend on my cycling calendar in what is becoming a lost year. I’m going to reach the halfway mark of this season hundreds of miles behind last year’s pace.

Cycling ambitions aside, Father’s Day wasn’t a super happy Hallmark moment. It was a bummer to realize that this was probably the last year that both of my children will be living under my roof. The oldest graduated from college in May and the youngest will begin college this fall. Don’t get me wrong: there are many things about the Empty Nest lifestyle that I will enjoy. (I’m already benefiting by no longer having to negotiate the nightmare parking lot of the West Bend high school campus.) But I would rather have my children with me than not with me, and the journey that I have been on as a father since 1998 feels like it’s ending abruptly. When the nest is empty I still will be a father, of course, but the dynamic will be different. I must have done something right to bring my children to this point: two honors students ready to take on new challenges without me. But damn it anyway.

There are good family memories to make this week, as my mother and one of my nephews will be flying in from Philadelphia to visit from Thursday through Sunday. That won’t be good for my training, though, so I’ll make an effort to ride hard tomorrow and Wednesday in anticipation of yet another lost weekend. Cyclocross season begins just 9 weeks from Saturday. It’s getting harder to imagine that I will be in race shape by then. Oh, well. There’s more to life.

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