Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mid Life Crisis?

I am rolling up on my 41st birthday.  That's right, I am 40 years old. Middle aged white guy with a career, family, house, etc. All that responsibility kind of stuff. Work schedules, family schedules, church schedules, soccer schedules. Managing a hyper active 5 year old around all those schedules. Trying to find time on occasion to spend time with my wife.

I am tired. Worn-out. When I get to ride my bike, I have to try to cram as much in in as little time as possible. Motorcycle? It must be that I am riding to work, so long as I am not picking up a kid, pizza, etc. Having "fun" is a lot of work, especially when the work just piles up while you are away to have said fun.

Understand that I am not complaining. It does get somewhat overwhelming at times, discouraging, disappointing even. Plans are planned but rarely come though. But, I am not complaining. I am thankful for the few times I get to date my wife, play with Brock, go single speeding with Ethan, play my guitar, or just ride a motorcycle to work. I have a house in the middle of no where and vehicles that get me somewhere. I have a job that I generally enjoy and live near a town with good food and good friends.

I will stop short of claiming God's blessing because of these things since that would imply that if one doesn't have them that they somehow lack that blessing. I do however claim to be thankful, grateful, appreciative. Generally speaking our stress is man-made. We overstretch ourselves with regard to time, money, material stuff and then get overwhelmed while we try to manage them.

I just looked back at my last posting on this blog and saw the list of bike races I planned to attend. Well, I only raced once. Other races were removed from my schedule by kids birthdays, weather, and to be honest, some times a lack of physical condition and motivation.  The one race I participated in I won. But, I also was the only one in my class (and now that I am 40, I can race in "masters" classes). So I guess it means I also got last place.

I had also planned a bike packing trip this year. My goal was to ride from home to Davis, WV via Spruce Knob over 5 days. I scheduled a week off from work, a friend planned to go along, I got the bike ready, my gear ready, and myself ready to ride 300+ miles. The day came to leave and we got delayed a day. It was OK, I had already planned an alternate route if we needed to cut out a day. So day 1 for me was about 20 miles from my house to Athens. Day 2 was from Athens to North Bend State Park via the North Bend Rail Trail. Great day, 80 mile ride. I will say that riding through Belpre (and almost being hit by a car), and Parkersburg (and being called a "dick" by a skate boarder that we startled since he was rocking out with ear buds in) and then riding out route 47 with heavy traffic weren't my favorite parts of the day, but the rest made up for it. By the end of the day my friend, Ryan, had started to get some pain in his left knee. Ryan is one day older than me. He has ridden his bike from the right to the left coast. He is single, without kids. I state all that as I was more concerned about my physical shape than his. Anyway, we camped at North Bend for the night. The next day started slow and quickly got slower as we rode east. By the time we made it to Ellenboro (6 miles from the park) and got some breakfast, Ryan was in a considerable amount of pain.  We still had about 70 miles left with some big climbs to get to our next stop, Audra State Park. A couple miles later, we pulled the plug, turned around and made the 40 mile ride back to Parkersburg where we got picked up for a van ride back to A-town.

I still had the week off, Shelly and the boys were looking forward to picking me up in Davis (as they got a camping trip out of it), and I still had some miles in my legs. I took the next day for a 50 mile ride around the back roads of Meigs and Vinton counties while Ryan was trying to figure out his knee. I decided that I would head down to WV the next day via motorcycle. I wanted to get in to the area early so we could get a good campsite. There were several folks heading down and the Revenge of the Rattlesnake was happening plus bear season starting, so I knew sites would go quickly. Thursday morning I headed out. About a quarter mile from my driveway, a hornet flew in to my helmet ans stung me just below my eye. I rode to Casa for breakfast as my face swelled. I ate, took a longish route home and watched soccer. It just wasn't meant to be.

I loaded up the truck for Friday and picked up Shelly and the boys at noon. We drove down and got a great site. Good thing we came down earlier too, by 6 o'clock most sites were gone, especially any that could handle all of us. We had a great burger at Tip-Top in Thomas and then headed back to camp to make s'mores and wait for the others to make it in. We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the mountains, biking, food, camping, and some hiking. Back to work the next Monday to what seemed like two weeks worth of work for my one week off.

I think I need to give up planning.  Few things go as planned and planning sometimes creates expectations that when not realized lead to disappointment. I was certainly disappointed that the week didn't go as I planned. Still, I got to ride my bike, camp with my family and friends, eat, and not go to work.

Speaking of planning, a new race was added this year at Spruce Knob. A three day gravel stage race. It was initially slated for summer but was postponed to fall. They have set the date for the weekend of Oct 16, 17, and 18. Soccer on the 17th, my dad's annual birthday cookout on the 18th as well as Mountain Stage at OU for his birthday gift. Won't be racing that one either.

Trying something new. 


No longer a pre-schooler.

Quick trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

First and Last.

The aunts/uncle/dad.

I managed to commute to work once. The sunrise was worth it.

Packed and ready.

Waking up at North Bend.


Hornets are jerks.

Burgers!

View from camp.

Ethan riding in real mountains.

Lindy Point

Not enough of this.

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