Divergent & Convergent

Is this blog about speedskating? Or about something else? Sometimes I don’t honestly know, life takes you along for the ride. Sometimes you drive, sometimes it drives you.

But I do know that the driving forces in my life are going to converge with another force that will overpower all.

People are constantly asking me how Jessica is doing… In a few days she will be at 4 months, her energy yo-yos up & down, but she feels great & is slowly starting to look pregnant.

But ultrasound photos are what really blows me away-

There are the beginnings of a face there (with my forehead?) and it’s trying to suck it’s thumb. There is a real person there; I can’t wait to meet him/her. Its funny how we all started out like this, every one of us.

But life goes on, no matter this huge looming change (do I hear the soundtrack from 2001: A space odyssey, playing off in the distance somewhere)?

If I ever change the name of this blog to “Zen & the Art of Diaper Changing” then all my speedskating friends are permitted to have a good laugh & I will be truly lost to the sport.

But I can’t image that fully happening. To lose out on endorphin-addled grins like this one, taken tonight as I pedaled home from a bike race, would be just awful-

And I would lose something that I want to share with my future kid. Not necessarily cycling or skating, or even competition, but that essential something about an active, physical life.

Besides, isn’t a happy parent a good one? Doesn’t having one’s own passions & happiness also make one a more effective role model (me? Role model? The world is in trouble!).

Here is another weird camera phone pic after the race. Lots of strange details in this shot

  1. Fellow-skater/biker Inacio Lopez, incredibly happy after his strong 2nd place finish a few moments before-

  2. Some looming clouds, about to rain on us-
  3. The strange curves of my carbon fibre bike, the number plate affixed to the seat post-
  4. smeared on my rear brake, a glob of human spit, or snot, or some other biological substance. I can’t tell exactly what it was-
    I don’t know if it’s mine or someone else’s. But I found this quite funny-

Somehow, just from riding my bike to & from work, and doing a regular lunch hour ride with some extremely fast folks I work with, I’ve found myself a bike racer again.

It’s a fun sport, a bit dicey at times. There was a moment during the race, as the 40 person pack was tightening onto itself at high speed & folks were jockeying for position, I blurted out to a friend: “wow, I’m used to having a lane all to myself, all these people are freaking me out”.

Over the hiss of tires & wirr of gears, I heard a lot of good-natured chuckling at that. I bet a short tracker would have felt safer than normal.

I know my friend Kirk threw away his rock climbing shoes the day his first son was born, and as I respect Kirk tremendously, I have thought a lot about what that means.

11 Responses to “Divergent & Convergent”

  1. It’s freaking me out that you’re freaking out about pack racing. :-)

    Yeah… when Dane was born there were definitely some things that changed. Lead climbing was definitely one of them. Far too dangerous — I guess I saw it as a small change due to a wonderful new responsibility.

    Funny thing is… Dane and I are planning on going rock climbing this weekend. Irony, huh?

  2. Thanks to my dad, my sister and I grew up EXPECTING to be speedskaters and cyclists…a twist on the usual turn of events, I think. Wouldnt it be nice to give your kids that opportunity? I think you’d be the ideal role model, especially if you’re still competing as ” ‘old’ dad.” ;)

    where was that bike race, perchance? I have an inkling of suspicion that I recognize the place…

  3. You need to move up to the B Flight, you sandbagger!


  4. Mel,

    the bike race is the teusday night crit series at RMRR in Salt lake..


    so maybe that spit/snot is yours? are you claiming ownership?

    I agree I need to move up, but they won’t let you race the B’s without a USA cycling license, and I have not had one in quite a few years (6 at least).

    I will get one this week.. yeah, it’s time…

    but they also have all these regulations about having done 10 starts before you move up.. I’ve done 3 this year, and am still a bit uncomfortable in an agressive pack, so maybe I’ll be around another start or two…

    also, I work until 6, this would make it impossible for me to get there for the B’s…. So I have that weird wrinkle to deal with too..

    personally, I’ve been quite surprised at how well I’ve ridden.. I have done VERY LITTLE true areobic training during my years as a speedskater, it’s all power & snap.. even short half hour races put me at my limit repeatedly…

    but when they all come down to big bunch sprints, then I can turn the 53-12 for a few brief moments…

  5. not my spit or snot.

    I watched last night instead of racing. After I crashed last week, I decided to give myself a week off to clear the head a little bit.

    As for upgrading … get that license renewed first.

    A teammate of mine upgraded to the B Flight after three races because he knew he was ready. They didn’t protest. He went from Cat 5 and C Flight to Cat 4 and B Flight in three weeks. Of course, he’s a stud mtb racer so he was just making the transition from dirt to road himself. But they did not throw a stink at all for his upgrade.

    But if you stay in the C Flight, I will simply follow little TJ Eisenhart’s plan and suck your wheel for a third place finish every time.

  6. OK, climbing seriously on a mountain, right? I assume that is more dangerous than bike racing…but I don’t know…can’t give you numbers :) People buy bigger, safer cars when they’re having a baby, too, but your cars are safe already, so you have a head start. Seriously, though, being a healthy role model is worth a lot, and so is knowing how to be happy. You also work hard and achieve results, and you keep making friends though both sports. Of course you’ll have to adjust those things, but those are such positives, I wouldn’t choose to give them up. I have also heard of (and once seen) people getting mad at pregnant women exercising in a gym or anywhere in public. But isn’t a pregnancy is usually healthier with some exercise, not without it?

    Yeah, I ought to get a uscf license and race again, too! (After I at least get a pair of new tires….)

  7. Just a few thoughts that started to enter my mind once I became a Dad.

    Cross-country skiing - “..hmm, that tree at the bottom of this steep hill is pretty close to the trail - better back off a bit…”

    Road Cycling - “…48 mph on this big descent is good enough - I don’t need to break 50…”

    Mountain Biking - “…If I keep me knees relaxed, I don’t _have_ to get big air on this drop-off…”

    Hockey - “…you are too old for this s***…”

    Speedskating - “…there is nothing more fun that speedskating with my kids…”


  8. Our family is thriving with four teenagers (2 in college). All four grew up with us as a family skiiing, skating, cycling, hiking, mt biking in the woods AT NIGHT, running, and camping. They all are active, healthy risk takers, and great people!

    A happy parent is a good parent, and time for yourself is crucial, but remember that BOTH OF YOU need to heed that advice or time for yourself becomes selfish. Things I learned along the way:
    Kids are resilient and just like we train fast to go fast:
    * don’t alter your habits because of a nap or they will only learn to sleep in a quiet room
    * if you want them to enjoy fresh-air and outdoor activity then take them with you when you go outside (we started with hiking as young as 3 months)
    * Play with them, laugh with them, treat them with respect, and guess what, you’ll get it right back.

    Most of all, relax, it will be the BEST and hardest journey that you have ever embarked on, don’t forget to enjoy it (Believe me it goes by really fast)

    Love you both!
    Lisa (Kenny, Justin, Anna, Mikey and Chris too)

  9. The Arrogant Worms have a great song that goes something like,
    I used to talk about politics
    about communism, socialism/all those isms
    I used to talk about
    Now all i talk about is baby poo…”
    There are years that are COMPLETELY dominated by biological fluids. (Eventually we get past that. I don’t see how anyone who’s ever raised a child from 0 to 3 can still have any vestiges of squeamishness left.) so you can take the spit/snot as a harbinger of the future, a different kind of training perhaps.
    I second what Lisa wrote.

  10. Hey, A! I have a friend in Boulder with a great job, house, wife, two kids… and he’s just finished his second Ironman. The Ironman is a new hobby for him taken up after the babies were born. His wife, my friend Becca — maybe you met years ago? said he trains so much he *literally* was not even sore after the last one about ten days ago. All is possible. I suppose it’s effort if we think about it that way… or just play if we say so, huh?
    Much love,

  11. It might feel like you’re giving up a lot in the beginning — there’s really no other option. Babies needs are 24/7 and non-negotiable. And it doesn’t quite feel like you’re getting much back for your sacrifices. Infants are cute, but they’re not too good a reciprocating deep emotions.

    But there is value in sacrifice. (In Hebrew, the word for sacrifice, korbanot, means “draw closer,”) and I really believe that I have been drawn closer to my children and my husband because of the sacrifices I have made for them, and them for me. I can be greatful that Evan takes the kids for a weekend so I can go to a conference, but how much more grateful am I if he gives up a 4-wheeling trip to do it?

    There is power in not being selfish, in subsuming your desires to the needs (and even the whims) of another human being.

    And then one day you suddenly start to reap the benefits. How many bike rides did Evan give up over the past 6 years? Innumerable. But what did he do on Sunday? Picked up his kids from Sunday school and took them on a bike ride. Watched Ben ride the BMX track.

    This spring break I stood in line for a chairlift with my 4 year old daughter next to me. When I lifted her onto that chair, it was worth every great run I missed over the past 5 years. “This is why we had kids!” I said to Evan.

    To teach, to share, to experience life alongside them and watch them grow. Can’t think of many sacrifices too big to get that in return.

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