A little over a year ago, I was out mountain biking with my friend Zane, and we rode some trails where wildfires had charred the mountainside.

Groves of skeletal trees, ash stains imprinted on the ground, wildflowers beginning to push into view among the devastation.

That day, I was sleep deprived by my 6 month old, riding poorly, feeling weak & fat, and through exhaustion & trying to keep up with a ‘ragin Zane, those charred trees felt like they were speaking:

“this was your life, you are nothing more than crumbling ashes, but look at all these blooming flowers, this is new life”.

I wrote about this then, but never published it, I was too “new-parent-overwhelmed-syndrome” on that day, and too depressed to blog what I was feeling.

But this past Sunday, I went back to those same trails with another friend, local mountain biking cat 1/semi-pro Kevin Wilde.

Wow can he ever big-ring steep dirt climbs. Amazing.

Kevin also has a little baby at home, and we talked in depth about our experiences as our mountain bikes zipped & danced through the singletrack.

We agreed it’s pretty much impossible to systematically train when you have a little kid.

Impossible for me, as a speedskater, to consistently train all the complex “pieces” of the skate-training puzzle. Impossible for Kevin to regularly complete 3.5-4 hour epic training rides, so he can big-ring climbs at the end of 3 hour mountain bike races.

But we still love getting out, as much as ever, even though we are slower than we once were.

Our wives understand this about us, & actually kick us out of the house every now and then, precisely because we are committed fathers.

And on this day, keeping up with Kevin, my former life is truly crumbled and gone, I almost don’t see those blackened tree trunks anymore, ashy groundstains swallowed into the landscape of dim memory.

But what do I see? Something so much more beautiful. Flowering. So alive.

My little girl… There are far more ways for a man to measure himself than the fruits of being hyper-competitive. I get that now.

RZ you are always my teacher, thank you.

9 Responses to “Greening”

  1. As I get ready to head out to re-teach myself why I love to ride and try to resurrect the sport I seem to have abandoned I am so glad I stopped for a minute to catch up on my blog life.
    RZ will ALWAYS be your teacher and your confidant as well as the one who will keep you totally balanced in life! She will teach you how to laugh, how to cry, and how to be crazy (mostly how to LAUGH AT YOURSELF and in spite of YOURSELF!!! )

    Love her smile!

  2. AHH! So good to see you back in the “reflecting mode”. I am sure alot of us could say welcome back, but “back” is not the right word knowing all that you must be doing and experiencing, so I’ll just say- Good to hear from you again man! As has been said before, don’t take it as any pressure- we can all wait and will always be here whenever the time fits. Hope all is well, sounds like your journey through the world of Fatherhood continues to be amazing (and RZ is getting so BIG!)

    All the best-

    Doug & Tracey

  3. Thanks all-

    (now I know who here has RSS readers!)

    I’ve missed writing here so much….

    My election to the board has sucked up more of my non-existent time, and the only thing I can “give” on at all is this blog.. at times, I really miss it, but mostly I’m too exhausted to even come to that realization too often.

    I am working VERY hard for the sport though, someday soon I will give an update here on board stuff.

    I do plan on skating/racing this winter, but as to how fit I will be? who knows.

  4. RZ is flabbergasting.

    I’ve never, on a big bad climb, ever thought to myself, “hey, what a great time to pull out my camera and take a picture!” You’re a strange man, Andrew.

    As for the rest, there must be some kind of phoenician meme going around. Damn archetypes are adding continuity to my day.

  5. Great to hear about you getting on the Ice this year. I’m sure you will enjoy the feeling. Try to remember that there is as much to be enjoyed from the “completion” as there is from the “competition” in any sport!


  6. […] Andrew Love: Greening […]

  7. Happy Father’s Day, Andrew :)

  8. Where did you go? miss your blog!

  9. RZ is your precious heritage, well do I know; i have new/ young grandchildren, the awesome feeling/impact of ‘new family members’ does not fade going around for the second time!

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