Monday, May 31, 2010

Spencer: Endurance Racer

My son has never been very interested in riding a bicycle.  I started putting him on the bike when he was four years old, but he never wanted to ride.  Now six, he has many other interests that rank higher than riding a bike, like doing homework, eating vegetables and cleaning toilets.

Although it has always bugged me, I wasn't going to pressure him.  Cycling is my "thing," and I don't want to be one of "those" fathers.

One of the things he does like is NASCAR.  We don't know why, nor do we really remember how it started, but he does.  The child has an unholy obsession with stock car racing in all its redneck glory.  He is currently watching yesterday's Coca Cola 600 for the third time.

It occurred to me that all I need to do is associate riding a bike with NASCAR.

We took him to the local high school and cut him loose on the track.  And that was all it took.

He knocked out 28 laps before some school official chased us off.  I think seven miles is pretty good for a six-year-old.  I have no doubt he would have gone for 10 miles if given the chance.

Sometimes parenting is simply marketing.  Know your audience, cross-promote your product to make the connection, and you will get the sale.  Easy.


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Hold the Catch-Up

I haven't posted in over a month.  In that time I went on vacation, came back to the real world, worked hard, and got sick.  I'm seeing a pattern.

In January we were lucky enough to go on a nice Mexican cruise.  Jen and I enjoyed eight leisurely days as a couple, and it was great.  We came home, resumed normal life, and both got sick.

In April we took a nine-day trip to Tucson, Arizona with stops in Southern California.  Again, another nice trip.

Unfortunately, when you get home from a trip, you don't start back at the time you left.  Time has progressed forward.  The grass has grown a foot.  The weeds have grown two feet.  Projects piled up at work.  Bills came in.  So you come off the relaxing trip and start grinding, playing catch-up.  And if you are an idiot, you start playing catch-up on the bike, also.  "I missed nine days, but if I can average 225 miles per week, I can catch up . . ."

I'm learning that this is probably quite the opposite of what you should do.

For the last 12 days I have been sick.  At some unknown point it became pneumonia.  I'm on the mend now, but for a while it was pretty bad.

Looking back, I know the exact point in time when my body was telling me "enough."  I had worked all day in the yard, digging up sod, pulling weeds, trenching and burying plastic mow strip, mowing the grass, and edging on my hands and knees.  That evening we went for a 20-mile ride on the bike trail, and towing the boy around on the trail-a-bike was tough in the winds.  Jen rode away from me at the end; I couldn't put any power to the pedals.  I was fatigued, hungry and dehydrated from a long day outdoors.

Instead of listening to my body, and giving it some much needed rest, I got up the next morning and put in a hard 2.5 hour ride.  I just had to get in those damn miles.

The next day I started feeling sick.  Could I have prevented the illness with a day of rest, good food and lots of water?  I think so.

In the future I will ease back into normal life after vacations.  In the end, playing catch-up doesn't seem to get me much.