Monday, August 11, 2008

Male Bonding on Two Wheels

Oldest son Mike and I had a real male bonding experience this past weekend. We went to Hastings to participate in the Kool-Aid Classic bike ride. Awoke at 4:30AM to the sound of rain outdoors. Got ready to go anyway (our bikes were already on the rack on the car), picked up a friend of mine who was going along and drove through pouring rain (with frogs hopping all over the road - no kidding) for two hours to Hastings. Once we got there, it had stopped raining and really wasn't too bad. We were only doing the 30-mile ride (they also had a 60-miler) so even if the weather wasn't perfect we could handle it.

As the 8:00AM start time approached, a drizzle started, which turned into a full rain shower. Some of the hundred or so riders braved the start in the rain, but we decided to wait and see. Around 9:00 the rain had stopped again and looked like it might be gone completely (according to weather radar on my friend Gene's Blackberry - gotta love that technology) so we took off along with a bunch of others. We had a great ride, a cool day riding through scenic countryside with a wide range of other riders. A couple of hills that were tough but manageable.

And then, about seven or eight miles from the finish back in Hastings, it starts to pour. I mean a real rainstorm. Raining so hard you could hear it hitting the leaves in the cornfields alongside the road. Mike starts to have trouble seeing where he's going since the water is getting in his eyes and messing with his contacts. I give him my eye wear for protection, which promptly fogs over. So we ride together, Mike with his head down out of the rain alongside me and watching my wheels to keep going straight. Somewhere in the middle of this, my friend Doug who is riding with us reminds us that we paid money to do this. But as he said, "I've done dumber things in my life!"

Finally about two miles from Hastings the rain stops and we make our way through town to the finish. No cheering crowds, no awards ceremony. Just a few other soggy and cold riders like us packing up their stuff. But we had survived, so felt good about that. A quick trip to the local YMCA for a warm shower and dry clothes, then a catered lunch for us brave souls that rode, and a free pass to a big-screen movie about the Tour de France. Then back in the car for the two hour drive home to Columbus. Arriving to beautiful sunny skies at home. Just the thing to dry out all our wet stuff we hung on the line.

Yeah, so most people hear this and think, "What a couple of idiots." But we both had a really good time. OK, so we didn't think that so much in the middle of the rain storm, with trucks zooming by on the highway and spraying us and all that. But it was a good time of dad and son male bonding doing something we both enjoy. And with only a couple of weeks til Mike flies off to Israel for three months, I'm glad we had the time together.

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