Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ride for Heroes

OK, this past Saturday was the Ride for Heroes locally, and now that I have a bike back Ah'm in the Rally Mood, folks.  So when I went to sign up for it last weekend, I was a bit surprised when my lady says "Why don't we all sign up?"  She doesn't have a bike.  Or, I should say "didn't."  We bought her a bike on Wednesday or Thursday.  Not a true roadbike, more like a comfort bike.  It's a Specialized Crossroads Elite.  Dang, I wish I had gotten it for Eddy's price.  I think it was closer to $399.  But then you add shorts, a helmet, some tights and a long sleeve jersey and all of the sudden you're talking about $550.  Oh well, the price we pay to do things with our spouse and kids.  This was something that the whole family could do, right?  Just get a trailer for the babies.  Oh, trailer.  We don't have one.  So after a couple of calls for ones on Craigslist didn't pan out, we borrowed one from a friend.  So all of the big kids have bikes (our kids are aged 13, 10, 8, 6, 2, 1).  We just have to get them all there.  OK, even with the Suburban and the hitch rack, we have to take two vehicles.  So we loaded up the minivan with five bikes, put the wife's bike on the hitch rack, and fit the trailer in the Suburban's trunk.  Joseph (13) and I were going to do the 62 mile rally (not as hard as it sounds, there's a rest stop with food and drink every 10-12 miles) and everyone else was going to do the 8 mile rally.  The 62-miler started at 7:30 AM and the 8-miler started at 8:30.  We woke up late (it's a 45 minute drive with no traffic), so we reassessed the situation and tried to make it by 8:00 for the 40-miler instead.  About 15 minutes into our drive we had to turn back to get all the water bottles that we had left in the fridge.  All told, we got there at 8:20.  After a quick potty break, we lined up for the ride.  All the rides had the same route for the first 5-6 miles, so Joseph and I figured we would veer off at the appropriate time for the 40 and Kim would lead the herd of little ones back through the 8.  Jacob(6)  was stoked.  He was looking forward to doing this with his siblings and with me.  Allison(8) was not.  It was too cold for her liking, too early, and she didn't feel comfortable with the hand-brakes on her mountain bike.  After a mile, we had left them behind, cruising at an amazing speed of 8.4 mph.  Well, that was about as fast ask Jacob could coax those 16-in wheels.  After about fifteen minutes, Allison had had enough.  Kim called me to inform me that she had three crying girls and that they were turning back.  So that left me with Joseph (13) on a road bike and capable of doing the 40, Emily (10) on an old Peugeot Mixte that weighs 30 lbs. and capable of being dragged through the 20 maybe, and Jacob on a 16-in. wheel Wal-Mart ride, not capable of going farther than the 8.  So we stayed with the 8-miler.  Joseph was not pleased at first.  He did get over it as he got the chance to have fun with Jacob.  In fact, they all enjoyed the heck out of themselves.  I was beaten down by the financial side of it and the fact that I could have just done the regular Saturday Shop ride and gotten in 50.  So we spent $110 on rally fees, $500 on the bike + helmet + shorts + something else.  Another $150 in other clothes (the shop had winter gear on 75% off!!) plus 65 miles of gas for two cars, and all I got was 8 miles.  But reflecting on it, they were exquisite miles.  They were miles that will last a lifetime in one little six year-old's mind.  That was the first time he got to ride a rally with his Dad and his older brother.  Plus he beat another kid on a similar bike.  You go Jakie.  You rock.  You made even a short, terribly expensive ride one of the best days ever.

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