Monday, September 22, 2008

When kids give back

I figured it was high time I actually posted at least one story from our tour last month.

For any of you who are parents one thing you’ve probably figured out by now, is that parenting as a general rule is probably the most challenging thing you’ll ever undertake in your life. Consistently having the patience, and energy to be present, and loving with kids even when they’re testing is no minor feat. On the flip side there are those moments when kids give back, that make it all so worthwhile.

In the middle of our trip we stayed in Keystone with my sister and her family while they were there for a business trip for her husband’s job. We had a great time, except for the fact that a few of us came down with a rather unpleasant bug, some kind of cold with fever and nausea for some. Nickie came down with it pretty hard while we were there in Keystone and was down for the count for a couple days.

Unfortunately for me mine had its worst bout out on the road. Two days out of Keystone, we rode from Idaho Springs up onto the peak to peak highway ending at the Cold Springs natl forest campground. On the map it didn’t look like it should be all that bad, especially after having done things like tow the kids and gear up over the highest continuous paved road in N. America (trail ridge road). I was wrong.

The day started easy (downhill), riding down the valley from Idaho Springs to the junction with central city parkway. Central City Parkway starts its climb right from the get go, averaging 8-10% grades for the first 1.5 miles or so. If I were smart, I probably would have realized I was not up for what the day had in store at this point, turned back and taken a down day. That however is NOT what I did. After climbing those first 800-1000 ft. I had to get off the bike and sit down as I thought I was going to pass out and was beginning to feel pretty rotten.

After eating and resting for a bit I got back on the bike and started going again. It was a hot dry day and every climbing grade on the Central City Parkway was around 8%. I was already feeling really weak and a bit feverish, so these types of constant grades plus the heat were beginning to wear me down rather quickly. As we were rounding out 2,000 ft. of elevation gain and about to roll downhill into Central City, Nickie would ride ahead a bit, park her bike, jog back and give me a little push for a bit then repeat, was I ever grateful!!

After stopping through Central City for some lunch, we got back on the bikes for our last 1,000 ft of climbing up to the Cold Springs Campground. I was feeling worse and worse, and having a hard time stomaching food even though I needed the energy to keep pedaling. The weight of the bike kids and gear (around 160lbs) was literally getting to be more than I could manage. My stomach was cramping horribly, and my head was reeling.

At this particular moment a couple of guys drive by in a truck yelling at me out their window. Normally, I really don’t mind when folks in cars do stupid stuff or yell at me, in fact I kinda get a kick out of just smiling and waving at them as they drive away. On this particular occasion, not so much. If I could breathe fire they’re car would have been reduced to a heap of smoldering metal and rubber ;)

By now it had come to the point where I couldn’t even ride the bike up those grades any longer and had been pushing the bike uphill. Between the stomach cramping, feeling like I was gonna pass out, the sheer exertion of pushing a 160lb bike up 7% grades, I broke down and just started crying. Nickie came back and hugged me for awhile and demanded to push the llama with kids. I consented for a bit, but my stubborn streak kicked in and swapped back.

A little ways up the road when we were on the last stretch of climbing about .75 miles before our destination, Samuel did the sweetest thing, and walked beside me helping to push the bike up the hill. You might think that a 3 year old can’t do much to help with a load like that, but I can assure you at that moment, his contribution both emotionally and physically were just tremendous to me. I’ll never forget that little guy walking behind this monstrous load of a bike pushing with all his little might as we proceeded uphill.