Monthly Archives: August 2012

On fatherhood…

On fatherhood…

The newest addition to our family is now a little over 48 hours old and doing ok considering she is 4 weeks early. With mum and baby still in the hospital it is down to me to hold the fort with our eldest, just trying to keep the place tidy and entertain, then entice food down a picky toddler is proving a challenge.

It is very different the second time around, still wonderful just different. I think this is because having one prepared me for the wave of love I experienced, that rush of oxytocin can’t be as unexpected the second time and is therefore somewhat less intense than the first hit. Another difference is that over the last 20 months I have got used to loving someone more than anything else in the world, initially this feeling is rather bewildering, liberating and unfamiliar as it is not like the love for your own parents, siblings or partner. It is instinctive love; you’re not obliged to feel it, there is no personality to work around, there is no baggage or history and no wish for them to be different in any way and there is no desire for love to be reciprocated and no fear of rejection – you are free to just love, love, love.

I’m looking forward to the girls coming home so life can return to something that resembles normality. Our eldest has taken it all in her stride (her stride of choice is a lob sided goose step which she has been practising up and down the maternity ward) and doesn’t seem at all fazed, she may not realise the baby is coming out of the hospital to live with us and will want to play with her toys, but early reactions to baby are good. I think this may be attributed to my wife’s cunning plan that involved buying a smaller, identical version of her favourite soft toy, a monkey, and giving it to her a few days before the birth of our new monkey.

I didn’t care about gender before the birth and I am just delighted to have a healthy one, a boy would have been nice but not nicer, in many ways it is better for the my daughters this way, they will hopefully have lots in common and be very close. That said, I expect them to ski and ride mountain bikes as well as any son, I will allow protection to prevent scuffed knees, I know girls care about how their legs look. My one regret is that I doubt I will get to use the name we’d picked out for our daughter had she been a boy – Edward D Tyler. Now that is a strong name.

“What does the D stand for?” I hear you say. Danger was to be his middle name.

After riding everything else in your life has the volume turned down…

After riding everything else in your life has the volume turned down…

I limped into work last Friday morning with welts and cuts on my arm and a large patch of skin missing where the granite kissed my knee – I’ve let Strava egg me on. This has led to a consensus of opinion between my friends, stop chasing King of the Mountain, use Strava to push yourself and concentrate more on enjoying the ride and less on the stats.

Does this mean I am going to stop turning Strava on before my rides, no, but I am going to stop chucking myself down stuff faster than my limited skills will allow, and this Thursday I have the perfect excuse to concentrate on riding well as I will be setting an example to our newest recruit.

I’ve been bugging Adam to come out for ages, almost as long as he’s been moaning that he doesn’t see enough of us, Lambo thought that it might have been the moaning that was the important part, rather than the doing something about it, but I have set about removing excuses for not coming biking as they present themselves.

So decked out in all my spare gear, which is all pretty decent kit, I stuck Adam on the Dawes which is not decent but is ridable and has coped with everything that we’ll find ourselves on this evening. The consensus was that if we’re going to convince Adam to spend £500 on a new bike we’d need to hook him, and the way to do that was to take him down the best technical downhill our humble Thursday night ride has to offer, and that means the Flow House.

Why is the Flow House so good? For a start, being mostly granite it stays fairly dry, there is only one short steep section during the down hill, meaning the rest can be taken at your own pace, it has some wonderful natural technical features and there are so many lines that you never ride it the same way end to end twice. The problem with it is that it is a 8.5km up hill slog to get there.

This has stopped being a problem for us regulars a while ago but Adam struggled. I should point out that Adam is cardiovascularly the fittest person I know, but it’s football fitness which is a different set of muscles. It doesn’t really matter how much you want someone to enjoy an activity, when they reach the “good bit” on their last legs, having rubbed raw their virgin perineum and their two fat mates are fresh, chipper and full of encouragement, it seems unlikely that they’re going to see the attraction of this sport.

Adam commented that this wasn’t like football where if someone is slow and crap you just shout at them until they get better or leave and I think he appreciated the nurturing inclusive environment we tried to provide for him. Lambo and I both know that he can’t stand being the worst at something and we really wanted him to get into it. Sadly I fear we have failed, you can tell when someone has been bitten by the wild, glad to be alive glint in their eye that accompanies their first high speed completion of a descent, there was no glint. Oh well, you can’t say we didn’t try.

Despite failing to recruit another rider to our chapter the benefit of taking out a newbie is that you have to slow everything down, the climbs, the descents and this means that you have time to think. You have time to spot the line you’ve never seen because you’ve just been bundling through chasing your personal best. You have time to go back and do a section again whilst they catch up. Going slower could be the best way to go way to go faster.