Pine Creek Gorge Training Weekend May 20-22, 2023

My wife asked me the other day why I spend so much money on my adventures. I will be 46 soon and while the men in my life, my grandfathers all lived a long while and my dad is still with me at 73, I don’t want to take time for granted. When I was still preaching, I used to say when doing a funeral that the deceased never really existed until a person, say a grandchild, husband, daughter, friend, etc. came into their life. For children, it is our job as parents to create meaning. Today, in a world where our children’s meaning is wrapped up in what social media and the algorythms say we are and should be, this weekend was an opportunity for my 13 year old to see who she really is. This weekend was also a shake out ride for a larger ride we are doing together in June on the Great Allegheny Passage.

Our morning started early, up at 0500 with a two hour drive to Dubois, Pa, where we stopped for breakfast. On the way down, my 13 year old would educate me all about Taylor Swift and she even made up a song about road kill deer in the style of Taylor Swift. It was a magical moment.

She did it. 40 miles in the rain and cloudy sun. It was a good ride. Our pace was on point. I am riding a 23+ year old recumbant and was loaded down with about 20+ pounds. My bike did not seem to handle very well and I made the decision to carry less weight on day 2. The highlight of the ride came outside of the small village of Jersey Mills, where we saw a bear. Or rather the bear saw us and I felt like someone was watching me. “Did you see that?” I asked Sarah. “The bear?”, she replied, “Yeah, that was a bear, right”, I replied. “Yeah, I think so, is that why you started riding faster?” she replied. “Yeah, keep your head on a swivel and try to keep up” I replied. For the next mile or so, we tried to decid if we really saw a bear and we concluded that we did. It was a fairly arge black bear just casually sitting by a cabin, minding its own business.

Day 2 starts with a good breakfast
She wanted to see a rattlesnake and we did early on in the day.

We would arrive at the Turkey Path which was around 14.5 miles into our ride. I told Sarah that if she hiked to the top of the canyon, we did not have to do the last half mile of the day. It was close to lunch time and we took off. Little did she know the lesson she would get to learn.

The hike up was slow, but there were some very pretty waterfalls. We did not quite make it to the top, she was tired and were getting hungry. We got to a vista just before the top and all Sarah had to say, was, “it is just trees!” After promising her the view was worth it, she thought otherwise.

On the way down, Sarah would twist her ankle and the tears began as she excalimed, “I don’t have time for this today!”. After I calmed her down, we had a lesson on Stoicism. I told her that it does not matter that she twisted her ankle and that she is frustrated. What matters is how she dealt with it. I told her, “sure it hurts and it has put a damper on our fun, but this is what we are doing right now, so how are we going to deal with it?” I explained that she was angry and frustrated and that these were simply emotional states that we can manage and that contolling our emotions makes type II fun suck less. She calmed down, hobbled back to our bikes and we ate lunch. After lunch, we hopped on to our bikes for a nice ride back to our car.

She needed some ice cream after that ride.

In sum, it was a great ride. My bike probably is not the bike for the job, I very much want it to be, but it is a 23 year old bike that was discontinued, parts are odd or just not available anymore. Sarah is ready, she just needs to work on pacing some. We need to figure out her bike seat, it mauy not work. We are on to the Great Allegheny Passage after a few more weeks of training. Up to this point, Sarah at 13 has covered 192 miles this spring in training.

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