put a new one on ... and I was happy
I believed him, but couldn’t quite
envision it. After all, how many things
in this world are better than a group
ride? I don’t exercise. I go play with
my friends for two, three, four hours.
Can Disneyland even hold a candle to
a mountain descent? Not in my book.
Before becoming a parent, I thought I
knew something about priorities. I had
A races, B races and C races. I stuck
to my training schedule and if that
meant not humbling a lesser rider who
attacked me on the bike path because
I was on a rest day, so be it; I didn’t
burn Saturday’s matches on Friday.
If my job in a race was chasing down
breakaways, I stuck to the script so
that we could hope to win. In reality,
I sometimes confused what was most
important, and could get ornery if I
had to change my training and racing
to accommodate work.
This isn’t exactly how I thought my
day would go.
The first indications that something
might be amiss came at one in the
morning when my wife woke me to
tell me that Philip was throwing up,
that he soaked his bed, that it was bad.
After we cleaned him up and changed
the bed, I thought the episode was at
an end and went back to bed.
At 5:00 a.m. she woke me again, this
time to say she was throwing up, had
been all night. This time I started
asking questions. What have you eaten
since dinner? Grapes. Did Philip have
them too? Yes.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have
Even though I didn’t yet know the
severity of the situation, I knew I
Text>Patrick Brady Image>Jered Gruber
wouldn’t be heading out for the group
ride, and told her so. In years past, I
would have brooded about my missed
ride, but all that was on my mind
was getting out a text message to let a
couple of friends know not to wait for
me and then to tend to my family.
Let me be honest with you: as a
single guy, I was the type who—if the
situation didn’t seem dire—would
have asked the girlfriend if she minded
if I still slipped out for the ride. And
while there’s no doubt that getting
married changed my priorities,
becoming a father didn’t just change
my priorities, it altered my conception
of what matters.
My friend Bob Thomson, the
illustrator behind Mike and the Bike, told
me that when his first child was born
his priorities changed so radically, “It
was as if God removed my head and
I didn’t need to see my wife get teary
with delirium and nausea or take note
of the little guy’s pink-rimmed eyes to
know there was no place else in the
world I wanted—or needed—to be.
And the issue isn’t that I’ve enjoyed a
lot of latitude lately. In the last month
I’ve ridden Levi’s Gran Fondo as well
as the San Luis Obispo Gran Fondo.
I’ve had some good, long rides and
enjoyed a weekend getaway with the
three of us up in beautiful Morro Bay.
No, this isn’t tit-for-tat or quid pro
quo. Very simply, the bike will be
there when I get home, but there’s no
substitute for these two, my chosen
and my son. Should anything happen
to them, having a bike would cease to
matter. If I lost my wife, I’d have failed
my son. And if I lost my son, I’d have
failed as a person.
Any third grader will tell you the sun
rises in the east, but I know better. The
sun rises over my son’s bed. ]p[