Saturday morning ride: Breaking Belgian

pulltight

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

My family moved to Belgium shortly after I was born. We lived there until I was your age, Max and Kate.

There are only a few things I remember about Belgium:

  • eating frites (think double fried french fries) wrapped in a paper cone, dipping them in mayo instead of ketchup
  • visiting The Manneken Pis (some things you just never forget)
  • my brother being the first American born Belgian Gille 
  • A carnival ride in the form a giant King Kong. You sat in his hand and he raised you over his head
  • the importance of bicycles (Nana says the Tour de France passed by our house once)
  • I got lost at a football game once and was eventually found by a French speaking family
  • entertaining my sisters and brother’s friends with tennis racket versions of KISS songs

Random memories.

Mostly I remember the color grey.

We lived in a huge, but cold, old Belgian home. It was grey.

The sky was grey almost year-round. And it rained, snowed, or sleeted a lot.

This morning I rode my bike at sunrise. It was cold. wet, and grey. The color of Belgium.

The streams at the side of the rode swelled with rain water, spilling over rocks, following a path. Gradually carving their own

I pretended to be my favorite Belgian cycslists. Belgian bike riders are hard men. They thrive on bad roads and in inclimate weather. Their toughness is legendary. It’s a cycling mad country.

This morning I descended several climbs and wished I felt more Belgian. The sleet stung my face at high speed. I closed my eyes on a 40mph descent to keep the sharp pellets out of my eyes. The softness of my life. I tucked my head low and glanced up at intervals to see the road.

I breathed out heavily as I climbed. My own breath clouding my vision. A constant headwind in every direction.

It’s these mornings I feel most alive.

Shivering. Toes numb. Double layered gloves.

Sleet and rain. And grey like I knew as a child.

Perhaps there’s some Belgian left in me after all.

I love you,

– Daddy

TRAINING:

Wednesday: Trail run – 1 hour

Thursday: Swam 1000 / Ran 5 miles

Friday: Swam 1000

Saturday: Biked 1 hour 45 minutes