Freedom and the Art of Riding Without Training Wheels


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I watched you ride off, across the empty parking lot – through the waves of heat.

You gave me a quick glance as you turned to come back, still a bit unsteady. It didn’t take long to teach you, Max. We worked together for about 5 minutes on balance. At first I held one handle of your bike with one hand and held the other on your back as you pedaled across the parking lot. Then I moved my hand from your back to the seat – also eventually letting go of the handlebar. I gave you a soft shove and lots of praise.

“Max! You’re doing it! You’re doing it!” I shouted. I showed you my hands to prove I was longer holding on to you or your bike. 

Your eyes lit up and that little cowboy grin of yours very slowly took shape. 

And that was it. You were launched into a whole new world of freedom. Within minutes of that first solo, training wheel free, ride you were flying – only the occasional spill and dusting of gravel and dirt from your hands and knees, slowed you down. By the end of the day you were launching off of the curbs and racing your friends.

“Watch this!” you shouted time and again throughout the day. I admit the overwhelming sense of pride and even a hint of sadness I felt as I watched you riding without me holding on to you. 


Kate, we taught you to ride without training wheels as well on the 4th of July. It took a bit longer, but I was no less proud of you – and you made me smile with the frequent “breaks” we had to take to sit in the shade together. 

That evening we went to Dr. Hutton’s house for the annual potluck and 4th of July fireworks display. It’s one of our oldest family traditions and you kids love everything about it; the food, the tractor, the other kids, and of course the over-the-top fireworks show Dr. Hutton puts on. Max, you got to light the cannon this year that kicks off the show! It was a big day for you.


The following day was full of family time as well. We rode bikes for hours and then set up what I call the back yard redneck water park. All 3 of you had a blast going down your slide into the kiddie pool and spraying each other with the hose. 


We camped out in the backyard that night – a first for all three of you. We had hotdogs on an open fire, went on a “night hike” with flashlights down to the creek, and made s’mores before passing out in the tent. You 3 slept soundly. I tossed and turned a bit all night tired from a long training weekend, trying to find a comfortable way to sleep on the ground.



We woke up with the sun and the sound of a hot air balloon passing over the tent and our backyard.

I watched it lift and drift into the distance and thought about the joy of such weekends, freedom to fly, and riding without training wheels. You giggled, squirmed in your sleeping bags, and began talking about riding bikes again.

I love you,

– Daddy


Fri: Rode 58 miles / ran 2 miles BRICK

Sat: Ran 12 miles

Sun: rest

Mon: Ran 4.5 miles / Swam 2000

Tues: rest / we went to Nashville Shores Waterpark for your swim team party, Izzy. You have had a great season! You’ve turned into a top-notch butterflier and your other strokes are great too. Your relay won by an entire pool length at your swim meet on Monday afternoon – against strong competition.


Thanks to GU Energy for getting me through a strong weekend of training and family time! The new Chocolate Peanut Butter and Salted Watermelon flavor gels kept me going on my ride and run and the Recovery Shake is crazy good (I add a little natural peanut butter to my shake as well):