Less than a week until "The Fourth"

How is this possible?  It seems like DS just finished school, but it's already been almost 4 weeks and it always seems like once we pass the 4th of July that Summer seems to hit warp speed -- back-to-school ads are everywhere and the next thing we know, we're returning to the regular school-year routine.  It's bittersweet.  I think the worst part of this (at least for me) is the realization that the long, dreary, cold days of Winter are approaching.  Already we're on the backslide to shorter days.  I loathe that part!

For now we're really enjoying the middle of Summer.  We've had a really nice one, thus far, weather-wise.  We could use more rain (not as much as they do in CO...the wildfires, homes lost, and evacuations truly make my heart ache for those folks), but I love that it's not been oppressively humid (which is generally the norm when we have heat).  We're in the midst of a heatwave, but relative to how it could feel and what people a few hours south are contending with, it's no biggie.  Just more reason to lay low and stay hydrated.

We've had great opportunities for lots of time on our bikes.  This weekend we participated in a charity century ride (Allegrina 100) benefitting a new non-traditional students scholarship fund at my alma mater (Grand Valley State U.).  A friend set up the event in honor of her late father.  She has been organizing this ride for 4 years, now.  The first couple of years were very casual and word-of-mouth.  Last year it grew to ~100 riders. This year she decided to make it more official and use it as a means to give back to the community.

Of all of the centuries I've done, this has been my favorite (both years that I've had the pleasure of participating).  Rather than everyone rolling out at random we all start together and do 3 loops.  Each loop leaves more-or-less on a schedule that allows people to all start the loops in decent sized groups.  It's so much more social than a typical century where 2-5 people may ride together, only socializing with others in passing.  For half of the first loop I barely had to pedal, as we had a fairly large double-paceline sharing the effort.  The ride ended up being my fastest and easiest century, yet.

The "dids," courtesy of Josh D. (tandem stoker #3)
DS rode the first leg on the back of our tandem with DH.  For the 2nd leg our friend with a broken arm assumed stoker duties.  And for the final leg a friend who is as tall as DH took his first stoker ride ever behind Derek.  It was comical...he had to sit upright for most of the 22 mile jaunt, because the rear of the bike is not really designed for a tall dude.

Between loops were were treated to PB&J sandwiches, drinks, pasta salad, and AWESOME kettle chips from the Saugatuck Brewing Company.  I could not eat enough of those.

After the ride we all reconvened at the start for a wonderful party with several local (and awesome!) beers, pizza, and other tasty calorie replenishers.  A great day was had by all!

In addition to road rides we're getting some mountain bike time in, as well.  Last night we joined the little local family group at a trail just a few miles from our home.  Dane zipped around on my "former" bike and I am borrowing a friend's mtn. bike until I am able to get one of my own (since the rugrat has all but commandeered mine).

Here he is zipping along on only his 2nd real trail ride.  And tackling a sandy, rooty little dip with a quick uphill on the other side like it's nuthin'.

I am really looking forward to getting in some family trail rides, now.  DS is riding leaps and bounds better off-road than either his dad or I ever imagined he might.  He has great confidence on the bike, too...this may change once he has a real fall, but thus-far it's not at all an issue.  I hope it never is.  It's really fun to see him embrace something so healthy and empowering at such a relatively young age.  I am envious that I didn't have such an opportunity earlier in life.  Soon we have to take him for some REAL, more advanced single-track riding.  He seems very ready and it's now clear to me that it's only a matter of time before it will be ME trying to keep up with both of my guys. *sigh*

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