As near as I can remember, my father fell in love with bicycling when I was in middle school. By the time I began high school it had gone from a quite hobby to a full-blown obsession, complete with multiple bikes, insane amounts of gear, and as many bike rides as Dad could fit into his schedule.
I didn't get it.
I didn't get it at all.
What I have come to understand as an adult is that my family shares a unique brand of obsession with our hobbies. We never, ever just dabble in something. No, we almost never just try something. We DO, and we do it completely.
So it shouldn't really have come as a surprise - except for the fact that this was before the family obsessive personality was truly recognized - that Dad not only rode bikes all of the time, but he also watched biking events and read as much as he could about his new chosen sport. He lived and breathed cycling...and he still does.
Back in those days, Greg LaMond was the American hero of the Tour De France. His story was one of overcoming the odds, and that spoke to the farmer boy in my dad. Dad spent hours telling us all about Greg and the Tour, and our family love for the Tour De France began. Later, Dad would became a huge fan of Lance Armstrong's. He even traveled to France during the 2001 Tour so that he could ride the route that the racers would take, and then watch them later in the day. To this day, I think that trip was one of the highlights of his life. More recently, Dad traveled to the BMW training facility to ride with George Hincapie, who is his new biking hero. Last summer Dad followed the Tour of Missouri on his motorcycle - a new event that George easily won. The girls and I joined him downtown the day that a stage ended here, and two new biking fans were born that day. It was amazing!
Although I did the MS150 when I was 14 (That's a story for another day, as it mostly deals with proving someone wrong.), I really haven't shared my Dad's interest in biking. The Tour is the one exception, and it's something that does tie me to my Dad. That's why I'm choosing to celebrate the Tour De France this year by joining Le Tour De Fleece.
That, and I need to use up some fiber!