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Annual checkup




About the same time we moved to Rotorua to start the Nzo period of our lives, our son moved to Queenstown for snowboarding. Both moves turned out to be permanent. Living in these locations makes casual visits reliably difficult and expensive, so we see each other on an annual basis. Once a year we meet and we try to get a few rides in.

As a kid, Nath took a leaf out of my book. I hosed away all my energy on racing bikes, he spent his formative years mastering skateboarding, neither of us had much left over for school. Skateboarding more or less full-time does stuff to knees and ankles that snowboarding doesn’t fix. The transition to snow was quick but not painless. The snowboarding career was short. He went down south for the snow, but ended up staying for the dirt.

He always had bikes as a kid, and we dragged him along to mountain bike races once he was old enough. He never looked enthusiastic, but he was a young teenager, say no more.

When he was about 17 and beginning his career as a chef we left him in charge of the house while we went travelling for a couple of years. As soon as we were out of the way he made a full transition to mountain biker.

By the time we got home he had specialised in downhill. We developed an overlapping mountain biking programme, but in the venn diagram containing all mountain bikers we occupied different circles, which barely overlapped.

Then we went our separate ways, geographically speaking. We started making these, he created a new career making and riding  things like this. We have ridden together many times since, and it always underlines what a great sport we have for people of different ages and tastes to do together.

I could never keep up with him downhill but I could at least I could usually make him pay for getting to the top. The bike he was on most years was a sled, making up in sheer weight what it lacked in sensible gears. Every time he lifted whatever I was riding into the van he would mutter something about how I was cheating.

A year ago he turned up with a state of the art trail rig, and things got real. On his day, he got hard to deal with, but as most of his training was still on a twenty inch in mid-air, I could grind him down if I could trick him into a long outing.

This year, forget about it. Don’t know what he has been doing lately, but now he has to wait for me on the climbs as well as the drops. We had three weeks of the best rides together, we finished his visit off with three smashfests over two days, then he went south.

So did I, figuratively.

Came down with a cold and haven’t been on my bike since he left.




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