We meet then, appropriately, via an interruption. My son and I were standing in the line to register for a day at Windrock Bike Park, a hardscrabble collection of steep descents and unpleasant terrain just west of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It was our first visit to the place and we had no idea what we’d be seeing or riding. All we knew was that there was a no-entry-fee race being held in the afternoon, and that there was some sort of youth division.
“Should I race?” John asked, leaning close to me so I could hear him over the conversational madness of the queue. This was also the line for Windrock’s ATV and SxS trails, so we were very close to a lot of very loud people. They were also very fat. I can say that because I, too, am overweight — but I was between fifty to a hundred pounds short of the average off-roader in our vicinity, regardless of gender.
“Well, John,” I said, loud enough for him to hear me but no louder, “we have no idea what the race course will be. It might be a lot of really steep and rocky stuff, which you don’t like riding. Or it might be ten big jumps in a row, and you’ll be the only kid to clear them.”
“HE AIN’T GONNA BE THE ONLY ONE, BUDDY.”