I always knew that Hunter would pass me as an athlete. I knew that he would turn into a 16 year old boy that eats a horse and goes faster, higher, farther that my comfort zone. What I wasn’t prepared for was when this started to happen at 9!
It all started with snowboarding, which he learned when he was 8. By 9 he had me beat for speed – his “tuck and go” approach to the hill leaves me in the dust. Now, I believe that I’m still a better snowboarder as I can turn on demand but I’m sure that he will conquer that this winter.
The confluence of Mountain Biking happened last summer (Hunter turned 10) when Tim built a bunch of wooden features in our yard and Hunter just launched himself into them. Thanks to the great coaches at Boreale Biking, he has learned all of the technical foundational skills and has super natural balance, which it seems that I don’t! He can ride a curb for blocks without falling off. His zero to 60 speed acceleration is really picking up and he can beat me in campground lap races. At the moment I’ve got him hands down for endurance, downhill steeps and jumps.
I am falling behind in kayaking thanks to the great job that Tim is doing as Hunter’s coach. Last summer Hunter learned to front surf and that gave him so much confidence. Tim’s throw bag technique let him get the feel of the waves and he just whizzed through the learning curve. This summer his goals are back surfing, spins, enders and cartwheels. During our month in Florida last winter, Hunter was in the pool everyday as part of Tim’s “rolling for dollars program”. It started with him having to do 25 rolls and then he was paid $1.00 dollar for every roll after that. This quickly became too easy so Tim taught him to do an offside roll. He got that so quickly that you couldn’t tell which was his onside or offside when he rolled. He topped out at 125 rolls one day! I should acknowledge that I used the pool time to learn my offside roll, but had a totally different experience and never reached mastery! Similar to biking, I am still ahead of Hunter on drops, but we’ll see if that lasts through our paddling trips this winter.
Hunter moved into the more advanced Kayak Club program this summer, which is full of teenagers. With him being 10, we weren’t sure how this was going to go so we watched the first 2 sessions rather than head off paddling ourselves. I had a major ah-ha at the 2nd session when the group was sitting in the eddy at the local spinwave and the teenagers shouted out “Hunter, show us how it’s done!”. Hunter had never gone in the spinwave before and I knew he had some anxiety about the feature. What I saw was him peel out of the eddy and into the wave without a moment’s hesitation. He side surfed, back surfed, flipped and swam but came up with a massive grin on his face. 2 weeks later and he is really comfortable in the wave, has been window shaded 3 times and just keeps going back for more.
My ah-ha was that if I didn’t do anything different in my kayaking, he was going to be light years ahead of me very quickly- UGH…
As I sit and write this I am coming off of a weekend long women’s Downhill Mountain Biking camp with Lorraine Blancher. Thanks to CMBC, our local mtn bike club, we were able to bring Lorraine up to the Yukon and run a camp for 12 women that were looking to take their skills to the next level. I was excited but anxious going into, yet knew that I needed to do it to keep pushing my comfort levels and skill progression. It was fabulous, amazing, challenging, uncomfortable and overall exhausting AND I learned a lot, improved my skills and moved myself back out front of Hunter until next summer (I think).
I am also heading off to Nelson, BC on Thursday to spend a week kayaking with the great folks from Endless Adventures. In addition to strengthening my creeking skills, I am going to learn to playboat. This is exciting and scary as I spend so much of my time avoiding the need to roll, and playboating is about controlling the chaos of the water feature and immersing yourself in the foam. Very much in line with Lorraine’s mountain bike teaching – be a pilot not a passenger on your bike, I will be working on being the pilot of my kayak as well!
One of the best things about Hunter is his humanistic nature. He is my biggest cheerleader and supporter, which is lovely and frustrating at the same time. He is the one to say “you can do it mom” when I’m debating some new feature on my bike or in my boat. He’s also the one to say “Great job!” when I have a good surf or a big jump. He’s also very generous with sharing of tips and tricks for how to do something… really? I’m getting instruction from my ten year old??? How can you get annoyed with the kid that you are working so hard to keep ahead of when he is so supportive??
I am happy that as a family we are very active and outdoor adventure oriented yet there are some days that I am exhausted by the constant pushing of my comfort zones, both at the physical and emotional level. We have a running joke called “get better” and I often contemplate the fact that better is an endless state of improvement, and I’m always there yet never there! I wonder if there is a maximum threshold that my system can take??? At the same time, I am so grateful to be living a full life. At 43, I am not ready nor willing to be left behind. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and live vicariously through anyone else. I’m sure that there are more epic crashes and fabulous bruises in my future but I’ll take them if it means more shared memories and family time together.