We did the Anthem Moonlight Ride in Richmond again this year. We had to skip last year due to the ride conflicting with our beach week. This ride offers 8 and 17 mile courses that are family friendly and the event is a lot of fun overall.
Typically I get pumped up for this event – prepping glow sticks and various other decorations for our bikes so they light up in the night. But this year I found myself in a bit of a funk the afternoon before the ride. I wasn’t all that excited. I actually considered staying home. The rest of the family didn’t seem overly excited either. I questioned why we were doing this?
I asked the boys if they wanted to go and they said they did, without any noticeable doubt in their voice. So we went, we decorated our bikes (although with a lot less flair, and time, as the years before). We merged in with the crowds, verified our riding buddies (this year my oldest and I paired up together) and we rode. And most of all, we had fun.
During the ride I realized why we do this – we do it because it is an experience. It isn’t about the t-shirt, it isn’t about a finishing time, it isn’t about the goodie bag. It is about the experience, about saying “Hey, remember when we rode that ride and we saw …”.
With about 3 miles left my oldest took a spill. He was heading down a hill on a particularly dark section of road and lost control when he hit a bump. He was fine but shaken. He recovered. The lesson learned in that moment was worth the time spent getting ready for the event. When you fall, you get back up.
So the next time you second guess doing a family event because it is inconvenient or perhaps not what you really want to do at the time, consider what value the experience can have. Consider what the time together might do for you, what lessons you might learn, what good (and bad) times you might share. Time together is rarely a bad thing, there is always something good in it. Don’t let them pass you by lightly.