Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | September 23, 2006

Mount Sinai

When my sister was eight years old and I a mere five years of age, our parents bought us our first bikes. Her’s was a beautiful beast of a ride. It had a shiny silver frame with a pink saddle padded with more cushion than a case of depends. Hanging from the handle bars were multicolored tassels that eventually ended up wearing down from years of doing what kids do best, being a kid. Hanging between the monkey handle bars was a factory Huffy sign stating the name of the bike. That bike paired with my sister’s riding ability lived up to the name Pink Thunder. They were a force to be reckoned with for sure. After school she would run home, change her clothes and defeat the world masquerading her Wonder Woman underwear. Yes, indeed – she owned about five pairs. I’d trail after her while the training wheels on my Strawberry Shortcake bike rattled against the pavement. Ratta tat tat. I hated the sound of the wheels banging against the concrete sidewalk. Ratta tat tat. When the training wheels finally came off my Father held on to the back of the bike until he realized he needed to let me go. I rode down the hill in our suburban neighborhood and into an embankment landing upside down and on my behind. Looking down at my scrapped knee I felt the blood drain down my leg. Over the hill I could hear the sound of my mother’s shrill yelling in her Sunday best, “Ken! Can you see her? Gosh damn it! I can’t believe you’d send her down a hill,” a millisecond later Pink Thunder crested the top of the hill as my Father ran two steps behind my sister. Standing a hundred yards from me my Father glanced down without pity. I stared at the giant in front of me returning the stare dumbfounded by this feeling of falling. My sister glided around on Pink Thunder telling me to do it again. I couldn’t cry despite my ill fated attempts. In true Little Mermaid fashion I continued to stare at my Dad wondering – where do I go from here? When he finally spoke I heard the command.

“Now you know what it’s like to fall,” he sighed at my stance, “get back up.”

Following my sister up the hill she’d sneak peeks in the pocket of space between her shoulder and handle bars to make sure I was following. In her own special way, she needed to know I could keep up. Around the Henry clan we expect a lot from ourselves and more from our loved ones. I climbed the hill knowing my Father was walking behind me….in case I fell again.

Years later after a stint in California and realizing there are East Coast People, West Coast People, and then there are Texans, I’d learn strength comes from with in and those small little lessons you learn when you are but a spec of a person. I raced road bikes for Sun & Ski Sports and fell many many times. I learned what it’s like to hit the pavement at 32 miles an hour and clean asphalt out of your skin…with tweezers. Two years into my cycling days I talked my Father into riding the Houston to Austin MS150 with me and three years later he continues to ride. Last weekend he completed the MS150 in Cherryhill, NJ to the shore and two weeks ago he called me and told me I need to go to Vegas.

Yes Vegas.

Dad? Is that you?

Thursday morning I leave for Las Vegas. I will be there four nights and five days. Two of those days will be spent at the largest cycling convention in the nation. I’m a little nervous considering the last convention I attended found me face down & ass up falling down an escalator. If I wind up that way again– well – let’s just hope it’s for different reasons like I’m lying on the float in a pool at The Palms.

A proper thanks go out to a certain comeidan and boss for giving us the hook up at the hotel. Thanks Buddy.


  1. I remember someone telling me once that to be a success, all I have to do is get up one more time than life knocks me down. I don’t think it was my father, but it’s just the kind of thing he’d say.

    I know that doesn’t seem to relate to anything you posted, but it’s what I thought of when I read your memory. I hope it was more or less the message you were trying to get across.
    (Oh, and you left out another kind of people. Midwesterners. We’re a whole other kettle of fish than those other kinds.)

  2. Have fun and good luck! I hope you end up on a pool float.

    I like the new look too…

  3. Hi long time lurker.

    Interbike… I am so jealous.. Have fun

  4. sounds like our families have alot in common, sass.

  5. I think you need to feel what it’s like to fall down. It easies the fear and allows you to get back up.

  6. I love the new look 🙂

    And I guess when you fell down the escalator and landed ass up, meant you just got up and kept going, right?

    There is something definitely special about all the Texan women I have known. ~grin~


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