I realized in this last week that I am not a very great sister. I’m the sort of sibling who expects way too much, won’t help you decide what to wear/pack/eat, and will confiscate your gameboy indefinitely. But I’ll back up a bit.
Last week I drove down to Sun Valley to see my family at nationals. As I am now a definite “quitter”, I wasn’t sure how the whole thing would hit me, but it actually didn’t suck too much; it turns out that the bike world (gasp!) continues to function without me. In fact, most people hadn’t even noticed I was gone- I had to tell a lot of them that I wasn’t racing, and as I’d neglected to prepare a set of reasons why, my answer tended to vary. I told some that I’m boycotting UCI racing. I told others that I had no desire to ride my bike up a shitty fireroad. I made myself sound way nicer than I am and told some that I just came to pass bottles to Jack, and I simply told others that I quit. For some the explanation came easy, for others I almost broke into tears. So it goes.
I rode both courses (the amateur version was way cooler) touched base with the trailmaster and other old friends, and did some fun riding with my parents and brothers. The trails in Sun Valley are like flowy golden rollercoasters- totally rad. Then, after one last vegan meal with my hippie parents, I stole both my brothers and forced them to come back to Montana with me.
Did I do it because I thought they’d actually enjoy it here, or because I’m lonely and I want to have people around me who are powerless to leave? The world may never know. What we do know is that it has been a trying week for the Tanner boys.
On day one I decided to take us rock climbing. Gingerboy led beautifully, setting up a top rope for his less adept siblings- I did a lap, then tied a dubious Jack into a harness for his very first climb outside. He started off enthusiastically enough, but upon reaching the first overhang was suddenly stricken by the tightness of his shoes, the scaryness of the route, a spider in that crack etc. etc. and decided that down was wiser than up. A nicer sibling would have cheerfully lowered him back to earth, ruffled his hair, said something along the lines of “good try, sport!” But I let him hang.
I let him hang there for nearly 20 minutes and I refused to let him down.
And then something amazing happened; I watched him decide to try. His 12 year old body became fluid and adept with determination- he sent the overhang and slowly finished the climb, gradually refusing to answer our (somewhat jeering) calls and focusing instead on reaching the top. As I still occasionally see him in my minds eye as an infant just learning to sit up, this was an incredibly cool transformation to witness. My baby brother! Climbing 5.9 like a real person!
When he came down he was still mad at us. I couldn’t have been prouder.
On day two I decided to take us mountain biking. Did I realize no one had brought water? Yes. Was I going to pack their bags for them? No way. You can guess how that one turned out. I offered everyone ice cream afterwards for being such good sports (they weren’t really good sports) but the Daywalker was so traumatized that he just got a cold drink. Jack accepted some sherbert, but he didn’t really seem to enjoy it. Sorry, guys.
On day three I decided to take us to the library (This is post gameboy confiscation) It seemed like a good rest day activity, but then I realized that there’s no point in renting books from a place you’ll be leaving in two days. Still, I was fed up with hearing their voices, so I set them loose to get into whatever they could find and told them to meet me in two hours- it was not to be. I felt guilty after about 45 minutes and went to go collect them again.
Today I think I’ll be taking them on a hike. Maybe I’ll pack water and spare clothing for them. Maybe I’ll bring a chocolate bar for the top. Maybe I’ll let them stop and rest when they get tired. Then again, maybe I’ll just run ahead and poke fun at their pathetic labors to keep up. You’ll thank me when you’re older! I’ll yell.
I just don’t know how else to do it.
Hopefully they take something positive from this whole trip because, despite how it may seem, I really do love my brothers.