Mountain biking at nearly 6,000 feet: And a child shall lead us

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On a break from mountain bike riding on the Sawtooth Trail in Truckee, California. From left, youngest son, Chris, grandson Brody and his dad and my oldest, Brendan. The French-looking guy with the jaunty helmet on declined to be identified.


The day that we arrived in Truckee, California from Belize, my sons Brendan and Chris and six-year-old grandson, Brody, decided what I needed most was a mountain bike ride.

Me, at 67 years old. After flying up through the Yucatan to Mexico City, to Los Angeles and, finally, Reno. From sea level to nearly 6,000 feet….


A mountain bike ride.


Well. OK.

On a beer break during a mountain bike ride through Truckee backcountry with Brendan, Chris, his dog Grizzly and grandson Brody.
Brody leads the way on a rocky segment of Sawtooth Trail in Truckee, California.

So, somehow I found myself gasping in the thin mountain air and desperately trying to keep up with the boys on the Sawtooth Trail. And, I kid you not, Brody was leaving me in his dust. And rubble. And turns. And climbs. And, yes, even the straightaways. I could not keep up. This kid is fearless on a bike. And even more so on a snowboard. Which is how kids grow up in the mountains of Tahoe.


Finally, at one fairly steep incline, Brody stopped to walk his bike. Right behind him, I sought to encourage the little fellow.


“Wow, Brody. You are doing great. Some of these hills are hard, even for me!”


Brody stops and turns to me, a tender and encouraging look on his face: “Grandpa, I’ve been biking for a long time. When you do it more, it will get easier for you, too.”




Beautiful scenery along the Sawtooth Trail in Truckee, California.


His dad, thinking Brody might need an assist, walked down the hill and offered to carry his bike to the top.
Brody leaned into Brendan and whispered, “I’m OK, Dad. But I think you better help Grandpa.”


Brendan almost rolled down the hill laughing as he came up to me and relayed the message.


Brody’s back at the end of the ride…..


I got through it, though, and Brody and I had a great ride down the fire road to our car while Brendan and Chris tackled another more-challenging segment of the Sawtooth Trail.


Afterward, Chris and I spent the afternoon splitting and stacking his firewood pile for the winter.


Honestly, I don’t know whether to be flattered that these guys think these are age-appropriate activities for an old man or if they are secretly trying to get their hands on their inheritance … of which they must know by now, there is none.


The start of Christopher’s winter woodpile. The bit on the right is mine and you can see how long it took me to recall the art of stacking wood in nice level planes. It has been, oh, 40 years since I split and stacked wood.

2 thoughts on “Mountain biking at nearly 6,000 feet: And a child shall lead us

    Lisa Castro Waldorf said:
    September 23, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Woohoo Bob!! Awesome job! Guess what? I just biked that same loop with friends a couple weeks ago! We moved to Truckee a little over a year ago. I literally live a mile or two from the trailhead. Are you still here or headed back to Belize? Would love to see ya!! 🙂


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      September 23, 2017 at 11:56 am

      Lisa! That is amazing. I wish I’d known. I’m back in Belize. Rose took a detour to Ecuador with her daughter and returns next week. I’m sure we’ll be back as I have grandsons in both Truckee and Verdi! As well as the sons and daughters-in-law who made it all possible! My e-mail is I recall you guys were avid mountain bikers in San Diego!


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