Joffe-Walt and her dad, Brian Walt, soldier on during a 200-mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland, Ore.
Joffe-Walt and her dad, Brian Walt, soldier on during a 200-mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland, Ore. MarathonFoto
To me, riding to Portland, Ore., from Seattle sounded like a lovely weekend excursion. I'd sail across rolling green hills, think about life and how beautiful the Northwest is, wind in my curls. Perhaps my long flowing skirt would shift in the breeze.
Plus, I'd be doing the ride with my dad, who lives in Massachusetts. We don't see each other enough, so this nice little ride would give us some quality time.
But the training was brutal. On my first 70-mile ride, I felt the need for some performance-enhancing drugs. For my dad, the training was a driving force to get him in shape. He has struggled to stay fit and keep his weight in check my whole life.
But celebrating my dad's love of exercise has always been a really easy, simple way to cheer him in the right direction: Simple until you sign up to ride 200 miles in one weekend.
After a few setbacks and a lot of pedaling, we cross a long, steel bridge over the Columbia River. A whole lane is closed off for us. We are thousands of bikers — a long bobbing monster of helmets.
I think about how my dad taught me to ride my bike almost 20 years ago, how he let go of the handlebars and stood behind doing a crazy cheer. I think about how its strange that now I, his child, can feel proud of him.