Tommy Latham, Author of The Dad Formula and Stuck at The Top
Don’t have time? Just skip ahead to lesson 1.5 🙂
© 2023 Tommy Latham. SignalPoint Design // The Dad Formula // The Dad Hustle // The Dad Formula Podcast // Daily Drive for Dads Podcast // Fitness Powertool // TommyX Sports & Fitness Marketing // The Kajabi ProI work and play somewhere west of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, USA208 / 777-8942 Email
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Thomas came running inside to tell me.
“Dad, you should see what Aidan and Marcus are doing down the driveway!”
“They have friends over.”
“Nothing wrong with that.”
“No, Dad, it’s WHAT they’re doing!”
“Oh, do they have guns?”
“No Dad – worse. They’re on their bikes!”
It was what they called a “Road Gap”. When I walked out on that crisp October day, I saw it. It was really a thing of beauty – a log structure jutting out of the hillside in the cutbank of the driveway like the entrance to a mine.
As I looked closer, I saw that it was a ramp… a launching ramp. The top was adorned with wood planks, crudely nailed onto the log frame, and the end… well, the end just jutted out into nothingness. We have a split driveway on a hillside. The upper driveway leads to our house, and the lower fork takes you into the field below our house.
They had effectively used the two driveways to create a multi-story mountain bike park feature that would make a Red Bull Rampage rider salivate.
“Dad, it’s called the Summerfield Bike Park Road Gap”, said Aidan, as he and his brother and two friends pushed their bikes up the hill to test it out.
I was all too aware that they had turned our 10 acres of mountain hillside into Summerfield Bike Park, mostly because more and more teens were showing up to ride it, many of whom I didn’t even know. “Ride at Your Own Risk and Don’t Sue Me I’m Poor” was the message on the crudely made sign I had affixed to the tree at the entrance to the Trail with a much better looking sign made by my son that advertised the trail as “Organ Donor”.
But back to the road gap. And I’ll try to draw an illustration of it and put it here on this page.
As 4 teenagers readied themselves for the descent (with a few girls watching, plus a few stray younger kids who had wandered over from SEAL Team 10 – I’ll explain later), I decided I should inspect this structure. It was then that I saw a sticker-bombed Subaru parked on the lower driveway, just below the end of the log ramp. Okay, so the car is there for… oh.
Aidan yells, “Sending!” I knew enough to know that this meant a rider was coming down to hit a feature, so I stood back and watched in amazement and horror as Aidan, then Marcus, then Ben, then Ethan tore down the trail, rode over the upper driveway, did another drop down to the ramp, launched off the ramp, sailed through the air over Cousin Ben’s Subaru on the lower driveway, then finally landed 20 feet or more down the hill below the driveway, and eventually stopped somewhere – who knows where – maybe in the next county.
That was the road gap. Just one of many feats in the life of my kids. My son Marcus would contunue on that year to shatter his collarbone downhill biking, get a plate installed, then bend the plate and break the collarbone again skiing, then get the plate removed, and break the bone again out “drifting” in his car.
My kids have jumped off roofs, gotten a chainsaw injury, accidentally lit their bedroom carpet on fire from indoor fireworks, glacier climbed Mount Hood, hunted their own dinner, and bucked trees and loaded firewood to stay warm all winter.
But they don’t know how to play Call of Duty, Minecraft or Fortnite.