The Dads at the kid's clinic are a little paunchier than they were. They gradually gravitate towards each other, stand in a semi-circle, avoiding the intimacy of face to face conversation, arms crossed against heavy chests. Weight on their heels, three quarter length shorts revealing still-shaven legs.
They watch their offspring with feigned disinterest, offer hesitant encouragement, careful not to crush the petals when the interest is just beginning to bloom. They pretend not to care, but they make sure their kid has the best of the shared bikes.
They squint into the sun and slowly reveal their pride with deprecating jokes. They laugh together, scratch an itch, recognize it in each other.
When they talk to me it's as if I'm in my twenties. They look me up and down and ask about the racing, the training, the bike I'm riding, and tell me I'm looking fit, even when I'm not.