DIRT Dad Jamie Jackson
I am a stay at home dad and triathlete living in my home town (and modern architectural mecca) of Columbus, Indiana with my wife of 11 years, Kristin, and our son, Gabe.
We have experienced a lot during our time together, but 2017 was one of the most amazing and dramatic of them all. That year, I became a triathlete, we had a surprise adoption, and I battled through a significant hip deformity and injury.
Our adoption process started with a catholic charities based nonprofit adoption firm. We didn’t have any feedback or progress for a year. After that, we realized one of our co-workers had a friend who was the head of a for-profit agency and we switched. Within a week, we got a match. But, 6 months later, that fell through.
Three more months of no progress and then suddenly we got a call while I was on a bike ride. Gabe was born in Louisiana and his mom wanted us to be his adoptive parents. We packed and left three hours later. On the ride we chose a name and met him around 3am the next morning.
The entire process took 18 months from starting the adoption to process to meeting Gabe. Gabe was 5 weeks premature. He was in the NICU for 5 days before coming home with us. After a few weeks in a local B&B, the paperwork was processed, and we took Gabe back to Indiana with us.
As amazing as the adoption was, the hip injury was equally devastating. What I thought was a groin and hip flexor issue turned out to be a labral tear caused by a spur on my femoral head. The doctor looked at my X-rays and simply said “stop running”. No treatment, no support, nothing.
I sat there in shock and all I could think about was never being able to run with Gabe. We spoke with a friend in pediatric orthopedics and after her initial shock she recommended going to another specialist in Indianapolis. It was there that I met the Doctor that would eventually correct the femoral head deformity, repair the labral tear, and allow me to run again. Gabe and I have put in many miles together as I prepare for my first half ironman.
I took a leave of absence last year from my technical leadership career with Cummins Inc and it has been amazing spending so much time with my little toddler. At the same time, it has been difficult losing a large part of my identity and social network.
I joined the local mom’s club and now ride locally for Bicycle Station Multisport. But it has been DIRT that really helped me with both an identity (hopefully a positive one) and a social outlet. The dad friendly ride times, personalities, supporting nature, and terrible jokes have had a huge positive impact on my life.
Since joining the group, I have progressed from the tail of the mouse in cat D, to the head, and now barely hanging onto the tail of the lion in Cat C.
DIRT has fulfilled that sense of accomplishment I’ve been missing since stepping away from my career. From being able to lead Cat D friendly rides, to being a guinea pig for the DIRT team time trials, doing race reports and weekly recaps, and tying up the voice channels with baby shark renditions. I hope to continue to support our lower category riders and the larger DIRT team as I can.
Thank you to everyone for welcoming me into the team and pushing me to constantly be better! I am riding longer, faster and am a whole lot happier!