Such was the charge last evening. The weather, at least for cycling conditions, was brutal. 37 degrees (3 C) with a sustained 20-25 mph southwest wind with gusts north of 35 mph. I had the proper gear on north of my waist but was not adequately dressed from my waist to my ankles (temp dropped seven degrees in 30 minutes). During the seven mile warm-up for the advanced club ride I made the decision to skip the ride. I could have done it, at least the last eight miles would have been fun with a tailwind but I packed up my bike instead, opting to ride this afternoon when the wind should be around 6 mph with sunny skies and reports say 15 degrees warmer. There were other factors to consider as well, such as having to get back so my wife could run and the danger inherent in group cycling in a huge crosswind (we were getting blown all over the place on the warm-up), but let’s not make this unnecessarily long.
As I was packing my bike up one of the racers, my age, let the suggestion fly that I may be a vagina.
Now, I am particularly fond of my wife’s so at her request I no longer use that term and opt for “wuss” in lieu because she’s right; I respect the va-Jay-Jay, therefore to use the term in a derogatory manner just doesn’t make sense. The importance here is how I handled the charge.
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard or read a tirade because the charge of “wuss” was leveled, I’d be rich.
First and foremost, he was right with the exception of a poor choice of noun. I did wuss out and because I’m bright enough to know, and laid back enough to accept, that by leaving I let my group down. How so? Well, with nasty weather like yesterday evening, the turnout was way down anyway. My leaving meant that the group would have to work that much harder because I wouldn’t be taking a 1/2 mile pull every four or five miles.
See, most people don’t think like this and the world might be a better place if we did. Most people hear a charge like that (the first time it’s ever been leveled in my direction) and they’re off to the races, blathering on about misogyny or something, allowing emotion to get in the way of what should be a constructive learning moment. Sure the charge was pretty ludicrous. With rare exception (last night being one), I’m a badass – and the fact that I think highly of myself has a lot to do with how I responded: “You know Dave, you’re one of the few people tough enough to make that charge properly” (and he is – he’s strong). That’s the second part of the equation… Dave is that tough. He’s a badass’s badass.
In the end, we laughed and I still headed home for a nice hot bowl of clam chowder…and it still took three hours for me to warm up. I almost thought I got myself a cold for a minute.
When I see him next Tuesday I’ll apologize for letting the group down and all will be forgiven, and we’ll go on. The important fact here is that I choose to be the guy who people want to have around – not the guy that causes eyes to roll when they see me heading up the road to the parking lot.
Last night I wasn’t a vagina because vaginas are, for the most part, awesome. But I was a wuss – and for today, I’m okay with that.
UPDATE: Apologies to those who received an email with an improper link to this post… In my haste, I didn’t pay attention to the spelling of “Hardcore” in the title – the “d”, even though I hit the key (probably not hard enough) didn’t register so I had to change the title creating a small tear in the ether/link continuum.