My wife asked me yesterday morning if I’d ride with her later in the evening after she dropped the girls off at swimming practice. We’d talked about doing this for quite a while but just never got around to taking the bikes down there… My kids swim in a small city where a lot of the decent, fun hills are located so what she was proposing meant a fair amount of climbing. She then texted two of my friends to see if they wanted to join us. They both showed up, we were four:
Now, you’ll notice there are four in the photo and that I’m not in there, so that means I’m the one holding the camera, off the back a little bit (for safety)… My three favorite words.
We met in the parking lot at the high school. Chuck had been there already, to get some extra miles while our new friend, Ron, showed up right on time. We headed out into the perfect, clear, cool evening breeze on our way to a subdivision notorious for its hills. We climbed and descended, chatted, and generally took it fairly easy while keeping a decent pace. It was one of those perfectly enjoyable paces where you know you’re working, but you’re just far enough below the red that even the tougher climbs are fun. You can’t beat rides like that, I absolutely love ’em.
We approached the subdivision somewhere around nine or ten miles into the ride and the climbing really ramped up. A quarter of the way up the first hill, we noticed another cyclist up ahead. Now, when my wife isn’t with me, another cyclist ahead is almost impossible for me to not chase. When my wife’s in the group, I can let him/her go for her sake. My wife asked, “It’s killing you, isn’t it?”
I replied, “No, I can let it go…”
Then I started thinking about it… Oops.
We wound our way around the subdivision and when we reached the bottom of a little climb we saw the solo cyclist look back to see where we were. He must have noticed that we’d closed the gap a little bit because you could instantly see a change in his cadence as he tried to get up the hill. The four of us had a chuckle watching it. Ooh, now I wanted to go get him. That’s exactly when my wife uttered my three favorite words to hear on a group ride: “Go get him”.
I passed Ron and Chuck, trying to contain myself and build my speed slowly. The three caught on and I got to work on the quarter-mile that separated us. I had him within a mile. I love reeling people in… and there was my wife, at the back of the train. I can’t put into words how proud I was that she’d stayed with us – I really had to drop the hammer to make up that much ground in such a short distance. It turned out that Greg, the guy we caught, was a part of the Flying Rhinos Cycling Club – a group that we regularly see represented at a lot of the local supported rides, and in force at the Assenmacher 100. We finished the rest of the 25 mile loop without much incident (I missed a couple of turns while in the lead because I didn’t know the route) and rolled into town with a smile on our faces… Until I saw the City Limit sign.
My wife and I have developed a penchant for racing for signs. I saw this one with only a few hundred feet to spare so I leapt out of the saddle to start a sprint… I took the sign uncontested just as my wife realized what was going on.
A quick loop through one last subdivision and we were on the home-stretch where I took those photos. We finished with 24-3/4 miles in 1h:27m, an average of just over 17 mph. A great average considering the amount of intense climbing we did. It was one of those perfect nights, just fast enough that you know you did something but slow enough that there weren’t any “Man, I can’t hold this pace for much longer” moments. It was one of those, “Geez, this is why I bought a bicycle in the first place – this is what I always wanted, nights.
And I got to hear my three favorite words. Thanks sunshine.
Now, humorously enough, my wife ribbed me about wanting to chase Greg down as we were packing up the bikes afterward, she had a chuckle about how I so much love being the guy they send out to reel people in… so I looked right at her and said, “Honey you’re right, but you like me being that guy too. You think it’s sexy.”
Bullseye. She even admitted it. Enthusiatically. Damn I love cycling with my wife.