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Tuesday Night Club Ride: F***! Edition

April 2016
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I rarely have anything to complain about when it comes to a Club Ride, I have a tendency to be rather blasé about the particulars.  It doesn’t matter to me where or when I get dropped, other people’s attitudes, things of that nature.  Now repeated poor riding amongst some of our group can raise my hackles at times but generally speaking I’m pretty laid back about the whole thing.

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Last night, I wasn’t so lucky.  My wife came with.  It was cold, just above freezing, and a lot windier than what was called for in the forecast.  Not a good combination.

Rather than get into the particulars, she was dropped ten miles out when she failed to get on the train as it rolled out shortly after we picked up the last straggler.  Whatever her reason for hesitating, she did and she never recovered though she gave it a valiant effort, even hitting 30 mph at one point with a tailwind…

To start the ride, I noticed she was in trouble right out of the gate.  She never connected with the main group for some reason, so when I looked back somewhere around mile five to make sure my wife was there, she and a few of my friends were off by as much as a half-mile.  I made the decision to leave the main group and pull for hers.  I sped up and let my buddy Mike in on my intentions and then slipped quietly off the back.  Mike came with me and after a mile or two we had our own little six-person pace line rolling.  When she caught up, she thanked me for dropping but said it wasn’t necessary.  Our group soon became three as soon as we turned into a heavy headwind.  Between Mike and I and my wife we had no problem maintaining a 17 mph pace into the wind but that turned out to be too much for the guys at the back.  We dropped and waited for them twice before dropping them for good.

Mike, my wife and I trudged on into the headwind at a fairly easy 17 mph until we finally caught a break with a crosswind.  The pace picked up but only a little, and we cruised on in a comfortable echelon.  The last big hill before the spot where we all meet to form up again is a tricky one.  You’ve got a long, easy downhill that’s easy to hit 35 on.  After that, there’s a flat stretch that goes for about a quarter-mile before it ramps up.  My wife was leading the downhill out by request and stayed out front what both Mike and I felt was a little bit too long as she’s wont to do…  This, for the uninitiated, is quite normal, and a huge mistake.  In fact, it was humorously pointed out by McMike after the ride that I had and still have this problem (though I’ve gotten it under wraps of late).  The problem is in wanting to do one’s fair share – and in thinking that fair share includes burning oneself out too soon.  This thinking is incorrect but it’s hard to take a short turn up front when the guys you’re riding with are taking 2 mile-long turns.

So I’m faced with a dilemma – technically I had been ever since I knew my wife was lagging behind…  Do I give up my draft with the gang and go back to get her, surely dooming myself to slogging the next several miles out pulling my wife home, knowing that when I get back there she’s going to say, “You didn’t have to come back, I’d have been okay”…  Or, do I press on, finish, then go back and get her?  I opted for B.

Ninety nine and a half times out of a hundred, that was the right choice.  Not last night.  We argued for almost two hours about what I should have done differently.  It didn’t end well.

Fortunately this morning things went a lot better but it’s still a mess.  Up until last night we were under the agreement that if she was dropped, I’d finish with my ride and come back to get her.  On the other hand, the fact that I have cut off the back of the group to stay with my wife several times has apparently changed the rules leaving me up shit creek (just outside of Harrisburg, PA) without a paddle.

My first thought, of course, was that my wife and I should simply stop riding together.  Nothing like jumping to freaking conclusions like a frankie first-year…  I thought better of that with my second thought though because we’ve had a full year of fun riding together and I’m not about to throw all of that good away over what will eventually amount to a little disagreement over one ride.

Of course, this is the fun part:  Trying to figure out what you did wrong when you don’t think you did anything wrong – especially when your spouse is in exactly the same boat.  Good times!

 

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13 Comments

  1. wanderwolf says:

    Hard times. I see your reasoning, and that it’s a pain to sacrifice part of one’s own workout to go back and help when all you hear is “you didn’t need to, I’d have been fine without you,” but I also see how she may have felt like she needs to say that, and was hoping you would recognize that she does appreciate that you drop back to be with her, and that you can tell when she’s struggling. Ultimately though, it sounds like it was a really tough ride and sometimes the exhaustion brings out the worst in us. But then, even once we admit this, it’s hard to admit we overreacted.
    Maybe come to a compromise and admit that you figured she was okay and you didn’t realize how much she had been struggling, maybe because there was an ounce of selfishness in there. And she needs to be honest and communicate whether she wants you to stay back or not. Both of you need to admit and believe that it’s not a weakness to admit that you can use the help.
    Also, accept that she won’t always be grateful, because sometimes as a girl, it’s frustrating to work very hard while a guy puts in 70-90% of that effort and still has the same speed.
    My two-cents worth. Sounds like you’ve worked out bigger things than this before, so hopefully the duo rides can continue. 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Fair points… My problem, I think, was not in understanding the two different scenarios we ended up with.

      Fortunately you’re right, this is small stuff compared to what we’ve been through. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Sue Slaght says:

    Jim as you know Dave and I have very different abilities in cycling. It has taken some work to understand what each other needs and wants. It’s a conversation we have routinely when riding in a group and it gets easier as you have more experience with each other. My advice, although you didn’t ask for it and this is only my opinion, if your spouse is struggling in any way stick with her. Sometimes it’s hard for me to say I’m struggling and I want to be tough. Again just my opinion and my experience.

  3. Ian says:

    Tough call in what probably be a situation without a right answer. Cheers for writing about it. If you’re really brave you’d let your wife guest blog her side of things 😉

    I don’t wanna comment on someone else’s marriage, but glad it worked out ok 🙂

  4. Kecia says:

    We have similar conversations a lot since the Iron Hippie and I train together A LOT! Trying to figure out how you are wrong when you feel so right is hard. Thanks for sharing and letting us all feel “normal” since life isn’t always a box of chocolates 😉

  5. Dan says:

    My wife and I don’t ride well together unless I just give up all my style and ride hers. Period. It often leaves me frustrated, but it’s just the way it is. She won’t adapt or even try to if I’m to ride with her, I do all the adapting. Sometimes I handle that OK, but too often it just makes me a bit bitter for awhile. That’s one of the biggest reasons I ride alone the vast majority of the time.

  6. Sheree says:

    This made me smile. We’ve had one or two similar scenarios………….

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