A Imperfect Father’s Day Ride On the Tandem; Trouble In Paradise… Fixed.
Mrs. Bgddy and I took the tandem out for Sunday Funday yesterday. We’ve been on a fantastic stretch for the last month cranking out great ride after great ride. We were bound for a little bit of a struggle sooner or later, and we got it yesterday.
First, I am a little beat up. I’ve only taken one day off the bike in more than a month. I’ve been handling my fitness well, though, making sure I use my active recovery days properly and so forth. Add to that, my lovely wife was beat up, too. She’s been putting in more miles in a week than I do… and Diane and Jeff rode Diane’s tandem for the ride yesterday. Diane and Jeff are strong on a tandem. Outrageously strong. This means I have to try to keep up because I lack the ability to ask, “can you dial it back a notch”? I simply can’t put those words together into an intelligible sentence when on an actual bicycle… unless I’m truly cooked.
With my wife tired, she was looking for excuses to slow down right off the bat and as soon as my buddy, Mike would slow down, she’d ease up on her pedaling to try to let him catch up. This meant I was pushing harder to keep up with the bike in front of us while my wife was easing up to let my buddy catch up. Tandems don’t work that way and I grew frustrated when I could feel her lay off the pedaling.
And that’s exactly when I realized I was going to have to pull up my big boy pants and stifle that negative $#!+ and have a conversation if we were going to keep our positive tandem rides going. Normally I’d have had a miniature blow-up and things would get messy. Instead, we talked it out and the last stretch of the ride was exactly as the last three rides were. Well matched, enjoyable, and fun.
Tandems are a tricky machine. They have a tendency to enhance what’s happening in relationships. If you’ve got a good streak going and you’re working together, they’re fantastic. If, however, you’re enhancing a bad time in the relationship? Good God, Almighty. In my case, keeping the spotlight on myself, riding the tandem can enhance my mood negatively just as it can positively. If I allow myself to blow up on our tandem, I’ll spend days trying to put the pieces back together so I actually have to think through what I’m feeling and what I’m going to say before I actually open my mouth. I’m not very good at that.
But I’m learning and getting better.
And so it was yesterday and our 40-mile ride progressed and ended on a positive note. The tandem enhanced the good.
We arrived home to our eldest daughter preparing biscuits and gravy (homemade) for my father’s day gift. They were the best I’ve ever eaten… and I’ve eaten a lot of biscuits and gravy in my day. I did a little yard work and watched a couple of movies and had a wonderful day. Every little choice matters and I always have to remember: “Jim, sometimes you wanna throw ’em like a lawn dart but you just gotta love ’em.” And so it is.