My wife has had a job for several weeks, working for bicycling organization so her opportunities to ride have been greatly reduced during the week. We talked about her coming out to Tuesday night and I said I’d ride with her if nobody else showed up to sweeten the pot.
And so it was a nice, easy, wonderful (if cold) edition. My wife, God Bless her, completely lacks the ability to be on time for anything so we were, quite literally, dropped in the parking lot when she struggled to get clipped in because I’d raised her saddle to match her gravel bike to the millimeter.
Don’t think that this was a bad thing in this case, though. It wasn’t. When we did get going, about 25 seconds after the main group left, I took the front into the wind. I kept pace with the lead group for a while and eventually thought, “well, if we’re keeping pace, why not try to start reeling them in? And that’s what I did. I’d check every once in a while to make sure my wife was still on my wheel and went about it. It was work trying to catch us up… and eventually too much; all of a sudden it got very quiet and I looked back to see my wife had slipped off the back. I knew that was game over for trying to catch the group, so I slowed down and let my wife hitch on to my wheel again… and I let them go. I’m working on that part of my personality…
And we proceeded to have the most wonderful ride together.
Even though my wife asked if I wanted help in the headwind, I wanted all of it. Every last mile of it. As soon as we’d hit tailwind, I’d tap out and let her pull to her heart’s content… and she was awesome.
My reasons for taking the headwind are two fold. First, I want to be the knight on shining carbon fiber for my wife in the headwind. I eat that classic chivalry stuff up (I believe my wife appreciates that about me… and I appreciate that she lets me be that guy). Second, pulling that long in a headwind is a fantastic workout, even at a pace a little slower than I could ride. Third, when we get to the tailwind my wife has relatively fresh legs so she can crush the pace and we go faster together as a result.
And so we rode the new course with a neat little shortcut to hop ahead of the main group… though they went long just as they caught us and we went short.
The last eight miles were awesome fun. My wife took a head start at the turn and I had to burn a couple of packs of matches to catch her. She was feeling the pressure of the group flying by her so she was pushing herself a beyond comfort. I caught her just as we crested a hill and I stayed in her draft for the long downhill before taking the next big chunk in the wind. We turned right for a cross-tailwind and we ended up taking turns up front till we hit the City Limits sign that we crossed together in a virtual tie.
And the rest was an easy mile back to the parking lot where it was high-fives and fist bumps all around. It was in the upper 30s when we pulled into the parking lot (say, 4 C) and we were both cold, so after a few minutes of conversation with the others who had pulled in shortly after we did, we got in the car and headed out to get some dinner.
We’re back! And I slept like a baby last night.