My wife and I
have had a limit of about 50 miles on the tandem. Once we hit 40-ish miles, she starts getting… erm… angry. Yes, that’s a good word to use. We both had saddle issues once we hit that distance, but I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time over the last year getting both dialed in the best I could and especially for my wife over the last few weeks. Let’s say I’ve dedicated myself to her setup with the same enthusiasm I throw at my own – actually, a little more.
And so, with that, I gently worked my wife up to riding the big Independence Day route with the group on the tandem. My wife was a lot nervous, but I assured her that I had her and if we ended up getting dropped, out there by ourselves, I would be perfectly happy riding with my best friend. She agreed to ride…
And we absolutely rocked ass.
I made a slight saddle adjustment in the parking lot at her request (and I mean slight) before rolling out, moving the saddle back ever so slightly and nosing it down just a hair. This is the result:
We had an awesome group, probably our biggest ever for the Independence Day ride, consisting of at least twenty cyclists on 17 bikes (three tandems!) and we were all matched for pace and ability excellently (one of the wonderful benefits of an invite-only ride).
The start was amazing and we quickly hit 22-mph and stayed there for the most part. With such a big group, maintaining speed was fairly easy. I could tell the saddle adjustments we’d made were well received – the Rear Admiral was putting awesome power to the pedals and we were perfectly in synch with each other. We held our speed easily.
The morning couldn’t have been better. Warm temperature, but not too warm. Sunny, and just mildly breezy… and my wife and I were riding as good as we ever had. We pulled into our second rest stop with a 19-mph average and plenty in the tank.
Shortly thereafter, we ended up chasing an old friend down and and kept a playful manner throughout the whole ride. The group held together excellently well, too, though we weren’t without our issues. Chasing down that old friend took a toll on one of the tandem couples and a couple of others on single bikes. I should have sat up and called for everyone to leave him be, but even Jess was drawn in by the carrot just off the front of the group… you can’t help by chase a guy down.
We ended up getting an emergency call from Jessica’s dad just after our last stop so we let the group go and stayed back in the shade on the sidewalk to talk things through. Diane and Jeff, and Mike K came back to round us up and the five of us headed toward home. We still had better than an 18.7-mph average with tailwind all the way home.
I’d expected Jess to be absolutely smoked in the last couple of miles but she remained upbeat and happy. I snapped this photo shortly after we rolled over 62.4 miles:
The ride was all over but the shouting… our first 100k on the tandem. Dinner (and ice cream) were extra special last night. We ended up watching a couple of episodes of Castle out in the backyard on our bench swing in each others arms.
Our status as a tandem couple is set and we couldn’t be happier. We worked hard for this… and you can bet we’re enjoying it.