I recently wrote a post about how lucky I am to have a husband who rides. With the beautiful weather we’ve been having in NJ lately, George has been riding a lot and loving it. Through the last few month, however, it was not this way. During the winter, there are moments when I fear that he may give up biking completely. Let me tell you about how bad it gets sometimes…
I’ll describe a hypothetical week in George’s life. Keep in mind, it’s not always as bad as this, as I am going to lump every scenario into this fictitious week. Chances are, most winter weeks wouldn’t really happen this way, but you’ll get the point.
George stayed up late on the computer the night before. Saturday morning came and he slept until noon. He looked outside and saw that it was sunny. His Bikinator wife was already out riding her bike, so he called a few different friends to see if anyone wanted to ride. They all had plans or had already ridden. George didn’t feel like riding alone, so he skipped it.
George had a DJ gig the night before, so he slept late Sunday morning as well. It was sunny, but only 38 degrees outside. He decided it was too cold and that the air would probably irritate his asthma. He didn’t ride.
George was busy at work all day. He got a call from a buddy about a night ride at CCC. He hurried home after work and started packing his gear, but then realized that he hadn’t charged his lights. He plugged them into the car adaptor and drove to the park, hoping to get in a quick ride before the lights ran out of battery power. Once he got to the trailhead, he realized he forgot his bike shoes. He got angry with himself and decided he didn’t feel like going all the way home and coming back. He went home and didn’t ride.
George charged his lights this time. He showed up at the trailhead alone. Nobody could ride with him that day, but he didn’t care. He was going to ride his bike no matter what. About 10 minutes into his ride, he got a flat tire. The sidewall was completely ripped and all the Café Latex leaked out of his tubeless tire. He was mad. He didn’t feel like putting a tube into the tire to continue his ride because the residual sealant would be very messy. He went home.
There was a group ride at CCC. His Bikinator wife reminded him to have his gear ready and his lights charged. They got home from work at the same time and got ready to ride. The Bikinator gathered her gear and loaded it into the car. She put her bike on the roof rack. She was ready. While George assembled his gear, he realized that he couldn’t find his warm head cap. He searched the house and then found it in the hamper. Then he realized that one of his lights was still showing a red indicator even though he’d charged it. He assumed that the light had gone bad. Now he’d only be able to run one light when he was used to running two. Even though the Bikinator loaned him one of her lights, he was still angry that his gear didn’t work. The Bikinator started putting George’s bike on the roof while he got changed. She was anxious to go and kept mentioning that they were running late. George felt stressed and tried to hurry. He ended up forgetting to pack his warm socks and had to use his thin ones that he kept in the bag as a spare. An hour into the ride, his feet were numb and he was hating life. He told the Bikinator he was done. She said, “I still need an hour in Zone 2.” He was annoyed that another ride was being cut short, but he wasn’t going to suffer with cold feet. The Bikinator agreed to go home and finish her ride on the trainer, but George could tell she was mad.
George worked all day and had a DJ gig that evening. There was no time to ride.
It rained. George didn’t get to ride his bike.
Friday night, George called his buddies about riding on the weekend. They wanted to ride French Creek on Saturday at 9am. French Creek is an hour and a half drive, so George would have to get up pretty early to go on this ride. He tried to convince the guys to ride later in the day when it would be warmer, but to no avail. They wouldn’t budge.
On Saturday morning, George tried to get up early, but he couldn’t make himself do it. It was 32 degrees and cloudy. No way. Later, at one o’clock, he once again couldn’t find anyone to ride with. He rode alone, but didn’t have that much fun. He came home with a cough and regretted riding in the 38-degree temperature.
On Sunday, George’s Bikinator wife said she was going to ride at noon, at the warmest part of the day. He planned to join her. As they got ready to ride, he asked her what kind of training she was doing that day. She began to list a bunch of times, heart rate zones, and intervals she planned to do. George realized that he didn’t want to go along on such a specific ride. When faced with riding alone again, he got frustrated and decided he wouldn’t even bother.
It’s at moments like these when George asks himself, “Why do I even rider?”
The frustration builds to a boiling point and he declares, “I’m done with biking, training, and racing. What’s the point? I never get to ride because the weather sucks in NJ. Besides, I’m too busy working all the time. If I never get to ride, I’m not going to do well in the races. I hate the trainer. I hate the cold weather. If I’m not having fun, it’s not worth it.”
I know that George goes through these phases of frustration from time to time. I try to give him space when he wants to sulk. I keep doing my training rides, and eventually he comes around again. I only hope that he’ll keep returning to the bike.
Recently, George went to California to visit his friend Cam. He got to do a bunch of awesome rides while he was out there. I think it’s renewed his love for riding. There will be a few guest posts about his experiences on the southern Californian trails soon. Check the “He Says / She Says / You Say” section in the coming week.
Also, if there’s a wellspring of good thoughts and wishes just for bikers, please fill it up with bike prayers for George… that he’ll not lose his love for speeding along between the trees, for flying down twisty trails, and for launching off rock ledges.
There are so many more huge logs to get over… so many races to win… and so many friends to ride with. Plus there’s a Bikinator who loves him and loves riding with him!