I came across this article in Velo News a few years after Kday and I had been married and it seemed all too appropriate to share with my fellow “Feed Zone-ers.” This article perfectly describes my feeling as Saturdays in our home come and go and I lay in bed at night and remind myself why I love being married to a man who wears tights instead of mowing the lawn. So stand back at the next cycling event you attend, even if it’s on your front porch, and watch the peacock show, knowing that you’re not the only one rolling your eyes and smiling. Enjoy.
From At the Back, Velo News, May 17, 2005.
“Ladies, are you out there? If you’re the wife, girlfriend or significant other of a cyclist, and you’re wondering why this magazine and the others that look just like it are cluttering up your place, I’m talking to you. It’s not easy, is it? Your life revolves around your man’s need to ride. You thought you were going to have some quality time with him this weekend? Silly girl. Saturday morning doesn’t start with the two of you lazing around in bed together; he’s up and out there at 6 a.m. Between cups of coffee, he’s lubing the chain, cleaning the cassette, putting air in the tires and wiping last weeks drool off the frame. He’s inhaling a big breakfast and watching cycling on OLN. So much for snuggling in what was a warm bed. You ask when he’s going to be home from the ride, and you get the reassuring response. “Oh, we’re going easy today,” he says, Probably just a few hours, I’ll be back by one.” But you both know he’s lying. A well intentioned lie, maybe a white lie, but whatever – it’s not the truth. You will not be shopping together for that new hardwood floor today. The shower leak will not be fixed. You lost, sister. You lost to a bike.
Here’s how it goes for me. They meet at our house, rolling up in ones and twos. They gather on the front porch, some of them a little nervous as they size each other up. And then the “dudes” come out. “Dude, I was out till three in the morning, I’m so tired. We gotta go slow today.” “Dude, I must’ve eaten some bad curry last night, my belly isn’t feeling so good. We gotta take it easy today”. “Dude, I rode like 60 miles yesterday, my legs are worked. Let’s go mellow today.” “Dude, I met the hottest girl last night, and well….”I call it the scroll, this sequential list of excuses. I guess they have to have something to fall back on when they get dropped. What’s that phrase? Shut up and ride? The one over here is posing in his new Italian kit, the one he scored on a recent trip. You can’t get it in the U.S., very slick. The next one’s straddling his brand-new Serrotta Ti, acting like it’s no big deal. That one over there is peacocking in a fresh set of Carnacs. It’s like the Discovery Channel on our front porch, only there are no females out there to impress, just me in the window giggling. After the big show, the last one arrives, takes his licks for being late, and they’re off. “I’ll see you around one and we’ll go look for our new floors. I promise,” he whispers so no one will hear. A peck on the cheek and off he rides. I know better. We’re not going to look at floor today, but I’m still hopeful for a romantic dinner, maybe a little quiet time this evening before bed. One o’clock comes and goes. Two o’clock comes and goes. Around three, he staggers into the house looking like hell. Salt on his helmet straps, smelling nasty and black circles under his eyes. “Hi baby”, he manages. “I’m so blown out. It was an epic ride. We rode to blah blah, and then over to blah blah, and then so-and-so attacked on the climb and then hmm hmm chased him, so I had to chase, too. Then he blew up but I still felt good so I dug deep but what’s-his-name came up from behind and then blah blah blah.” It sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, squawk, squawk. It sounds amazingly like … last Saturday’s ride.“I couldn’t just ride home alone ‘cause I didn’t have it in me, so I had to ride back with the group and they wanted to ride back to town the long way. But we can still make it to the floor place. I’ll just take a quick shower.” Slightly miffed, I hear the shower running. I make him a sandwich while I’m waiting and open up a Coke for him. And then I wait. After a while, I go upstairs thinking maybe he slipped in the shower while shaving his legs, and I find him. With his towel wrapped around his waist, he is in bed snoozing, still damp.
Later that night, when we’re out for dinner and drinks, we’re hanging with the “dudes” from this morning again. More talk about the ride, who dropped whom and who flatted and who blew up and who had no legs. I’m about to die. Hey, I ride a bike too, and I’ve ridden all the same roads and hills – they’re not that hard. I have my own Carnacs, what’s the big deal? Apparently, I’m missing something here. My man, sensing my annoyance, lovingly squeezes my hand under the table, and in a whisper assures me that when we get home. It’s all about us. I can’t wait. I light some candles, put on some soft music and slip into something much more comfortable. Before I even get to the room, though, I hear him snoring. And so it goes. A good friend who shall remain nameless is the wife of a pro cyclist. She told me that one time in the middle of a romantic, candlelight dinner she looked across the table to see that her man was chin-to-his-chest, dozing in the middle of the restaurant. His definition of cleaning up the garage, she says, means reorganizing the bike parts.
What can you say ladies? This obsession is a bit of an inconvenience for us. But I have to admit, climbing into bed next to him, I gaze down at his peaceful, sleeping face and smile to myself. I am happy that he has this in his life. I feel his smooth, muscular shaved legs under the sheets. When I wrap my arms around him, I feel his lean body. I see how his stress is reduced when he rides, how he’s happy as a boy when he comes back wanting to tell me everything about his day on the bike. So maybe girls lack the testosterone to understand it the same way. But I know he’s happy, and that makes me happy. Ladies, you just have to find a way to make it work. Before my man got home that day, I went and picked out the floors myself. He’ll like them no matter what. I also met up with my friend (the pro cyclist’s wife), and we each bought a new pair of shoes, courtesy of those missing boys. See that cycling habit’s not so bad.”