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Old 03-30-08, 07:31 AM   #1
HandsomeRyan
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Am I a bad husband?

Here is an overview of the situation I'm faced with- of course I think my position is a legitimate one but maybe some of you can weigh in on weather I'm being an @$%hole or not...

I am an avid "recreational" cyclist. I try to do at least 60 miles a week, mostly on local greenway trails. I often ride by myself but I have a few friends who come ride with me and a few times a month my wife rides with me as well. I'm not in stellar shape but I do okay for myself. My wife is not in as good of shape as i am in and because she is VERY sedimentary in her choice of lifestyle and only rides 2-3 times a month rather than 2-3 times a week she is also much slower than i am. When we ride together on the greenway trails i always ride slower to stay with her so she doesn't end up riding alone.

Here is the problem-

I, along with 2 mutual friends of ours wanted to sign up for a 60K charity ride this weekend in NC. Of the 2 friends, one is a former bike shop mechanic who raced road and mountain bikes up until a few years ago and is in excellent shape, his girlfriend is similar to me in ability level. She isn't "hardcore" but she can ride a bike at a reasonable pace for 60K without problems.

My wife decided that because the three of us were going, that she wanted to go as well. Fair enough I thought- we decided to do the ride at the beginning of February so I bought my wife a new bike (she was riding a comfort bike, i got her a much nicer hybrid bike) and told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to start training for the ride. My plea's fell on deaf ears. She only went and rode with me about 4 times in the two months leading up to the ride.

Yesterday we showed up at the ride with about 400 other people. Within about 3 miles, my wife and I were so far behind everyone else that the only other bikes I saw were people changing flat tires on the side of the road. The ride ended early because of a massive thunderstorm so we only rode about 20K of the 60K we were planning but as an indicator of how slow we went, several people had completed the 40K loop before we completed our 20K. (people were finishing the 60K loop by the time we got dry clothes on)

My problem is that I am really upset about this. I worked hard and went on rides every week even when it was cold or I had "better things to do" but then on the day of the ride I had to ride in literally last place to keep her company because she was too lazy to train or prepare for the ride. I had told her several times that the ride was important to me and that if she couldn't dedicate the time to preparing for it that she shouldn't go but she insisted that "she would be fine". My friends seemed to have a great time meeting several cyclists and enjoying "being a part of the pack". My ride was miserable and I wished I had not wasted my time showing up for it.

I told my wife how I felt and I think she kind of felt bad, but i feel almost certain that the next time i try to sign up for one of these rides she will want to "try again" to "prove she can do better". I will still ride the local greenways with her a couple times a month but I really don't want to go on another longer-distance charity ride with her.

Am I being a jerk or do I have a right to be upset? If she tries to invite herself along on a future ride should I just tell her no?

I posted this here because it is a "family" issue about "recreational cycling".
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Old 03-30-08, 08:03 AM   #2
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I understand the disappointment, but try not to be upset with a person who wants to get involved with things that you do. She is not doing this to hamper you; she is doing it because she likes you.

That said, maybe there are other solutions available. What if she were to go without the expectation that you would ride next to her? What if you rode part of the way with her? What if you were to go to some rides without her, and some with?

You have a person who is trying to be involved in something you enjoy, I would recommend trying very hard to figure out a way to accomodate that.

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Old 03-30-08, 09:58 AM   #3
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Might it be possible to do a slow, even shorter ride with her and perhaps longer faster paced ones with your friends? That sounds like a good compromise.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:09 AM   #4
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get a tandem
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Old 03-30-08, 10:09 AM   #5
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You are being a jerk. As much as it's a PITA to have to go slower, your wife wanted to doing something with you that is important to you. She wanted to share it that important part of your life, and you bascilly told her that she wasn't good enough to share it with you.

Go out and hammer with your friends, but enjoy the ride and go at her pace when you are riding with your wife; not every ride needs to be a race.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:26 AM   #6
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I have to say first, that if you have a partner that wants to ride with you, that you are a very lucky man.

You do have the right to be upset as it seems you were pretty clear that going on this ride would take some commitment on her part and I would feel the same if any riding partner wasn't willing to do the legwork to get ready for a planned ride and be able to maintain a certain pace or cover the distance.

We do a lot of rides here of all kinds and are always pretty clear about what is going to be required and what is expected.

I planned a century ride last year and we had 10 people show up for what was clearly stated to have been a social ride and not a hammerfest, that the distance was going to be 100 miles (a 50/50), and that our pace would be in the low 20's (kmh).

4 of the riders showed up in full race gear and one of the other riders was not well prepared for the ride and suffered quite a bit, although he did finish.

We ended up riding in two groups so the kids could have their hammerfest and the second group did the ride as planned and we actually averaged a speed that was not much less than the first group...quite impressive when you consider the oldest rider in our group was nearly 60 and was loaded for full on touring.

I spoke to my organizing partner about this and he apologized for not being clearer when he was telling people about the ride and the fellow who had so much trouble on the ride has been coming into the shop where we have been building him a better bike as he would like to do more of these social rides and said he would be riding a lot more than he was last year to make sure he was up to it.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:27 AM   #7
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I wish my wife would ride with me.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:38 AM   #8
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Yes, you're being jerkish. Your wife made an effort to spend time with you doing something you love...so who cares how fast and far you go, enjoy the time spent riding with your wife, not getting all ticked because you couldn't show off your cycling prowess to your friends and a bunch of strangers.

I understand that you wanted to zip along with your friends and complete the ride, but hey, looks like nobody completed the ride...stuff happens, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that. You might have not kept up or finished due to a million other reasons too, mechanicals, crashes, whatever...in this case it was because your wife wanted to spend time with you...I'll take that over a crash any day! Think about it, what is more important to you, spending time with friends or spending time with your wife!

When Cheri rides with me I know that we're not going to hang with the faster groups that I could normally hang with on my own. Oh freakin well, when she's with me I am riding with her, which means we keep to a pace that is comfortable for her so she can enjoy herself, not one that designed to punish her because she has the gall to want to ride with me and prevent me from stroking my own ego by showing off how fast I am.

I'm not trying to flame you or judge you...hey it's your life. I'd just like to suggest that you take a few moments to think about what is really important in your life - something we all tend to loose sight of from time to time when we get 'into' some sport or hobby or career.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:43 AM   #9
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She is not doing this to hamper you; she is doing it because she likes you.
+1.

It's a charity ride, not a race! I believe the main point of a charity ride is to have fun rising money for whichever cause you're rooting for. I'm quite competitive by nature, but when I'm doing charity rides/walks/etc, it's all about the cause and camaraderie.

And no, that by itself doesn't necessarily make you a bad husband.
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Old 03-30-08, 11:01 AM   #10
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i think he's allowed to feel disappointed. it sounds like he did a good job of letting her know that this was important to him and he obviously was doing some extra rides out in the cold to prepare for it. that should have tipped her off to take it a little more seriously or arrange another plan for you guys to ride together part of the way or something.

somewhere along the way the communication broke down.

i do have one question, and if the answer is 'yes', you might have a larger issue: do you resent her sedentary life style?
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Old 03-30-08, 11:08 AM   #11
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When Cheri rides with me I know that we're not going to hang with the faster groups that I could normally hang with on my own. Oh freakin well, when she's with me I am riding with her, which means we keep to a pace that is comfortable for her so she can enjoy herself, not one that designed to punish her because she has the gall to want to ride with me and prevent me from stroking my own ego by showing off how fast I am.
Who would want to ride with a bunch of stinky sweaty guys when you have such a lovely partner to ride with ?

One can only hope to be so lucky.

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Old 03-30-08, 11:13 AM   #12
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You simply need to split your riding time between her and serious riding. You are lucky to have a wife that wants to ride with you.

You could also look at tandems.

I don't think you are being a jerk. Every relationship has some tension along those lines and you are in the middle of the process of working out a compromise
you both can live with.
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Old 03-30-08, 11:45 AM   #13
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What "late" said.

What you need to do is go on some rides that are long and fast by yourself and go on other rides that are short and easy. I notice around here, for example, that on some of these rides, they'll have even a 10 mile "Family Ride" or something of the sort. And you'll find that many of the ride organizers seem to seek out hills to make it challenging, but some don't, so the courses vary that way too. But intentionally make efforts to arrange trips that are conducive to her abilities.

The tandem is an idea, but before considering that, you'd probably want to talk to folks in the Tandem Forum. If one rider is out of shape and one isn't, I don't know that the end result would be a whole lot different emotionally. You want to ride, not go dragging another 100+ lbs of dead weight around with you. If she was willing to get out and ride more locally on a tandem, then it might be worthwhile.

Even if your wife makes an effort to get in shape, there's likely to always be a considerable disparity in how far and how fast you can ride and how much you enjoy doing so. So her getting in better shape is helpful, but not an entire cure to the problem.
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Old 03-30-08, 12:33 PM   #14
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I can sympathize with you, as I am a very competitive person--I will compete with others and I will compete with myself...BUT, that being said, you have to learn to turn it off and sit back and enjoy her company. She wants to share in something that you enjoy---that is wonderful. You will have plenty of other times to ride fast...but how many times do you have to share that riding ewxperience with your wife? Mine does not ride---and I wish she did.

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Old 03-30-08, 02:40 PM   #15
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I do not think you are being a jerk

My mate is much younger and competes in tris, works hard to be a perfect 300 PT-er (USMC). I ride but am no where in his league. I would never ask him to do this. Who in their right mind wants to become a mandatory ball and chain? My advice is to your wife: Appreciate the time you ride together but don't force yourself into a situation where you limit your husband's desire to achieve his personal goals. When we ride, I beg him to drop me....meet me up ahead, etc. This way, we "ride together, load the bikes, plan the time, he keeps me company a bit and then takes off on his big sprint, maybe meets me back at a good place. I really had to convince him it was okay. I think he loves me more for that.

This is not a good omen for the future. Your goal now should be to not be set up for further resentment, or some day down the road you will be ripe for an affair.

I'd go back to the wife and re-hash this. Stuff it, for now, you'll pay later. Tell her you value your marriage and don't want to have resentment creep in.

I was married to a surgeon for 15 years who did not hit a lick and I got to the point that I could not stand to vacation with him because he was on his lap top or cell phone laying in a chair and I was off being active. (It is the SAME issue....would I lay in chair and drink Mai Tais, to keep him happy? I tried..and trust me, you can't for the long haul without being too frustrated too keep that "lovin feelin"

I think you can "ride together" without being the same pace. You do the race together, you don't cadence together, that is a bit extreme.

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Old 03-31-08, 02:28 AM   #16
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No, I don't think you're being a jerk at all! It's great that she wants to ride with you, and it would be smart of you to accomodate that...but like you said, you trained hard for that ride and gave your time and your body expecting to stay with the pack and meet new people.

If she asks to go on another ride, tell her that she's welcome to sign up, that charity rides are not competitions so she can go at her own pace, but you are going to ride at your own pace, with or without her. Explain your training to her, explain your reasons for wanting to ride quickly.
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Old 03-31-08, 06:49 AM   #17
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Sorry the reply is messed up, the "quote" function of BF.net doesn't seem to be working this morning.

get a tandem

I looked at this but it is prohibitivly expensive. I'd need a tandem bike, a rack, and because my car is a company owned vahicle and she drives a convertable- we'd need to buy another car to mount the rack to. Tandems look like they would be great fun but even with a tandem she'd still only ride with me once a month and that money could be better invested in something else.

Go out and hammer with your friends, but enjoy the ride and go at her pace when you are riding with your wife

My wife invited herself on this ride, I did just want to go ride with my friends.

...so who cares how fast and far you go, enjoy the time spent riding with your wife, not getting all ticked because you couldn't show off your cycling prowess to your friends and a bunch of strangers.

I didn't want to "Show off" I wanted to feel like a part of a group. If all I was going to do was ride at a slow pace with my wife, I could have stayed home, ridden the local greenway with her, and slept in my own bed. To me, the point of the ride was to have some fellowship with other cyclists. Not a race, but riding as a group and feeling like a part of that group.

...but when I'm doing charity rides/walks/etc, it's all about the cause and camaraderie.

This is exactly why I'm upset. I wanted to enjoy some camaraderie with the 400 other cyclists who showed up for the ride. I could have stayed home and saved 6 hours of driving and about $200 (or about 1/3 of the entry level road bike I'd like to have) if I was just going to ride with my wife and no one else.

do you resent her sedentary life style?

Only when she holds me back from doing something I enjoy. She doesn't really have any hobbies, but if she did, I would either try to participate in the hobby with her at a reasonable level (I'd practice), or just let her have the hobby to herself. I certainly wouldn't put myself in a position where I was holding her back from doing something she enjoyed with a group of people who could do it at the level she was doing it at.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:12 AM   #18
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Am I being a jerk...?
Yes.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:20 AM   #19
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Hopefully you all will work out the overarching relationship issues. I will not attempt to give you my opinion on who is right and who is wrong.

As for the tandem, it is possible to trunk mount them. You will have to take off one wheel, maybe both, but it is doable. The cost of a tandem is a different issue. You can find some decent used ones. Depending on what you can get older good quality tandems for under $1k. One thing they say about a tandem is that where ever your relationship is going, a tandem will get you there faster .
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Old 03-31-08, 12:09 PM   #20
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Am I being a jerk or do I have a right to be upset? If she tries to invite herself along on a future ride should I just tell her no?

I posted this here because it is a "family" issue about "recreational cycling".
I don't think you are being a jerk. It was quite thoughtful of you to go out and get your wife an upgrade on her bike. A "jerk" wouldn't do that.

But you dropped the ball. You should have provided her w/some coaching, some encouragement and a training schedule! No excuses, set a date and time and go riding w/her. This will be a great time to spend together as a couple, and her cycling will improve quickly.

You don't just show up for an event without training for it and then hold others back, even if it is your spouse, IMHO that is being a "jerk".

I know she feels bad, but sometimes the pain of being dead last is a good motivator to get you to work a little harder next time (don't ask me how I know this! )

For the next event, make sure she trains, or at least understands, that you may not hang together the whole time and you will catch up at rest stops or the finish line.

I can understand your disappointment about not being able to ride as you expected, especially after so much expense and planning and preparation on your part. I would be disappointed too.

I ride w/my hubby once in a while, but our situation is the opposite. Basketball is his thing, and I'm a stronger cyclist than him. I stay w/him when we ride together, but we dont' ride together all that often. He is supportive and doesn't want to hold me back, OTOH, he also wouldn't want me on his team playing basketball (and how!) I understand that, too.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:16 PM   #21
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Well spoken, Catherine.

Last spring, my best mate and I backpacked the West Coast Trail in BC. His sister really wanted to go, but was inexperienced. We both told her that this was not a beginner route, but that we would help her with a little backcountry experience if she agreed to train for it. She had a year. She went as far as looking for a gym and picking up some kit and had all the excuses for why should couldn't train. Ultimately my pal told her straight out, "you're not going" two months before we left. When asked the question, I backed my mate. At the time, she was crushed, pissed off, and generally unpleasant. In the end she realized that it was for the best that she didn't go; she finally recognized her own disparity between her ability and the road ahead.

I don't think you're unjustly upset about the whole thing. You're completely allowed your feelings, as are we all. But I think they are a little misguided. Truly, did you expect a sedentary person to get whipped into shape for a quick pace 60k in eight weeks? I can imagine that a quick change of lifestyle like that must be hard without plenty of motivation and encouragement. How much did she get from you or was it just nagging? When I read your comments, it sounds like you really didn't want her to go in the first place. So do you really think that you are without blame? Sometimes the hardest thing to do is say "Sweetheart, you know I love you, but I really don't think you should go." For now, cough it up as a life lesson, let it go, and go for a ride with your wife.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:22 PM   #22
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Not a jerk.
You bought her a bike and instructed her to train to meet the goal.
She slacked off and made you have a bad time.
She is in the wrong.

One way you are in the wrong: You shouldn't have let her come without the proper training.
Next time, make her train and work up to at least 75% of the distance of the next rally ride.
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Old 03-31-08, 06:58 PM   #23
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Yea tell her no. Your not a jerk IMO.

Before children my wife and I happly rode "together" on the local bike club rides. She rode in her group and I rode mine. We had a great time talking about how fun our ride was over lunch.
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Old 03-31-08, 08:24 PM   #24
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Conflict is part of life. You had some high hopes, she didn't (apparently) have the same. How you react and deal with it will dictate how things go in the future. No relationship is complete without occasional misstep or even disappointment--these are the things that, when resolved, make the relationship stronger. How you learn to better compliment each other. If you didn't have occasional conflict I'd wonder if you were living together.

I'd let it go. Perhaps she'll ride more, if you ask; and perhaps you'll never have fast rides together. But what is the purpose of riding together in the first place? To have fun, to race each other, __? But it's clear that you two have different riding abilities and goals--and if you're going to have fun together, then one (or both) will have to get those goals closer together. Work through it, perhaps be the first to bend--maybe after a few rides she'll get hooked and want to be faster, just to join with you. Or not.
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Old 03-31-08, 10:29 PM   #25
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Just realize, your wife lets your ride a bike without making you feel like ****. You should be happy.

Find her a friend who can enjoy her pace and go do your own pace, next time. Finish your first loop with the pack and join them on your second loop.
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