Boyfriends come and go…and I keep riding.
I’ve been cycling for 10 years now. Every since September 2002 when I did my very first triathlon. I’ve had my fair share of relationships between then and now. Today I’ve been reminiscing about the way each ex-boyfriend reacted to my endurance sports habit when it became a real part of their lives. It has always been (and always will be!) there without fail.
Names have been changed to protect the egos – I mean – the innocent.
Alejandro was (I guess he still is) Colombian. He’s the only Colombian I’ve ever dated, so I can’t make generalizations about his view of women and their “roles”. I can say that his views about a woman’s “place” didn’t exactly jive with mine – since the women in my family run the family. I felt like he wanted to keep me in a little box so he could always make sure I was a “good” girl. Bleh. Besides that, he was a great guy. Great friends, great family, good job, lots of fun. Except for the part when he would get SO PISSED if I wanted to take a nap on the weekend after a really long ride. I mean geez – it’s ok to nap on the weekend right? I had certainly earned it! Oh yeah and let’s not forget about the part when I had to remind him all the time that what I do is not called “f#$%ing running.” It’s just “running.”
Adam was soooo impressed that I did triathlons. He and I had a whirlwind romance – we fell head over heels in love with each other and were engaged within 5 months of meeting. (Word to the wise – this is not a good idea folks.) He was a Green Beret in his past life and was also a tandem skydive instructor with over 3,000 jumps. So he was athletic. Sort of. Well he used to be. When we first started dating he came to cheer me on for my first Ironman 70.3 in Orlando. I was thrilled with a sub-6-hour time. After that he really wanted to do a triathlon with me. So he bought a bike. I’ll never forget the first ride we did with my friends. He hadn’t purchased a cycling helmet yet so he used his skydiving helmet. He was a sight to see (as in hilarious). We only went 20 miles, but pretty fast and he hung in there! We signed up for the Miami Man Half Iron distance together and did that later in the year with little-to-no training. After that his bike just looked pretty in the corner. I didn’t like having to dust it when I cleaned. This was the first time I let a relationship prevent me from training. I wanted to ride and run on the weekends and he wanted to eat chicken wings and watch football. Sigh.
THIS guy. Was a piece of work. Very into himself. We only went out for a few weeks but we did go riding once. I totally smoked him. Maybe that’s why when we packed up, he secured his bike, but “forgot” to secure mine. I about had a heart attack when I saw my bike fly off the rack in the rear view mirror as we were going 70 miles an hour down the highway. I was freaking out! My Pop-pop, the late, great Charlie Knight gave me that bike! THANK goodness he secured the wheels together with a bungee cord so when it fell off, it didn’t tumble. Instead it just slid and by some miracle, it didn’t get run over. He was kind enough to pay for the repairs but after that I’d had enough. My bike was my baby!
I actually met Tim at work when I first moved to Atlanta. That was a little tricky dating someone at work. I am so thankful he ended up getting a job at another agency BEFORE we broke up. That would have been real tricky. Tim was (is) a really great cyclist. I have him to thank for encouraging me to hang up my tri bike and get a road bike. And also for introducing me to this thing called hills (I am from Florida, people). He pulled me all around town and I got pretty strong. We did the 3 Gap 50 ride together and that was the hardest ride I’ve ever done – 58 miles of mountain. 4 miles climbs, 6 mile descents – I got up over 50 MPH on my bike! I’ll never forget after the first long climb we made it to the top and he was talking to me like the worst was over. Well, the second climb (Wolfpen Gap) was like STRAIGHT up and it was awful. I didn’t think I was going to make it. Have you ever had to push through something so hard that you started whimpering to yourself a little? Yeah. Anyway, when I finally got to the top he was standing there and it was obvious he had been there for more than a few minutes. He saw me and started clapping and said “good job, babe!” I just glared at him and gave him the death stare. I was miserable. Of course when we were done I was on Cloud 9 and felt like a super woman badass. It’s funny because when I first met him he said triathletes are gay and he’d never run anywhere unless someone was chasing him. Well, the year we broke up he did an Ironman 70.3 AND a full Ironman. What was that you said before Tim???
Brandon and I didn’t last very long but it was with him that I really started feeling comfortable on my road bike. We rode and climbed quite a bit and I started to learn all the routes around town. He got me my first bike lights and after that I started waking up at 5:30am to do my 20 mile loop in town before work. It is AWESOME to ride in the dark and have the roads all to yourself. He introduced me to Heed (the best sports drink ever), Capo, Rapha, the FM ride, etc, etc, etc. It wasn’t until I started riding with him that I really started to see myself as a real cyclist. Before I was just a triathlete. On Brandon’s watch I got so strong on the bike that I was able to ride out with the Faster Mustache group on Thursday nights. It’s about 30ish miles of excruciating climbs and pretty fast too. And week after week it was ALL guys and little ole’ me. Felt pretty freakin’ awesome to be the only tough chick out there. Thanks Brandon!
Not much time for dating these days…
But I WILL keep my promise to myself to stay in cycling shape winter. It will be impossible to stay off my bike since I just had it pimped and all. Thanks to my awesome Aunt and two-time Ironman finisher, Cindy McBride and Outspokin’ Bicycles! New tires, bar tape, bottle cages, pedals…and new winter gear! Who wants to ride???