During my phone call / interview with Diane Lees on Thursday she asked how many miles a year Debbie and I ride our tandem and there were a couple interesting aspects to that question.
The first was, Diane assumed mileage would be something I keep close track of… and she was surprised when I confessed I really don’t. There was a time when I was really diligent about keeping track of mileage, but it seems the more complex and data-rich the computers have become, the less I actually check things like cum mileage, never mind ever downloading data to our laptops. Yeah, I did that at one time too, but now… not so much. Pretty sad considering we both have Garmin Edge computers on our bikes: a 705 for me and a 305 for Debbie. I still get the value from having the ability to see all of the information I need during a ride, e.g., speed, ave. speed, distance, elevation, % grade, HR, etc., but I’m not even sure I know how to look at the cum values: it just doesn’t matter all that much.
That said, I still have a pretty good feel for mileage, at least on the tandems. I can look at a calendar and figure out when we rode and how far and presto… that’s close enough. As it is, I can still figure out if we got 1,000 miles out of a tire, or more like 600, 1,500 miles out of a chain or more like 1,200.
So, why is it that we’ve lost that ‘edge’ we once had when every ride was about hitting targets for average speed, improving out times and feeling that we cheated ourselves if we didn’t log over 5,000 miles on the tandems each year? Well, quite simply, life keeps getting in the way.
When we started tandem cycling 14 years ago we were basically empty nesters. Both of the boys were pretty much on their own. The house didn’t seem to need that much attention, and when it did I could usually do my yard work and honey-do’s on weekday evenings. I even had time to get in a 12 mile fast ride at lunch during my workday, with showers located just across the way in one of our aircraft hangers at work. We’d also often get evening rides in after work, which was really nice.
Nowadays, I’m out the door at 6am and don’t usually get home from work until 7pm on a good day, closer to 8:30pm or 9pm on not-so-good days: it’s just a never-ending stream of new meetings, new briefings, new reporting requirements, and on and on. So, once the weekend like this one comes along, there’s that pile of leaves that needs to be fed into the chipper and re-spread as mulch on the Azaleas. After that, it’s time to cut the lawn and do the other weekly maintenance chores. Before I know it, it’s 2pm in the afternoon and we still haven’t gotten out for a ride… never mind that I’m now pretty worn-out and choking on pollen and dust.
Debbie’s been doing the inside the house stuff and then comes the mixed blessing: it’s our daughter-in-law calling to see if it’s OK to come by with the two youngest grandkids. Has a grandmother ever turned down a visit from her grandkids? Surely not, at least when they’re little and cute.
So, by the time they’ve finished exploring the backyard, played with some toys in the house and then gone for a walk to the neighborhood playground, it’s a little past lunch time and there are still groceries to be gotten. Next thing you know, there’s a call from our son who’s painting Debbie’s rental to get it ready for the next renters: “I need more paint.” Doh! Looks like we won’t be getting a ride in today.
So, we look towards the next week and Debbie is hopeful that with the townhouse rented she’ll get back her evenings which, with daylight savings time upon us means a later afternoon ride. Maybe. For me, I keep kidding myself into thinking I’ll find a way to get out of the office before 5pm so that perhaps I might also get in a ride, or at least get some yard work done so that our weekends will be free.
Yes, life does get in the way. Or, perhaps we just don’t have our priorities straight. There’s always that 4am -6am time in the morning… yeah, right. Well, as a stop gap we’re going to try and make a point of joining some friends for a Saturday morning weekly ride and perhaps that will help get is back in the swing of things, at least on the weekends when we don’t have other plans.