No More Mountain Tandem.. sniff, sniff

57806133_76df4d50eb_oYes, it’s true. That particular chapter may have come to a close.

My acid test for confirming our time riding off-road tandems together may have truly come to a close with a very low likelihood of a sequel was driven by the inclusion of the Ventana in my liquidation list of bicycles, then solidified this morning when I asked (and I’m paraphrasing), “So, are you sure you have no interest in off-road riding.  Once the Ventana is gone, it’s gone and  it won’t be replaced: the  cost of re-entry is just too high.”   There was zero hesitation by the lovely Miss Debbie in her response: Yes, I just have no interest.

I’m sure my body language wasn’t supportive, as I’ve been going through the entire Kübler-Ross model and didn’t get to the final stage until 5:45am today; you know… that denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance thing.

Denial is what has allowed me to keep the Ventana hanging in the garage far longer than it should have without being ridden, other than my solo spins around the block as part of my Preventative Maintenance program.  Anger has been a recurring theme too, but one I’ve internalized for the most part. Well, I say internalized: I’m sure I was a bit more transparent than I’d like to think. Bargaining was something I only tried briefly in a last ditch effort to “re-light” interest in off-road tandeming by offering up “one last try” before we call it quits.   Alas, that last ride never came to pass.  So, having gone ahead and including it in the liquidation list I drifted into a bit of a depression over the past 24 hours and finally reached the acceptance phase today.  Well, OK: this blog entry is part of that acceptance phase so once I finish composing it THEN it will be a done deal, short of actually selling the thing.

So, how did I get here?  Debbie simply lost her interest in off-road tandem riding at some point. In talking about it, it seems that there were a number of contributing factors:

  • cdaleDespite sending her to the Chiropractor after each ride, the off-road tandem that she always enjoyed the most and felt most comfortable on was our 1998 Cannondale MT3000.  It was low-to-the-ground, sure-footed and confidence inspiring.  And, because it was a hardtail, it also had its limits… which Debbie may have appreciated.
  • ventanaOur 2nd off-road tandem and 1st Ventana El Conquistador de Montanas was also a bike that she grew to like, but it was still not as confidence-inspiring to her as the Cannondale.  The rear suspension was something she never really came to feel comfortable with, even though it eliminated post-ride back pain.  In some respects, I think it was the more aggressive riding that the full-suspension enabled that may have really been the source of her discontent.
  • Sadly, many of the friends who we’re the catalyst for our off-road rides moved away and given the amount of time and effort it took to get the tandem to the trails vs. having the ability to ride our road tandem from the house didn’t make “getting out to ride” all that much easier to maintain the interest.
  • 57806312_a8639cbff8_oOur 3rd off-road tandem and 2nd Ventana ECdM, it turns out, is a bike she’s never liked to ride.  I did not learn this until a couple years back when we borrowed “Casper” from Alex Nutt… and Debbie shared that she really felt a lot more comfortable on it vs. our own Ventana.
  • Ultimately, it was that very same visit to Rope Mill Creek where Debbie thinks she lost her desire to ride off-road.  She’s not been able to pin down exactly what it was, but something about that outing became a watershed moment for my sweetie.

Someone who knew about my Debbie’s loss of interest once asked, “Why not just find someone else who wants to ride with you?”  On the surface and from a selfish standpoint that was something I’d already considered but then quickly dismissed.   After all, while it’s easy to ride with an enthusiastic partner it just doesn’t work when they’re a “replacement player” since the real fun was having my sweetie out playing in the dirt with me.

Someone’s going to get an awesome machine… that much I know.   Strangely enough, I’m not having any qualms when it comes to liquidating the Erickson tandem; weird.  Guess I’m more monogamous than I realized?

Our good friend Alex at MTBTandems has let me know that should we decided we ever need an “off-road tandem fix” we can always “demo” one of the tandems in the shop.  So, while I’m not sure that will ever come to pass, it’s good to know we have some options!

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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3 Responses to No More Mountain Tandem.. sniff, sniff

  1. Brian Warner says:

    Mark,
    I feel sorry for you and know how hard it is. Karen has been having some back issues for the last few years, and we were no longer, getting off road. Finally this summer she said she asked to go for a ride, and we did. We limited ourselves to some easy double track and intermediate single track, and she really enjoyed it, and made me go back for a second loop. We will likely continue to do the occasional easy trail in the future, and for that I am thankful. Hoepfully at some point Deb might request a ride and you will get to take Alex up on his offer.
    Brian

    • TG says:

      I may have won a reprieve; Debbie hinted that she might be willing to try the off-road thing again.

      Of course, that was on the very same day the trails just 5-miles from our house I’ve been trying to get Debbie on were closed through the end of the hunting season on 1 January ‘2014; doh!

      Interestingly enough, it’s the rear suspension movement that she’s really uncomfortable with. The most recent shock update that I made “should” allow me to set it up so that there’s very little rear suspension movement, so I’m hoping that will do the trick.

      Of course, dear friend Alex would probably be thrilled to hear that what Debbie really is saying is, “I want to go back to a hardtail!” as he has some very nice hardtails in the shop in nearby Canton, Georgia.

      Anyway, we’ll see. I may just go ahead and sell the Ventana and then take up Alex on his offer to let us borrow a few demo bikes to see if I can’t find one that Debbie feels ‘at home on’ as that will be the long-term solution to keeping off-road tandeming in our cycling repertoire.

  2. Chris says:

    Mark,
    this sounds like a repeat of our story: I went from hardtail to full-suspension (on which we broke the frame) back to hardtail. For hardcore racing a FS tandem sure is great, but my wife has never complained about the ride of our hardtail tandem. We ride a parallelogram post in the rear to take out the worst hits, but for the most part we stand over the rough stuff anyway.

    In addition, it would be difficult to put a child stoker-kit on most FS tandems, so the hardtail tandem fits us perfectly right now. Both my wife and my kids love going riding in the woods with me. However, the trails start right at our doorstep. That has always been one of my top priorities in choosing a place to live.

    Tailwinds,
    Chris

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