It’s one of those cold dark mornings where I can see my own breath. It is unusual for me to be the first one at the rendezvous point, and I have been here by myself for long enough to start re-reading the previous night’s text messages, sifting through the usual banter and mud-slinging to remind myself that I am in fact in the right place at the right time. With that confirmed, I continue to wait… by myself… on the side of the road at 5:00am… in winter…. wearing nothing but Lycra. This is the moment that my wife’s words begin to echo in my ear: “I don’t know why you boys do these ridiculous things”. I’m beginning to ask myself the same question.
Finally the familiar sound of an approaching bike or two reassures me that I’m in the right spot, at the right time. With the obligatory greetings and banter out of the way, as well as the usual SMS-apologies and no-shows acknowledged, we head off for our regular training ride.
The particular instance of ‘ridiculous things’ that my wife was referring to, is a charity ride from Mildura to Echuca later this year which amounts to Four-Hundred and something km’s sitting on a tiny bike seat for two days. This may or may not kill me, or at the very least render me infertile, which is ironic because we are doing this to raise funds for the maternity and children’s wards at the hospital. We are training at such a ridiculous hour because most of us are fathers and have young families and quite frankly, we ride at sparrow-fart or not at all.
Last year’s ridiculous thing was a ride from Melbourne to Sydney, after which I couldn’t move without groaning… it wasn’t me groaning, it was my bones groaning each time I moved. The year before that, my ridiculous thing was the Kinglake ride and Around the Bay ride. I ran a half-marathon the year before that. You can see a pattern forming here….
I thought it was just my wife that thought these things were ridiculous, until I was on the phone to our glamorous editor Andrea. I was pitching my next column (which is very funny and you will have to wait until the Spring Issue to read) when I happened to mention this ride I’m doing when SHE started on me, as if her and Lisa were in cahoots… “You boys are always do these things, then you sit around the house for a week complaining about how sore you are”. Well, I’m here to tell you, that some girls do these silly things too. I have it on good authority that one Andrea Rowe (nee Coates) completed the Tough Mudder a few years back and had to be literally carried around by her new boyfriend (now husband) for a few days because she couldn’t move. A friend of mine has recently completed the IronMan, and whilst I applaud her efforts, if I see another Facebook status update giving me a blow-by-blow account of which body parts are chaffed and falling off due to her training, I’ll throw up.
I’m sure that my co-random-endurance-event buddies and I will be doing something ridiculous next year too and I can kind of see the ladies’ point though. We do complain a bit for a few days afterwards and we will sign up for it again next year with the same result, but I’m surprised at the shortage of empathy from the female sample population though…. Surely the mothers out there can understand preparing for a big event over several months, to spend a day or two in agony only to sign up for it again next year???