Monday, May 12, 2008

Riding buddies

Sorry for this long rambling and disorganized post. But what else are blogs for but to lower the standard of what is publishable and the english language as a whole.

I have long realized that I am a solitary sort of fellow. Big parties aren't my thing unless I know most of the people there. I don't mind going to movies by myself, although I never do so anymore since I have a spouse. I ride a bunch by myself. I run by myself. I actually do occasionally ride with DTP, which this year means that I am riding by myself even if he started with me (Sorry, man sometimes kicking the dead horse can be fun).

Despite my comfort with solitude, I really like being around friends and family. I just usually find that my life doesn't work with riding with others around here lately. Sunday is church day for me and the family, so I don't get out unless it is cross season. I get about 6 or 7 Sundays a year where I can pull the cycling card out and I won't push my luck with the wife to miss church just to go on a group ride or to some road or mtb race. Cross rocks too much to lose any good will built up during the year on these other activities.

I also feel self-conscious about sucking or being an idiot. I have never ridden on a group road ride of more than 3 or 4 people. Usually it is just two of us. I wouldn't know what to do in a large group. If there is anything that will keep me out of an activity it is when I don't know what I am doing in front of strangers. Occasionally, with friends I don't mind acting like an idiot for some reason. Last year's Rick James Super Freak Karaoke solo at a party with some good friends out here is a good example of that. Sorry, it is legendary and those lucky enough to have been there know this to be true. Well there was also a Bee Gee's lip sync last year that I led that sort of rocked too. Anyway, such things rarely ever happen with me. I am way too anxious to do such things normally. And since I don't drink, I have a hard time breaking down my walls to act out my inner idiot freely in front of strangers.

Anyway, back to the subject of cycling.

I really wish I had some more good buddies to ride with here in Oregon. In Utah, Fish was my gateway to a great bunch of guys. Before Fish, there was Rob Pyne and Craig Nebeker who were not only fun to hang with but great to ride with. And with all these people, my wife got along them and their spouses equally well too, bonus. Here, I ride with DTP. And once I went on a ride with guys from the Beaverton Performance at Brown's Camp. I get along with everyone great that I meet at the shop, but the bond is not really deep. But I don't hang with any of them after hours. I miss that sort of stuff. The people I do hang with don't bike. This sucks.

I still cling to Fish a bit in Utah, because I think I get what makes him tick and I think he gets me too. Riding is important and so are friends that you can share experiences with. Riding an epic ride is great when there are people who were right there with you sharing the same hell. Reading his blog brought to a head some of what I have been thinking about for months. This year more than any other has been devoid of this comraderie. Which is probably one reason why this blog exists, it is an attempt to share some of my love for the sport. I miss sharing experiences with friends regarding cycling. My wife is pregnant, DTP has gone off the wagon, and others who I could ride with that I know have totally different schedules than I. Plus this whole half ironman triathlon traing thing means I have to be somewhat rigid in my training/riding compared to what I prefer. I can ride long on Friday and that is about it. Mornings are usually good too, at least until 11AM because I have to get ready to work Tuesday - Thursday and then Saturday. Monday, I watch our kids and I have already written about my Sunday issues.

I mean I have time to ride, I just get to go alone becuase most of the guys I know have real jobs and work during the day. This is usually OK--riding alone. But reading blogs like Fish's and some others make me realize I am missing out on the fraternity of cycling.

I need to find a group to train with occasionally. A group that won't require a huge amount of time becuase of family, church and job responsibilities, but with whom I can feel I have a common bond with. That last part takes time to develop.

In law school there were a group of guys that rode together, a couple are on the Gentle Lovers team. I never rode with them because I felt slow, some what like a poser, and fat. Also, I often felt like with my family, I was being selfish if I did much more than ride to school. My kids and wife hardly saw me during long stretches of time. It was hard on them, so why make it harder by being selfish? Hanging with those guys seemed like the wrong thing to do, too much like playing while my family suffered. Summers have been golden for riding except for this last one when I was studying for the Oregon Bar Exam.

This is not the case now--feeling guilty about riding. I see my family lots and I just need to find time to ride with others that have a weird schedule too. This is why DTP was good to ride with. He has his own company and he can get away pretty much anytime he is motivated to do so. But his refusal to suck it up and do the Vikingman means that we are not on the same page anymore. At least not until after June 7th when I can devote more time to mtb and Brown's Camp. I still like riding with him because his constant bitching is sort of entertaining for some reason. Not sure why this is so, but there it is.

I have some prospects for riding partners. My friend Marcus is buying a singlespeed 29er this week and if he can get his asthma under control it won't be long until he is passing me up. That would be cool. There are a few guys at my shop and at one of the other Performance shops that I would like to ride with again. I get along well with another nice fellow, Mr. Spears, and since I helped him get his latest cross machine, I think he might slum it with me sometime on a ride. I don't mind riding with faster people as long as they don't mind riding with someone a bit slower than they are. I don't mind suffering.

The key is that I need to put myself out there. It is sort of like dating or something. Trying to find people to ride with that I can relate to and wouldn't mind doing things with other than cycling. Yeah, that would be cool. I would love return to the days when friends come over and we have some thick meats grillin' in the backyard as we joke about some ride or another. Yep, good times await, I just gotta integrate.

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