NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. I used the context to “guess” when I actually wrote it so if anything about this publication date seems off to future me…I wanted this note here to explain possible errors.
Every time I talk cyclists on the road with friends and family, most reasonable people have the same issue, “It only bother’s me if they’re on a 2-lane road at rush hour…then I’m irritated.”
And dude…I GET IT. I’m a high anxiety driver, that situation TERRIFIES me.
But…I wanted to explain how that could happen. Because I guarantee you that 99% of cyclists would also like to avoid that same situation. There’s always the 1% who feel they’re invincible, or just like to be asshats, but most cyclists have had friends get in accidents…Donnie and I have…or maybe they’ve been in accidents themselves. Either way, they want to avoid a dangerous situations as much as you do, but sometimes, in some ways, it’s unavoidable. I just want to give you some situations how my husband could find himself on a 2-lane road at rush hour so that – the next time you see that happen – you can maybe avoid hating the person stopping up traffic.
First…let’s talk money.
My husband is training for another Ironman. The cost for such an adventure would be anywhere from $700 (which is just the registration fee) to $10,000+ if you have to travel with your family and maybe buy a new tri bike (cost anywhere from $2,000 to $12,000) in the process. Last year’s Ironman for us, with registration and coaching and new/used wheels and travel/accomodations/food for all 4 of us, probably cost us $4,000. That’s a BIG investment. I don’t think our gear cost this year will be as high, but everything else will be the same so we’re still probably looking at a $3,000 investment. An investment where the only REAL goal is for Donnie to cross the finish line of that race.
Now, imagine making that type of investment with that type of goal. And imagine there will be a lot of things you can’t control that day: Weather, Road Conditions (remember, someone sabotaged the race last year with thumbtacks and oil on the bike course), other racers (one bad decision from a cyclist can cause 10 people to wreck) etc. There are even things within your own body you can’t control, like your digestive system for the day, or your muscle cramps. You do the best, figure out a system of eating/fueling/hydrating to avoid digestive distress or cramps, but some days are just bad.
The one thing you have 100% control over is your training. So, you’re going to take that VERY seriously since this is a huge investment of time and money for you and maybe your family.
Now…training. The basic rule of thumb for triathlon training is 3 running workouts a week, 3 cycling workouts, and 3 swimming workouts. That 9 workouts in 7 days. BUT! You need a rest day to prevent injury so truthfully that’s 9 workouts in 6 days. Meaning many 2-a-days.
When planning workouts, you have a calendar. Either one you read online or in a book, or one you’re paying for with a class or a coach (which is what Donnie does). This schedules is what your life revolves around. In our family we shift as many things as possible to account for Donnie’s training.
So, at least 2 weekdays he’s going to have a bike ride where he needs maybe 40 miles of riding on the road. In a perfect world, he does that at the crack of dawn but that’s not always possible. Sometimes it’s storming, sometimes a kid is sick, sometimes his wife has an important workout she can’t miss. (Although 99 times out of 100 his workouts come first.) There are many factors that keep him off the road during an ideal traffic time.
But here’s the thing: You can’t skip a workout.
I mean, yes, maybe you can. But remember – this is the ONLY part of the investment he has 100% control over. So he only want’s to miss a workout if he has NO OTHER CHOICE. Like illness.
So, he misses his opportunity to do his ride in the morning. Well, the kids have a soccer game at 7pm. Or maybe his wife has book club at 7:30. Or maybe he has something he’s volunteering for in his community.
And suddenly? He’s left with one window of opportunity for that day. And it’s rush hour.
Thankfully, Donnie still knows a bunch of relatively sparsely traveled routes he can get to even at rush hour.
The problem is…getting to those routes sometimes requires 4-5 miles on a 2-line, high traffic road.
And he hates this…TRUST ME…he hates this. But it’s 4-5 miles, maybe 15 minutes on the clock depending on how fast he’s going, and then he can be on a remote road out of everyone’s way.
So…he blocks your path at rush hour and prays that no one is so angry at him being there that they risk his life by making a risky pass on the road.
He stays as close to the edge of the road as possible, he pedals as fast as he can to get out of your way, he knows he’s annoying, but he’s trying to do his part to make sure a $3000 investment is not lost and he’s just praying that the small amount of time it adds on your commute is an okay exchange in the long run.
But he’s white-knuckled and counting down the seconds as long as you are. He hates it. I assure you. And it happens rarely. Maybe once a season. If that much.
Basically he’s asking for you to be patient, and trust that he would have avoided this if he could, but it’s a huge investment on the line and he’s just hoping that the 15 minutes his in a less-than-ideal situation will be a minimal trade off for the other 35 minutes being on a more remote course.
Yeah…he could have stayed in town on a 4-lane road but at rush hour, that means his entire 40 mile ride is dangerous and there are a LOT more people who might be angry with him. Yeah, they can pass easier, but at rush hour it’s not perfect. So he opts for a shorter but more intense annoyance potential to fellow travelers as opposed to 40 miles of annoying a lot more people.
Trust that he weighed his options diligently and he hates this situation as much as you do.