In my search for cycling mediocrity, I’ve also found myself in the midst of what I like to call “Cat 4 Dating”. It’s hard enough to mingle and mesh with those of the opposite sex, without the added stress of training to be something more than terrible. Hell, dating in and of itself is a nightmare, and I tend to wake up in a cold sweat more often than not. As I step closer to my mid-thirties, I realize more and more each day that my chances of becoming an elite CX racer are probably better than finding a guy who’s worth my time. I have more upgrade points in CX, anyway.
One of the more obvious problems I’m faced with, as a cougar in training, is my circle of friends is quickly becoming “the married folk”. This makes relocation much more difficult, seeing as how 30 year-old roommates are tough to find. There’s a reason older people are single…and I’ll leave it at that. I am frequently crashing “date night” with my raging singleness. I’ve often thought about bringing my bike as my +1 to weekend getaways and weddings. At least I could get a nice workout in on the trainer while I watch people sign their life away…er, I mean, say “I do”.
Friends have jokingly attempted to address my lackluster dating life with comments such as, “Maybe you’re too loud” or “Guys are intimidated by you and your bike”, with the latter being the most ludicrous. Intimidated? I’m most likely a Cat 4 lifer, at best, and I can’t even ride rollers for more than 8 seconds. I’m a shit show on most days, and pretty awesome at wrecking my mountain bike at least once a week. Nothing about me seems intimidating if you look at it that way. Maybe bros just want a girl who sits around the house? Maybe athletic women, in general, are intimidating? I don’t know. All I know is this: I no longer feel like I understand men. My mind is blown, and I can’t say it’s good.
So, with my realization that I’m less #sickwhatlifestyle and more #catladylifestyle, I have set some basic rules for you single bike ladies out there…
1. Never ditch your bike for a bro. Training/group rides come first. If you do it once, you’ll make a nasty habit out of it.
2. A bike ride is NOT a date. Especially if you drop him.
3. If the weather sucks and you can’t ride outside, rule #1 still applies on the trainer/rollers. You won’t get faster following around a guy that seems into you this week, disinterested next week. The bike is always the superior choice.
4. There is a fine line between being independent and being one of the bros. It’s different for everyone, but if a guy wants to change your flat, even though you know how, let him. If you have zero interest in him on a dating level, change the damn thing yourself. Men feel emasculated when they can’t be the hero.
5. Men enjoy being in the chase group. It’s a game to them, much like a road race. Some dudes love being chased, but it’s been my experience that it freaks most of them out, and they run for the hills. If this is something you’re not willing to acknowledge and work on, you might just end up being forever single. It’s a tough pill to swallow, really.
6. If a guy gives you mixed signals, move on. Race tactics should be left to racing. If he’s playing cat-n-mouse, you’re better off focusing your energy on something more productive, like threshold intervals.
Dating is like cycling. If it were easy, everyone would be good at it. You have to decide what you want and be willing to make adjustments accordingly. If you push too hard at the beginning of a relationship, you’ll blow up. If you don’t give enough, you’ll get dropped. I’ve been riding off the back for a while now, so I’m always surprised when I catch a guy…and dissapointed when I find out he’s not worth chasing.
Basically, my advice isn’t really advice, but more of an epiphany. I don’t get dudes at all. I am going to apply for a downgrade. Cat 5 dating, y’all. It’s a junk show. Even with only one road race under my belt, I’m pretty sure I know more about how to survive a crit than a relationship. I’d rather have road rash, anyway.