Extraordinary Machine

So there’s this dude. He sometimes masquerades as my friend.

He does ironmans (supposedly… I’ve known him for well over a year and have yet to see him complete an event. Registered, yes. Shown up and participated, not yet.). He is always “training” (again, supposedly…). And, knowing him has pushed me to keep trying to ride my bike at a faster pace and for longer mileage.

I really, really, really miss having a riding buddy. 

 So, I am definitely not in any shape to ride 50+ miles at a 19+ mph average speed. But, I can go 25-30 miles at 16 mph average. And certainly, for a “friend” this dude might condescend… right?

After registering for my half-metric ride, I let him know. I also told him about the route the ride would take. I also asked a favor of him: “will you please ride the route with me before the event so I am familiar?”

“Of course,” he said. “Whatever you need,” he said.

The dude had over two and a half weeks to carve two and a half hours out of his schedule to do this. It was around his neighborhood. I was planning on putting my bike in my car and meeting him wherever was convenient. And, in theory, supposedly, he regularly goes on long rides anyway… What’s the big fucking deal if I tagged along for 36 miles of a ride?

He was getting a bike shipped to him. His other road bike was on a trainer and he didn’t want to take it off. Fine. Whatever. Then the bike arrived. He assembled it and immediately took it out for a ride. That was on a Friday. On Saturday morning, I texted him, “want to ride bikes?” “I can’t today.” Fine. Whatever. On Sunday, one week before the charity ride, he went out on some 50 mile solo ride…

I called him on it. So, like what? Am I supposed to text this dude every morning on the off chance that he wants to invite me along? Fuck that. That’s not the way my friends work. My friends are actual friends; they keep their word and follow through on promises. My friends and I show up at one another’s house with bagels and coffee and say “c’mon, let’s go.” (Or we used to, back when I lived in places where I had true friends…)

But as I told you before, this dude only masquerades as a friend.

Like a not-so-evolved, emotionally immature (dare I say it? OK, I’ll say it) man, he got defensive, made excuses, over-reacted, and called me names. I laughed at him for his ridiculous reaction (yes, we are still talking about riding bikes), which apparently made things worse.

Hahahahaha. Sorry. Hahaha. Not sorry. Hahahahahaha.

He decided the best course of action would be to give me the silent treatment for over a week (actually, I’m pretty sure I am still in my little “time out” but I just so happened to run into him today. It was super awkward…).

He knew when the charity ride was. He knew I completed it.  Didn’t ask how it went. Didn’t put aside the silent treatment to pretend to care. And then, the cherry on the shit for a friend sundae: via Strava, I saw that he followed *the exact course* with a buddy the day after the charity ride. What. The. Fuck. Yo’?

I will never ever let him know that I know he did this little ride with his friend. That is a secret you have to promise to keep between you and me…

Fired up yesterday, I took my bike out.

Riding my bike is emotional therapy for me as much as physical therapy. I rode as hard as my body would allow. I stayed out as long as I could. I climbed hills. I went on tiny residential side streets that allow me to go fast. I went 21.2 miles. I increased my average speed by  full mile per hour (despite climbing 50% more than usual). I scored SIX (6) QOMs on Strava.

So yeah. The moral of the story is not that this guy is a dick and I should be angry at him, but that this guy is a dick, I should be angry at him, and I should go out and kick even more ass in spite of his dickish behavior.

“Be kind to me, or treat me mean. I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine.”

Meanwhile, Jesus. I sure would just like to find someone who wants to ride bikes with me instead of trying to create a Shakespearean drama out of it. It’s just riding bikes. It’s fun. Jeez.


Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple

I certainly haven’t been shopping for any new shoes
I certainly haven’t been spreading myself around
I still only travel by foot and by foot it’s a slow climb
But I’m good at being uncomfortable so
I can’t stop changing all the time.

I noticed that my opponent is always on the go
Won’t go slow so’s not to focus, and I notice
He’ll hitch a ride with any guide, as long as
They go fast from whence he came
But he’s no good at being uncomfortable so
He can’t stop staying exactly the same

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can’t help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine…

5 thoughts on “Extraordinary Machine

  1. Oh my good lord, I could have written this same exact post. I have the same exact “friend.” We made plans to ride a few times and he has cancelled almost every single one. One time he even said he’d be there, I mean we had it in the calendar at a specific place and time and I rearranged my whole weekend and then he just totally ghosted me. I saw later on Strava that he went out with his dude friends before our agreed-upon time, and later when he finally answered my texts he said he wasn’t feeling well after his dude ride so he just went home and I’m like so did you forget how to work your phone? Despite the fact that he hasn’t treated me well, I’m a sucker so we are still acquaintances and connected on Strava, and since he’s a former pretend-pro he is in fact super helpful in virtual reality if I call or text with questions or issues. I just can’t seem to actually get him out on the bike at the same time and the same direction as me, even though he talks all the time about how he wants to ride with me, and he rides the same routes that I ride ALL THE TIME. And much of the time he does them slower than me. I have given up trying to understand, and try to be grateful for the virtual reality acquaintanceship since I do get good advice from him. But seriously, WTF. At least in my case I think my friend is intimidated and immature in a “scared of girls” kind of way. But they both perpetuate the “cyclists are a-holes” stereotype.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Oh my god! I can’t believe you go through the same thing. Except mine is also perpetuating the “triathletes are a-holes” stereotype… But yes! What is it?! I mean, we are talking *riding bikes* and not *casual dating* right? Because I’m talking about *riding bikes*… Is co-ed bike riding some great taboo and I never knew it? So confused… I’m bored and get lonely and want to ride my bike and I improve when I have someone to ride with… why is it so difficult? It makes me feel like maybe I’m not good enough for people to want to ride with me, but I’ve seen other people’s stravas… And on Sunday’s ride, I finished well within the first half, and I felt like I was moving in slow-mo. I know can hold my own (or at least my left leg can)… I don’t understand… I just want a friend. I miss my old friends. :-/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, I love this song! Paper Bag is my favorite but this one is great. Ok, ahem, what the fuck. That’s just disgusting behavior by a sub-human. I really feel ill after that. He’s giving men a shitty name. We’re not all cromags. 1% of us are ok. Jesus. Sorry this happened.


    1. Hahaha. Simmer down. It’s ok. His behavior is actually pretty “normal,” but certainly doesn’t make me draw conclusions about “all men.” Just feeds into certain stereotypes about cyclists/triathletes/and yes men in general… but this story isnt an attack on men, just an example of one dude who is a shitty friend. My point was that despite a dumb dude, i can still use the situation to make me stronger. It wasnt about him (or men), but about me… 🙄

      And paper bag… funny… the song about a breadcrumbing dick who strings her along, gains her love, loses interest, drops her, and drives her to anorexia, feel horribly about herself, and give up on love? “I thought he was a man, but he was just a little boy…” that’s your favorite??? Hahahaha.


      1. I like the way she sings it. Gasping and putting emotion in the way she does it. I don’t know, I just like the way she performs it. I’m not saying I approve the message or anything. It’s an unusual and unique song. The orchestra playing. I’ve always liked it.


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