Thursday, November 22, 2012

You Win the Tour in Bed

Dutch cyclist Marijn deVries, now riding for Lotto Belisol Ladies

You win the Tour in bed (quote by Joop Zoetemelk)
Imagine you’re a cyclist, and your boyfriend is the one who got you into the sport. Then ‘doing sports together’ must be one of the top activities on both your lists. Well. No. Not at all. On the contrary. We both love working out, but doing it together always leads to a huge relationship crisis. Or at least to a big fight.

We never cycle together. Actually, we should have decided to never ever do that again after our very first cycling trip already. We had both bought a race bike – for J. a new one, while I bought my first one. After putting the bikes on our car, we drove to Italy, to have a nice cycling holiday. At least, that was the plan.

On the very first day in Italy, we decided to climb the most challenging pass in the surroundings, the Passo di Cento Croci. I was impatiently drumming my fingers on the ’1.055 s.l.m.’ sign for 10 minutes at least, when Mr. Boyfriend finally turned up with his very convincing behind-this-rock-I-want-to-die act. For the rest of the holiday, he felt a little ‘sick in the stomach’ because of the inhuman effort I demanded of him on the first day. And he kept asking himself, “What, for heaven’s sake, happened?” He always thought he was a pretty neat climber – which he is. But suddenly he got outclimbed big time by his girlfriend, who was green as grass when it came to cycling.

So we should have known better. Nevertheless, we still make this mistake now and then. Because after a while, it sounds so nice: riding together. But it never is. I go too fast. Or he goes too slow. It all depends on how you want to look at it. Even if I do a recovery ride, he thinks I go bloody fast. He just doesn’t like sweating. J. is an adventurer on his bike, he wants to stop and take photos, he wants to look around, and he wants to find new roads. So at every corner he can stop to stare at his #$%! map endlessly. While – Argh! – I just want to ride on! So piss off with your stupid map and your annoying new shitroads!

We already should have known to never do such things together in the first months of our relationship, yet one blissful Sunday afternoon we decided to go canoeing. In a two-passenger canoe. The ultimate relationship test. We failed. Big time. Within five minutes we had a terrible fight. Screaming, yelling, throwing the paddles, and each desperately trying to go in the opposite direction, but whoops – duo-canoe…

So. All our sportive activities together are doomed to fail. Last week for example, we went snorkeling together, in Curaçao. The summit of a relaxing, romantic holiday activity you would say. What could possibly go wrong? Well, this:  J. was so fascinated by the superclear sea, he didn’t want to come out again at all (untill he spotted a stingray, which he thought to be a diver it was so big). In the meantime, I was sitting in the boat because I felt cold. Uh huh. Cold. In 28 degree warm sea water, with a 33 degree air temperature. I didn’t want to admit it, but I thought snorkeling was scary. I’m reckless when it comes to a lot of things, but swimming in the ocean… I mean, come on, there are water animals, yikes!

We would have split up a long time ago if it wasn’t for this one particular sportive activity which we’re we’re both – thank god – extremely good at. Which binds us. Which we – it’s unbelievable – do completely unanimously, for hours and hours on end. Without fighting, not even with one single displeasing word. We understand each other in silence, and we keep on training and training, with Joop Zoetemelk in our minds. With our eyes closed, nice and warm under the bed covers, we do long sleeping sessions. Because that’s where you win the Tour:  in bed.

More Marijn de Vries on her blog:

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