Friends Don’t Let Friends Sit on the Couch: Horsing Around Sugarloaf 200K

Lately I’ve had the uncomfortable sensation that my life is on top of me, its everyday demands pushing me into the cushions, reducing me to a sedentary state. It hasn’t felt good.

Burned out on running, the fall marathons took their toll. With all the marathon preparation, my weekend cycling had fallen off, and it had been over two months since I’d ridden a century or more.

The way to start riding again is simple. Get on your bike and ride it. But the implementation of that advice was not coming easily to me.

The gap in riding long had diminished my confidence. Certain I had lost fitness, I was afraid to try to ride a century or more. It was easier to stay home and wed myself to all the reasons I should or could not ride.

Eric Gardner Andrea Horsing Around Sugarloaf 200K

Enter the rando-friends who saved me from my couch. Gardner and Theresa invited us to join them on a post-Thanksgiving 200K with a starting point relatively close to home. Felkerino and I had nothing on the calendar so we said yes.

The night before our ride, I tossed and turned. I worried about all the things I could think of: overleeping, my fitness, dragging Felkerino down on the tandem with my lack of fitness, and finishing within the timeframes.

Theresa - Horsing Around Sugarloaf 200K

At these points in life, someone could advise something like just do it, it’s not that complicated, HTFU, or another Velominati piece of bull crap. Well, sometimes, dear readers, that approach is ineffective, and only burrows a person deeper into immobility.

Sometimes what you need are  friends who extend an opportunity and lay out a path for you. At least, that was the case for me. I needed Felkerino, Theresa, and Gardner to show me the way back to the bike.

Team Photo Horsing Around Sugarloaf 200K

I had decided that I would wait until the New Year to tackle any long rides. January, right? That’s the time when to begin anew. Who makes New Year’s resolutions in November? Best to stay on the couch until the calendar turns.

I am so glad that I did not wait. This past weekend’s ride, while not at all sunny, was one of the best rides I’ve been on this year. The company was easy, and everyone chose a civilized pace.

Our route was rolling without being punishing, and offered many opportunities for scenic back road views. Temperatures were unusually warm for November.

Unlike all the scenarios I imagined, my legs were lively and the stoker zone of the tandem felt like home. I’m sure Felkerino worked harder than he may normally have, but I was relieved that the marathon training had at least helped me maintain my endurance.

Felkerino Horsing Around Sugarloaf 200K

I showed up to the ride (which rolled out at seven in the morning) barely able to keep my eyes open. By the end of our 130-mile day my mind and body were invigorated. My confidence returned, and the concept of just getting on the bike and riding did not daunt me anymore.

I didn’t need to wait until the New Year to start again after all. I just needed a helping hand or two. I’m grateful to my randonneur friends, and to Felkerino, for showing me the way off the couch and back to the bicycle.


  1. Partly because of your writings about randpneering, I’ve found a randoneur club here in Iowa that I’ll be joining when this leg heels. Really looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, but you did, in the end, HTFU. You did. Your friends help, we all do that for each other from time to time… I do that for my wife and buddies, Chuck, Mike, Brad and Phill… and they absolutely do the same for me. In the end though, you did it. Congratulations! Well done.


    • Right? Also, I meant to reply to your previous comment… it is both inspiring and motivating to see women who are still doing great things long past what many would consider is supposed to be their “athletic peak.” I know it helps to keep me moving forward.


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