Existential (MTB) Crisis

  • This topic has 72 replies, 49 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by  lucien.
Viewing 33 posts - 41 through 73 (of 73 total)
  • Existential (MTB) Crisis
  • Her “Ultimatum” is clearly pitched at making you grow up

    It’s better not to “grow up”. Think what we describe as “fun” is always connected to NOT GROWING UP.

    Biggest fun then: when the kids are around 10 and you go mountain biking with them. It’s still time to grow up when you are 90. Sitting behind the oven and think about all the great adventures you had in your life.

    Not thinking about what you “missed”.

    At the same time: part of the game is to keep the kids happy.

    Best for that (beside others): mountainbiking!

    jimmyjuju
    Member

    Totally agree with @cookeea up above.

    The first six years of parenting a kid are the hardest. At two and four, you’re in the thick of the hardest bit. It’ll get better, by an order of magnitude. In the meantime, bimble.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    I’m glad my wife never forced me to choose.  It had brought me a lot of pleasure, fulfilment and been really helpful for my mental health.  Many here would apparently think she should have told me to stop or I should have stopped.

    Since we have been together I have – largely through bad luck, had 3 serious injuries.  One where I rode through a ‘skin’ of soil over some kind of void in the ground and broke my shoulder.  One in the French Alps where I broke my hand and ribs, when my front wheel washed out on a fairly innocuous corner – not in a bike park.  My other injury of lacerations to my face, concussion and extensive bruising was caused by fog and I hit a set of doubles I had been avoiding on previous runs – because I couldn’t see them.

    Today, I am lying here in bed on a beautiful morning just 3 weeks away from some open heart surgery to replace a few bits – something which is a worry, but I am coming to terms with.  Today I am 2 days in to knowing I also now face some tests for lung cancer, identified through the preparations for the heart-surgery.  Something which has focussed my mind somewhat…

    Since having children, I have had spent around 6 hours for probably 60% of the weekends available on my bike.  I have spent a handful of full weekends away.  My wife has had similar options to take time for herself and usually has gone swimming or to the gym a few times a week.

    Even now, don’t think either of us regret or begrudge that time for ourselves.  I have always spent a lot of time with my children and been ‘hands on’ in their care.  The only regret I have is being so fearful of not having work – that I used to always over-deliver, which meant I was exploited and worked stupidly-long hours.  I thought it would give me job security.  It didn’t.  That I resented before and I resent it even more greatly today.

    So this morning after two very tough days and very little sleep on top of a tough last 3 months, I don’t regret a single hour I spent on my bike.  It’s let me be who I am.  It’s let me manage stress better.  It also offset the impact of my cardiac issues – so I had better ability to run around after my 3 children.  I can’t ask them right now, in fact I can’t manage anything but to try and be ‘normal’ right now – but I don’t think they have or would resent my riding, even if the worst comes to the worst.

    Ouch. Good luck and best wishes with all that, JamJ. Hope you get some good news and a successful surgery.

    taxi25
    Member

    If anyone says “change or the relationship is over” then the relationship is over.

    Not always, often above all women want/need is security for their children. If they don’t get it in one relationship they’ll look for it elsewhere. Love and all that can take a second seat.

    I had a serious injury racing MX when my children were small. I decided to knock it on the head myself, but I knew Mrs taxi at that time was really struggling to cope with my riding. Better to make the decision myself than have her force the issue ( if she had that that would have been the right thing to do really ).  But here I am now, with grown up kids and I can do what I like again, including racing MX.

    Family wise mountain biking is a very selfish hobby however you slice it. Yes it can be inclusive with the whole family out on bikes but generally speaking most of us get out with mates (sometimes for extended periods of time) getting egged on doing daft stuff for shits n giggles. From time to time it goes a bit awry and people get hurt.

    Your wife is right, reduce the risk with a young family (maybe compromise) or be prepared for the consequences. Also she wants you to spend more time with her and the kids. Whats more important to you? The signs are there.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear but there you go.

    Have a good recovery!

    JamJ Wishing a full recovery with your surgery.

    Premier Icon orangespyderman
    Subscriber

    I’m in a similar situation to you (without the injury for the moment).  Youngest just turned 3, eldest will be 5 in December.  My wife encourages me to bike because it clears my head and makes me a better parent when I am around (rids me of work stress etc).  She’s been very supportive and we even had 3 weeks in the Alps as a family with my bike, and she got me a coaching day for my birthday, which I used when I was there.

    I cracked a rib there this year; that’s been my worst injury for a long time.  Many years ago I broke my arm and popped my shoulder out, but that was before the kids.

    I think we have a tacit agreement that I should reign in my desire to do things beyond what I’m able to without injury.  My wife has a job and a few weeks having to manage the kids on her own would make it very difficult for her to hold that job down, without even considering that I might lose mine.  So that’s the deal.  I take it easy, sometimes walk stuff I would previously “have a go at”, but still have lots more fun than if I wasn’t biking at all.  It’s about compromise, I think, and I don’t think she’s being unreasonable expecting me (you…) to make some, and I think it is worth you reigning it in a bit to still be able to enjoy both biking and my family.

    Unless, and this might be the case, only you know, you simply don’t want family life, in which case tell her and live in a truck in Whistler.  If you’re going to do that, I’d get some coaching first though 😀  I’m the opposite, though.  The kids have just spent a week at grandparents and, to be honest, I wouldn’t choose anything over family life right now (though the eldest sometimes does his best to make me change my mind 😀 )

    Andy
    Member

    Agree with Cookeaa. Bet its not really an “ultimatum”, just wanting you to think through the consequences to your kids of the risk you are putting yourself through.

    Awesome different point of view from jamj1974 there.

    Perspective.

    scotroutes
    Member

    My Mrs knows that my outdoor activities keep me sane and reduce my stress levels.. That means I’m able to do my job, to bring in an income, to participate in bring up a family. It also means I’ll likely be around longer than some couch potato/regular drinker/smoker. She would NEVER issue that kind of ultimatum, so I’m with those that reckon you have a more fundamental issue.

    Any kind of cycling carries risk of injury. I’m hardly the most gnarr of riders but I’ve had my fair share of accidents – sometimes from being over-cautious, sometimes by the simplest of things (hidden tree stumps in heather, ice under wet leaves). It probably helps to avoid FF helmets and body armour though as that leads to risk compensation.

    ransos
    Member

    I’m glad my wife never forced me to choose.

    Neither has mine. But I’ve not repeatedly smashed myself up, leaving her to bring up the kids.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Hi Ransos,

    He mentions 2 accidents in 10 years.  Ok, so one of them sounds like poor judgement and his kids are young – but even so, there is a more balanced approach they can both take.

    I suppose, I was lucky with my injuries that I could still largely do and at some points did more of the school drop-offs and stuff – because we were walking distance away.  Hurt a fair bit – but I could do it.  We have also always had a significant amount of home cooked meals in the freezer – so my wife didn’t really need to do a lot of additional cooking instead of me.

    One question I think we should consider is this.  If the position was reversed and it was the OP’s wife who had the accidents MTB’ing – what would we be  thinking and saying…?  I’m not sure many of us would be suggesting she stop – it would seem controlling.

    ransos
    Member

    I’m not sure many of us would be suggesting she stop – it would seem controlling.

    No, but a sensible compromise would be to throttle back, at least until the kids are older.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Yes, I think we both agree very much on the “throttling back” part.  I imagine my own wife woulD have felt differently if I was riding like Josh Bender.

    taxi25
    Member

    I’d be suprised if a non mtb’ing spouse would understand the concept of “throttling off” as a compromise. Your either riding and perhaps falling off or your not riding. I’d doubt “honestly I won’t do any big jumps or drop offs” is going to resolve the situation.

    ransos
    Member

    I’d be suprised if a non mtb’ing spouse would understand the concept of “throttling off” as a compromise.

    It seems pretty obvious to me. Bimbles on bridleways or road club runs are a completely different proposition to failing to land jumps. It wouldn”t be difficult to explain.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Bimbles on bridleways or road club runs are a completely different proposition to failing to land jumps. It wouldn”t be difficult to explain.

    What would be difficult would be explaining how, after suppressing the urge to ride hard, you just tried a little jump, and spannered yourself…

    ransos
    Member

    What would be difficult would be explaining how, after suppressing the urge to ride hard, you just tried a little jump, and spannered yourself…

    Best to not do it, then.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Subscriber

     I have been riding for 10 years more or less. In that period I came off trying to do a jump without knowing any proper technique and broke my collarbone. That was about 8 years ago

    After two years before attempting to “do a jump” I think he’ll be fine tom.

    Hardly displaying an urge to enter Rampage now is he.

    OP just ride your bike and take it easy.

    shooterman
    Member

    The cycling is not the important bit here. There is a fairly obvious solution / compromise to be made.

    The important bit is that your wife is prepared to threaten to or actually split the family up if she doesn’t get what she wants.

    The choice you make based on that threat will resonate for years to come.

    Premier Icon Stainypants
    Subscriber

    You wife has a point you’ve got responsibilities and you can’t be getting yourself smashed up leaving her to look after the kids.  Mountain biking is a very selfish hobby in terms of time and cash.   I pretty much stopped except for odd weekend bikepacking or night ride when the kids were young.  I’d back off it until the kids are older why not take up running or road biking to keep fit they are much less time consuming and safer, then come back to it when the kids are older.   I managed to train for Ironman with 3 young kids and reckon it had less of impact on family life than a regular MTB ing hobby as you can fit training slots which you can’t with MTBing.  It gets hard when they get old as they start taking up your time.

    However I’ve just come back from Coed y Brenin with the boys 6 and 9 we’ve had a cracking weekend and you’ll get as much joy from watching them get a little bit of air or ride a berm.

    FWIW I can see the OP’s wife’s point of view; my little one is nearly 7 and can say that those early years really are tough going, for both of you. But having some grown-up conversation and reaching compromise is the only way you’re going to get through it.

    I do wonder though, if there is a “MTB!” image that puts pressure onto people to think or accept that “MTB!” is all about chucking yourself off drops and over jumps and anything else is just boring and you may as well just get a road bike.

    I think the advice that the only compromise could be a gravel bike is a bit black&white, but maybe there is a kernel of truth there; a compromise in getting a deliberately limiting bike, maybe an XC bike, rigid bike, SS bike and sticking to rides from your front door might keep OP sane, in one functioning piece and allow all of the family to get through this rough patch together.

    If that sounds too boring, I’m sure that’s nothing compared to the boredom of divorce and custody proceedings.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    You wife has a point you’ve got responsibilities and you can’t be getting yourself smashed up leaving her to look after the kids.  Mountain biking is a very selfish hobby in terms of time and cash

    WTF…. You could get smashed up doing just about any activity from squash to walking in the hills.

    MTB is FAR from a selfish activity in my world, partly because mine now is often with said ‘kids’ who’s also an active MTBer, but also partly because without MTBing i’m an absolute bear with a sore head type of guy to live with at times, wandering round in frustration and angst becasue i’m missing my fix of physical activity.

    If my missus couldn’t understand this, then we’ve got more issues than just this.

    Premier Icon howsyourdad1
    Subscriber

    i dont know why everyone is suggestoing garvel biking as safer, mine is bloody lethal.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    Another thing to take into consideration is if you are spending most of your free time on the bike, then your wife is not getting any free time or time with you, or time to simply veg out.

    Kids 24/7 are hard work. and it’s bound to cause resentment if one party isn’t pulling their weight.

    vonplatz
    Member

    Thanks to all for the contributions. We have had a longer talk and spent a great weekend together.

    I have tried to explain that in the future I won’t be attempting anything that could seriously injure me and although there are risks involved that I will do my best to avoid them.

    The ultimatum was her way of getting through.

    Like I mentioned before, my accident is a result of me thinking I was at the same level I was when riding more regularly in years leading up to having the little ones.

    I’m looking forward to getting back some fitness on a bike of some kind soon.

    core
    Member

    XC 29er, bimble.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    Very pleased that you seem to be working it out together.  It’s the way to the best outcome.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Well said weeksy! 😀

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    WTF…. You could get smashed up doing just about any activity from squash to walking in the hills.

    MTB is FAR from a selfish activity in my world, partly because mine now is often with said ‘kids’ who’s also an active MTBer, but also partly because without MTBing i’m an absolute bear with a sore head type of guy to live with at times, wandering round in frustration and angst becasue i’m missing my fix of physical activity.

    If my missus couldn’t understand this, then we’ve got more issues than just this.

    But then Mrs Weeksy is a superbike riding, supercar driving, superstar.

    To put this into context my OH also likes open topped sports cars and motorbikes, in the summer, for instagramable* trips out. She’s less of a fan when those turn into a hobby that takes up the entire garage, hours/days/weeks of my time and £££ spannering them. She would much rather I was around to spend time with her!

    *she’s not on instagram, but the concepts the same, she likes to cherry pick the best bits of a life.

    Similarly she would probably quite like me to have the body of a CK underwear model and be nice and chilled out as a result of getting my exercise fix regularly. Which seems to be how some people on here sell MTBing to their OH. In reality she gets me, who could stand to lose a few stone, disappears for 6 hours on a Sunday morning when she’d rather I made her breakfast in bed and returns covered in mud and moaning about the cold and injuries!

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    I understand both sides here – my wife isn’t a huge fan of me mountain biking, but she has finally realised that it chills me out about and makes me easier to live with. She’s actually much ‘highe rmaintenance’ than me and requires me to have a lot of patience.

    Ive had an op and a few crashes / injuries recently and so I’m progressively getting more padded up! I think I actually need to slow some of my speeds down and try to enjoy the flow more than outright adrenaline rush.

    I think as ever there should be a compromise on both the op’s and his wife’s side of things:

    * pad up a bit – at least knee / elbow pads and a decent enduro type helmet (appreciate this may not have helped with both injuries)

    * restrict where you go / what runs you do. Perhaps agree to avoid bike parks with big features for a few years. Kids are all important here and (I’m hoping) it’ll get easier as they get older.

    * start taking your 4 year old out for some rides – maybe introduce hem to some easy off-road. This should be satisfying for you as well as spending some enjoyable time with them and restricting what you’re doing mtb wise (just don’t break them for gods sake).

    * take out some suitable insurance to cover mortgage costs – I’d consider personal injury cover / life cover / critical illness / unemployment benefit. Personal health insurance wouldn’t go amiss either. I’ve got pretty much all of that just in case. Wouldn’t want to be in a position where the mortgage couldn’t be paid / my wife and children were short of money.

    * get some coaching. I’m planning a few sessions on cornering and jumps (maybe avoid the jumps for you for now) personally over the next few months.

    Premier Icon lucien
    Subscriber

    Buy a brand new Carbon FS29’er with carbon wheels.  Wherever you are headed, you will bet there much quicker…….

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