You know that informal list you keep to demonstrate to your wife that there actually are other guys who would be much worse to be married to than you? I can't be the only one who has a list like this, right? Well, a few months ago, I found out from a few friends (hi Jim and Marie, if you're still reading) that I'm "that guy" for Jim. They didn't sugar coat the fact that Jim uses me as the guy Marie would hate to be married to every time he reads my blog. I'm glad I could help you out, Jim.
It's my stance that as cyclists, we should all be proud of being "that guy." In fact, we should strive to provide good material for other cyclists. For me, one the of the best things about the cycling blogosphere is that it provides almost unlimited "that guy" material. That's why cycling bloggers should at least make mention of all big races and rides - so that it can be used by other cyclists to justify the next big ride to the spouses of said cyclists.
The key is to understand how to properly utilize the list. You can't just come out and say "at least you're not married to THAT guy." It's too obvious. Instead, you need to drop subtle hints, preferably while you are washing the dishes, or doing something else that demonstrates what a wonderful husband you are. For example:
Spouse: Are you planning on going on a ride tomorrow (with the tone in her voice that means "you better not be planning a ride tomorrow, because I've been stuck here with the kids all week")
You: No, most of my friends are racing Leadville this weekend.
Spouse: What's Leadville?
You: It's a 100 mile race in Colorado, a four day trip. Sounded like a lot of fun, but I decided to pass (i.e., you tried signing up, but didn't get one of the coveted spots).
Spouse: (speechless for a few seconds, while she contemplates how she got so lucky as to be married to you instead of to one of your friends) Well, you should at least try to get a quick ride in.
My list is something I can use at a moments notice. Of course, the contents of the list are top secret. I would hate for it to be widely distributed. So please don't tell anyone that I'm posting my list here for the entire world to read. In no particular order:
***Chad - he's the fastest guy I ride with. Unfortunately my wife does not consider Chad a valid "that guy" because of his lack of kids. I normally couldn't care less if someone has kids, but in this case, I hope Mr. Hooptedoodle has some soon just so I can add him to the regular "that guy" rotation.
***Elden - Fatty mentioned in a recent post that he has a readership of around 10,000 people (which is only about 3 orders of magnitude more than mine). That means that there are almost 10,000 people who have used Elden as ammunition in justifying their next ride to their spouses.
***Sam - He just rode a sub-9 at Leadville. And although I'm not exactly sure what Sam does for a living, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with breasts. So while I have no idea what the details of his job actually entail, it certainly isn't difficult to spin this to your advantage.
***Brad - Way too fast for a guy with kids, and especially for a guy who is technically over-the-hill. And now he works at a bike shop, which almost matches Sam for being the dream-job, but could be interpreted by many wives as an excuse to play in a shop all day.
***Bart - I don't really know Bart personally, but what I do know about him is enough to earn him a spot on the list. He's married, has at least one kid, races mtb and CX a lot, I've heard that both he and his wife have real jobs, he's been one of the fastest guys in the state since he was about 3 weeks old, and when he's not riding, he's doing multi-canyon backcountry ski adventures. Sometimes the less you really know about a person, the better candidate that person becomes for the list.
***Ryan - he has kids and he's fast. The problem is that our wives have now met and exchanged cycling widow stories. Ryan may need to be deleted from the list unless he can provide me with some good new material.
***Fish - if you are limiting your list to only those who ride a lot, you have a gaping hole in your list. You also need someone to help you justify your next next bike-related purchase. Fish can be that guy. Just don't tell your wife the minor detail that due to Fish's extensive contacts in the bike industry, he's usually not paying the same amount as you are for big-ticket items.
***Sabrosa Jon - he's dang fast, he takes a pile of steel tubes and builds amazing bikes for his friends (certainly at a financial loss when you factor in time spent), and he has a kid. Prime candidate.
***Adam - he has like 25 kids and has ridden more all-weekend endurance races than anyone I know. And he manages to write a great blog on top of everything.
***The following are on the list because if you are fast and have kids, you automatically get a spot: Rick, Jon, Tony, Brandon, Spike, etc.
Don't get me wrong here, I know most everyone on this list pretty well, and everyone here is is a great husband and/or father. The trick is to convince your better-half that the people on the list ride a lot more than you do, and their wives don't seem to mind at all. Unfortunately, if your wife is anything like mine, she'll immediately see right through all the bull crap, and will be quite sure of herself that you pulled the wool over her eyes long enough to marry way up. I know I did, because for whatever reason, Wesla let me get away with way more than I deserved this past summer.