It looks like I am back in business and able to post again from our laptop. I will have to go back and fill in the days I missed, but will catch you up on yesterday’s ride from Angers to Ancenis. By nearly all accounts, it was another fantastic day on the Tour de la Loire. I say nearly all accounts, because we had just hit day seven, and frankly, Superman and I were starting to get a little annoyed with one another. I was still frustrated about the computer not working, and some blogging censorship, and Superman was a bit worn out from doing things the French-way; meaning stopping (a lot) to see the sights and eat good (sometimes expensive) food. I was taking it out on him, and he was losing his patience.
The thing about doing a trip like this, is that even though you are on your own bike, and often in your own head, you still have plenty of time together. You are each other’s only company, except when friends drop in, and your have to be in basic agreement about how you want things to go. Most of the time we are, but sometimes we get a little passive aggressive.
When you have a hot 75+ km cycling day and you start off angry, it takes awhile to regain your optimism…like maybe, 3 hours or so. That’s a long time to sit on your bike and think negative thoughts. Sometimes it is better to have a little distance, say, a half-kilometer or so, between you and your spouse.
As we cycled away from Angers, paradoxically I was not quite ready to let go of my anger (although it’s not pronounced that way in French—it still seemed a bit ironic to me). I wanted to ride away from my cantankerous self, but I needed some time and space to be perturbed. The path out a town starts at the foot of the Angers castle, and winds through the huge Parc du Maine—Angers answer to NYC Central Park. Lush and green and surrounding a large interior lake, the trail should have been perfect. But, it was Sunday late-morning in France, which means everyone in a 10-mile radius was out and about and using the path too.
I cycled on sullenly and Superman tried to make things better. I didn’t want thing to be made better. I wanted to be mad for a bit. Harsh words were exchanged and we ended up cycling in silence and at a distance. After a good long hour or two of being mad at my computer, mad at my husband and mad at the French, I decided enough was enough, and I resolved to turn things around and remember that our differences are actually what make us strong as a couple. While I am 110-percent, do-it-right-the-first-time-perfectionist, Superman is a 75-percent-and-its-good-enough type of guy. While I speak French softly and thoughtfully, Superman speaks loudly and without fear. While I like to slow down, and taste and explore everything, he likes to compete and go for the goal. He likes a homemade picnic, and I like the gourmet meal. I’ll eat a greasy hotdog, and he’ll eat a healthy veggie burger. I’ll wash my biking shorts daily, and he’ll wait an entire week.
But I love all these things about him, and I love how he supports me with all my quirks. I love that being with him forces me to do things his way sometimes, and that makes me better in quite a lot of ways. I love that we complement each other and that we can compromise. I admit, I do love that guy…now if I could just get him to wash those bike shorts a little more often…
Angers looks so quaint and picturesque! Haha, pronouncing it is a bit tricky, isn’t it? I know French, but I am never quite sure how to say it (“ahn-jer?” “ahn-jay?”). In any case, another place to visit!
I went with “ahn-jay”, but it’s not small and quaint. It’s a pretty big city, very bike friendly. I loved the feel of it. It seemed like a real city. Great pizza on the river too.
I can confirm that it is pronounced “Ahn-jay”. Seems like the whole trip is an interesting experience; full of adventures and of time to regroup and think about why we do things a certain way…Great lessons here. (Suzanne)
Hi Suzanne. This trip has been great in so many ways. Traveling by bike is, in a way, like meditation for me. The soothing rhythm of wheels on pavement is calming and can both keep you deep in the moment, and take your thoughts in all different directions. And, of course, the scenery is just plain gorgeous.
We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t all have days like this occasionally! 🙂