I wonder how do you deal with spouse who is complaining that you are way better than her?
Some of us have high athletic natural abilities, some have less of that. It doesn’t mean they are less of athletes. Problem (in my case) starts when my spouse rubs into my face all the time that we can’t cycle together because I am so much better. I am very conscious of that and when we go out together it is about my spouse and not me. Still not good enough. How do you deal with negativity obsessed spouse, so it doesn’t effect your relationship and your mental game. Thanks

Well that’s pretty deep !
To begin with, I never had even a girlfriend and didn’t have to deal with this problem in my life.
So probably not the best person to listen to…

That said, I think the best way to deal with relationship issues ( spouse, friend, other family members,…) is to both agree to sit down and talk about it. Try to make your point clear and try to explain it calmly.

About the watt output difference, the only solution I find is getting her an electric bike.

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Hugs, listening, e-bikes, and different sports.

1). Give your spouse and hug and tell them you love them. Change the conversation away from sports. Tell them some of the things you really appreciate about them. Talk about active things they do and encourage them (WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT PERFORMANCE).

2). Listen to them. They’re probably reacting to something else. They might not like cycling or enjoy hearing endlessly about your FTP or your heartache about whether to train polarized or using a sweet spot. Listen to what they’re really saying. They may feel that because they’re not competitive or don’t care about being fast that you might look down on them or they might feel pressured.

3). If they really like biking - just not with you - buy them a sweet e-bike and encourage them to drop you. E-bikes are amazing at letting people of very different abilities bike together.

  1. Different sports. My wife is NOT competitive (athletically). We don’t do any sports in common because I’m super competitive at every sport I do. I have a hard time with the idea of not becoming the best/most you can be in a sport. When I run, I want to be fast. When she runs, she enjoys the outdoors and feeling good. So we don’t do the same sports. I encourage her to get outside and do her sport. She tolerates me talking about training.

I use a slower bike so that I can go all out and enjoy my ride but still basically not outpace my wife. Ex. I use a mountain bike if she’s on a hybrid or even electrical bike.

Suggesting she needs an ebike to keep up? Please don’t. It’s like stabbing her and turning the blade. Recipe for disaster :joy:


Here’s what has worked well for me and my wife: I do my training ride earlier in the day. I try to pick a route that’s interesting and relatively car free, usually with a nice destination like a cafe or ice cream shop. I ride my mtb in regular clothes and shoes to minimize the temptation to ride hard. I put my garmin in my pocket. I let her set the pace. I remind her how she constantly beats me in Scrabble and gin rummy.

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I wish I had good advice. My fiance is much slower, but can’t stand if I dial it back. I get the “okay, see you, bye!”. She likes her time.

I second the “she might be reacting to something else” advice.

A lot to unpack there! It probably doesn’t have anything to do with cycling and I’ll go out on a limb and say I suspect it manifests in other aspects of your relationship. “Competitiveness” - why did you title the thread that? Sounds like you should pass on riding bikes together and go for a walk and talk it through until you understand what’s underneath it. Solving the challenges of riding together (e-bike, adding 100 lbs of ballast, ride together on recovery/rest days, etc.) isn’t that complicated if it is something you want to do together.

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Keep it light, keep it fun, and for the love of god, talk about anything other than bikes while you’re out there. If you can figure it out, riding together can be quite a gift, when it goes badly, it’s one of my least favorite things to contend with.

I’ve had maybe 3 partners over my life that have ridden and linking up an enjoyable experience has been a moving target for all of them. Good luck and remember, you don’t have to ride together, sometimes it’s just not worth it!

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To clarify few things. I love my spouse and I am 24/7 to support her efforts. She is training as well. Her game is triathlon. She is very focus and trains hard, however the gap is huge. I encourage her, best I can. I clean her bikes, fix minor issues and most important I do not comment on her performance unless I have something very positive to say.
Thanks for the advice. I like e-bike idea.


Get a Tandem, Seriously!


My wife used to hate riding together. It took me a while, but I finally realized the problem was me. I THOUGHT I was taking it easy. Going for short rides. Finding fun destinations. Even still, we ended up not riding together. What I realized with reflection was that I would give her advice too often (get out of the saddle, spin at a different rpm, etc), I would frequently try to encourage faster/farther…you know the drill.

Fast forward 10 years and I talked her into trying again. This time we were super honest with each other about the goal being to have fun together outdoors, and that she needed to tell me if I was going to hard. I ride slow and talk a lot, tell stories, remind her that no training ride would ever make me happier than the joy of us being together and having fun. If we get to a hilly section, sometimes I say to her, I’m going to hit this hill as hard as I can, I’ll see you at the top, and she likes that because she feels like she’s not “keeping me from doing my thing”. I also tell her how she finished way faster than I expected when she meets me. If I notice her struggling, I ask if we can take a break so I can pee rather than ask her if she’s tired. If I think she’s pushing herself too hard, I let her drop me and then say, “wow, you must be feeling really strong today”, which usually gets a response of, “oh, no, I don’t, but thanks for saying that, I’m probably pushing myself too hard”…and that keeps her from bonking.

Stuff like that.

One more thing. You mentioned she wins board games. My wife is EXTREMELY competitive when it comes to things that use your brain, but wants ZERO competition when it comes to athletics. Don’t assume “competitive” is an always on or off thing.

Good luck. I hope some of that is relatable and that you find your solution.


Agreed here…if she is already upset that you are “better”, then suggesting she get an eBike is just dumping gasoline on an already burning fire.

I don’t have any solid advice for you, unfortunately…my guess is that the “best” option is to ride separately. I get the sense that any attempts to encourage her / note how she is improving will only result ina similar reaction to suggesting she get an eBike.

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Spouse or friend. I think the challenge for the person who is stronger is how to ride with others not as strong and to not make them feel impacted by trying to keep up with you. I dont have the answer.

I started riding with my spouse…she just struggled and decided I should ride alone. Not my intent.
Then my kids started to ride. I had them ride at their pace…note they were in their 20s. Again…my son pushed too hard, has asthma and ended up at the side of the road unable to breathe…just due to trying to impress Dad who is in his late 50s at the time.

And so it goes on…now I have some cycling buddies and we are all in our 60s. I have progressed to where I am definitely a stronger rider but the perception of me stopping to wait for someone as they struggle with a hill after a long ride is just perceived as me babying them. Communication to say we should ride together as a group and not get split up seems to not resonate with them.

So I try to communicate the purpose of the ride is to ride with others. I am there to enjoy myself with them but I still run into problems


Thread makes me want to go on a long solo ride! :wink:


I think this is a you thing, rather than her thing, if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly.

You need to just learn to ride easier, I second and third the comments about not getting her an E-Bike. If she is an aspiring athlete and competitive in herself with her triathlon training I doubt she wants to be told to ride an E-Bike for the privilege of riding with you.

Just change the focus of your joint rides, if you are doing efforts, agree beforehand about where you’ll meet after or how often you’ll wait. Don’t try and work out how to get her to keep up.

Enjoy your time together and if you want to ride together just enjoy that


If your wife is competitive and into cycling and you think she is already upset that she can’t ride with you because you are too fast, bringing up her riding an ebike could be perceived as profoundly insulting to her.

Ask her how she would like the rides you guys do together to go, and then base what you do on her answer.


I have asked her that. She told me that I am just to fast even when I don’t try. But then, she loves my draft when we go on flats.
I like the idea of bringing MTB to her gravel ride.

Well, I might not be the example you are looking for as after 20 years I left my wife.

With my past GF she knew I was way more fit (she was zero fitness when we met) and we didn’t ride together hardly at all. But on occasion we would and I made it very clear that yes, I know I am way faster, but I rarely ride super fast (I ride 20+ hours a week) so riding with her wasn’t slowing me down in a bad way, but in a way I wanted. She seemed to be accepting of it, from what I remember.

My current GF I met from running and she was already an ultra runner. When we met I was just returning to running so I couldn’t keep up with her, and she was not a cyclist at all. But we both understood the concept that just because she could out run me that didn’t mean she always wanted to out run me, she could always choose to run solo if she felt she needed to go faster/harder (which she did on occasion). Now the tables have turned, and it’s no big deal (and she is also converting into a enduro girl).


If she’s saying that she either doesn’t want to ride with you, or you aren’t letting her set the pace (i.e.not riding easy enough). You can ride a MTB while she’s on a road bike. I’ve ridden with elite and Olympic athletes on their MTB while I’m on my road bike. There’s no denying it’s a little embarrassing, I was happy to accept it because otherwise there was no way I’d be in the group. She might find it to be too much.

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