Allow me to describe for you, a coin with two sides, as if there is any other kind.
On side one, you have a riding companion who is not having the best day, either by virtue of a lack of fitness, a lingering illness, or perhaps a dearth of adequate hydration. I suppose on some level the reason matters, but we can all see that there are myriad of reasons one rider might not be up to the pace of the others.
On this side of the coin that rider, let’s assume they’re a friend with who you are very familiar and have ridden with a lot, decides they can’t keep up any longer and don’t want to slow you and/or the group down in your pursuit of, I don’t know, glory? They tell you to go on without them. If this were some sort of injury scenario, I think we’d all stick by this friend, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. They’re just on a bad day.
On the other side of the coin, the person struggling is you. I think we’ve all been there. If you haven’t, this might not be the site for you (JK).
So you didn’t feel that great at roll out, and things didn’t get better. You’ve not been able to ride yourself up to pace. Because you’re experienced, you went along gamely, hoping it would all come good, but you might be fighting a bug, or just not as fit as you’d thought. You decide to end your own misery and loose your companions to whatever ride they want to have that day. You tell them to leave you.
In my experience, no matter which way this coin lands, the conversation is complicated. What seems clear in one person’s mind is invariably uncomfortable in the other person’s. There is the issue of whether the person in “distress” has an actual problem and needs to be looked after, but there is also the social problem. Abandoning a companion seldom feels like the right thing to do, even if, in some cases, the companion would really, really appreciate being abandoned.
This week’s TCI Friday wonders how you parse a situation like this. If someone you’re riding with is struggling and tells you to just leave them behind, when is doing so ok? When is it not? What’s your take?