Tour de Wife

July 26, 2018 § 15 Comments

Just imagine what she could do with a real coach.

We are eight months into the Wanky Training Program, a carefully detailed, well thought out physical and mental preparation regimen based on the following principles:

  1. I don’t know.
  2. I made it up.
  3. Ask someone else.

Along with these principles I appended a few sub-rules to help Yasuko be the best she can be. They are:

  1. Don’t overdo it.
  2. Rest.
  3. Have fun later.

After our second Euro ride here in Vienna, I can report that she is killing it, not me.

Bike control

As I reported earlier, the key to good cycling has little to do with fitness and everything to do with not getting killed or catastrophically injured. Summed up in this post, CC&E has been the key to Yasuko’s success. It hasn’t always been fun, as I’m not much fun, but the results? Out-fucking-standing.

She rides in a straight line, bar-to-bar, at about the right cadence, and never half-wheels. What more could you ever ask out of anyone, much less your wife/SO? That’s printable, I mean.

I am amazed that in eight months she rides better than people who have been doing it decades, lifetimes, generations. In addition to the wonder of her bike control, it has reduced my fear/terror quotient to almost zero.


We all know that the biggest enemy of new cyclists is fitness, not that they don’t get fit, but that they get fit too quickly and never get any better. How many people do you know who made radical improvement their first year and then stayed stuck there, like a worm on a hook?

The biggest cause of this is riding too much, because few (I said “few”) things are as pleasurable as seeing quick gains in strength, speed, and endurance. But we all know about rapid gains among newly addicted riders: They are followed by massive acquisition of carbon, Strava, and a power meter, then followed by burn out and injury and golf, not necessarily in that order.

Yasuko meticulously followed my specifically vague and minimalist regime for eight months. Here’s what a typical week training plan looks like. Note that this training plan meets the single most important for any plan, that is, it doesn’t take more than 60 seconds to write it out in its entirety.

Monday: No Ride

Tuesday: No Ride

Wednesday: Ride 40 minutes

Thursday: Ride 80 minutes

Friday: Coffee Ride to Dogtown and back

Saturday: Ride of some sort.

Sunday: No Ride

You can see that there is a lot of emphasis on not riding; what you can’t see is the emphasis on eating a lot, sleeping a lot, and the fact that the 40-minute loop includes Whitley-Collins twice, the 80-minute loop includes Abbottswood thrice, and Friday is a big spin day of 3.5 hours.

The result? Yesterday we cracked out a 4-hour ride and she felt great. Today we did another 4-hour effort and she felt great. Pro contract in the works? Not yet. On track to continued, gradual increases in endurance and speed without overuse injuries or burnout? YEP.

Cessation of spousal hostilities

As anyone who’s been married for more than fifteen minutes knows, marriage involves lots of battling. Most guys lose all the major ones by the end of Month 1, and after thirty years you are lucky if you can even win a moderate skirmish over the scent of the bath soap, lucky as in “won the Powerball” lucky.

And although cycling would seem to offer lots of opportunities for continued battling (“Slow down!” “Where are we going?” “Are we there yet?” “I’m tired!” “Let’s go home now,” “I’m hungry,” “My bike is making a funny noise!” “I forgot food, can I have yours?”), in our case it has resulted in the opposite, that is, two very tired old people who are grateful to have made it home in one piece while having had a wonderful time together.



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December 5, 2017 Comments Off on Marriageville

There comes a time, usually around the 30-year-mark or so, that every marriage is plunged into crisis. The partners wake up, stare at the ceiling, scrape some gunk out from under their toenails and wonder “Is this all there is?”

The answer of course is “Yes. If you’re lucky.”

No matter how many decades, how many children, how many hardships, or how much the couple has endured together, they often simply cannot go on. They sadly shake hands, or perhaps engage in a perfunctory embrace, shed a few tears, and walk away, sorrowfully yet briskly to a good lawyer who can help them take the other person to the cleaners.

However, some couples choose to make things worse, much worse, by getting into cycling. Per the old tandem adage, “Wherever your relationship is going, a tandem will get you there faster.” Mrs. WM and I decided that rather than trotting off to counseling she would start riding a bike.

As someone with a lot of experience in making cycling absolutely unbearable for beginners, this was right down my alley. “Now honey, don’t worry if it feels uncomfortable at first. We will take an easy route. You’ll get the hang of it in no time.”

Mrs. WM had ridden with me once before, back in April of 1987, when, after describing to her the glories and joys of pedaling a bike, and getting her all enthused, I took her for a little 60-mile jaunt across a modestly sized mountain range, me on my Tommasini racing bike, she on her single-speed Japanese high school commuter bike, or mama-chari. Thereafter we never rode together again, which was weird.

This time was going to be different. I had taken my daughter’s road bike, which had gears, and put flat pedals on it, and was all prepared to make it a fun and easy experience. We would start off on Hawthorne, go downhill gently to Crest, go up a small hill, then turn left up another small hill called Whitley-Collins. I figured it would be about twenty minutes, and the 16 percent grade up Whitley-Collins should be fine.

We did the ride and I was surprised at how well she did. True, there was a bit of huffing and puffing, but no walking. “How are you doing?” I asked fakishly.

She looked over. “I’m fine. Just a little slow.”

“You’re doing great,” I said, worried that she was a lot fitter than I had thought and that if she kept riding she would eventually be able to drop me. At the top of the hill we paused. “Well, that was fun. Good job. Time to go home,” I said.

“Is that all? I wanted to ride longer. This is great!”

My plans weren’t working out too well, so I sighed, knowing that it was going to take a little bit more effort to convince her that cycling really wasn’t her thing. “Let’s keep going, then,” I fake smiled.

We descended Via del Monte, climbed Via la Selva, popped out on PV Drive North, and headed for Silver Spur. I kept glancing back, but she seemed to be enjoying it despite my best efforts. Then we hit Silver Spur, which is a long, steep grind. At the hardest point I veered right and did my best Scott Dickson. “There’s a little shortcut over here.”

She followed, and soon we were at the base of Basswood, another little 14 percenter that goes on for a ways. “Are we riding up that?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “Unless you’re too tired.”

“What if I’m too tired?”

“It only take a few minutes longer to walk.”

“I’m not walking,” she said, and charged ahead. She got off after a little while. “This is too steep for me.”

I looked at her for a minute. She was pouring sweat and breathing hard, but she wasn’t mad or unhappy. “Just catch your breath. You’ll be fine,” I said.

She caught it, and was. “Now what?” she asked as we crested the hill.

The next obstacle was Shorewood, another beastly steep hump between us and home. Or, we could go straight and do the easy way. We went straight, and ended up at the coffee shop. “Was it fun?” I asked.

“It was great! I loved it! And I think I need some shorts. I’m really sore. And a jersey. This t-shirt gets soaked too quickly. When can we ride again?”

“Soon,” I said. “Soon.”



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