Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Personally, I blame the dog.

No, not for that.  Well, OK, sometimes I get away with that too, but this is altogether different.  I blame my wife's new bike…2 new bikes, really…and the fact that we are signed up for three centuries next year, and the fact that I now have to consider my wife when I plan a mountain bike ride…that all falls on the dog.

It all started when my son and wife were at the animal shelter for some thing or another as my wife was volunteering there for a time.  Our dog, Moots, was getting pretty old and we like to bring dogs in the house so they overlap a bit.  It helps the new dog settle and figure things out.  Anyway, my son calls me and asks me to hurry over after work as he has found a dog and "it will not be here for long".  Little did I know.

As I loaded this Black Lab/Greyhound looking mix into the car, already named Sophie by my son, I did not know I was in for it.

Now my wife had ridden bikes years ago but had given it up for horses, then Jazzercise, Aerobics, the gym, etc.  She was never a passionate rider, just a social rider.  That was fine.   I was the passionate cyclist.  But when Sophie came along, she was a dog that required a regular, heavy workout or there would be hell to pay.  None of us are runners, and they don't like dogs in Jazzercise classes, so my wife asked if I could dust off her old 26" hard tail and get it running.  It was a handmade steel frame right out of the 90s, brakes, shifting, etc.  We worked out some way to tether the dog's leash to the head tube and off they went.  Sophie was stoked.  This dog was on a mission.  Do they have Strava for canines?  If not, they should.  She would QOM that thing.

In time, I came into a 29er hard tail that fit my wife and gave her an upgrade.  We live within a 1/2 mile of a trail area so it became a regular thing, this dog exercise deal and we improved the bike/dog interface.  Then my wife began tracking her times to certain parts of the trails.  Hmmm.  Then she started keeping heart rate stats and calories burned…gear selection in various parts of the course…oh my.  Jazzercise stopped.  More riding replaced it.

Last year I bought her a flat bar road bike, inspired by the fun I had on my new road bike last year.  Before that we would go do some simple bike path rides, maybe 30 miles at the most, but we would do it on our MTBs.  Not bad, but not great.  So when she got on her new road bike, she was inspired.  We could ride farther and faster now.  It was easier to be social too.  It was not long after that we did a metric century on a short weekend away.  I had helped her train for it.  Afterwards she said she would have liked to go for the full hundred and that her training needed to step up.  Oh oh.  I smelled trouble.

So when she said, during a ride, that all she wanted to do was ride bikes all day I knew I was in deep chain lube.  I had created a monster.

"Will a helmet ruin my hair?"
So we have been testing saddles and swapping to shorter cranks and tweaking this and trying that to fine tune the road bike.  But I really ratcheted up the noise when I began to build her a new MTB for the times we ride sans doggie.  It has been kinda' fun and kinda' painful as I/We pick parts together based on cost, color and fit -- feng shui meets the engineering dept.

Parts are tickling in as we speak.  The good thing is, when your wife is the accountant and you are buying it for her, it is darn near carte blanche.  "Did you order my new _____ (fill in the blanks) yet?".  Yes, sweetie.

Actually, all this is awesome.  I mean, there must be thousands of men out there that long for their 'significant other' to be an enthused cyclist.  I have seen that tried and failed many, many times.  So when I gained a mutt, I did not know that included in the deal was a new riding buddy who I just happen to be married to.

And for that, I can blame…and thank…the dog.  Good girl.

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