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A New Personal Best for My Wife and I on the Tandem for a Tuesday Night!!!

Well, every once in a while a small miracle happens and Jess and I hit the perfect night on our tandem. The weather was wonderful. Partly cloudy, just a slight breeze out of the north, and my wife, the Rear Admiral to my Captain of the team, made the command decision that we should try to hang with the small-ish A-Elite/A-Group as long as we could. And I executed that decision.

We rolled out after fixing a timing chain issue – it pops when we take the bike out of the back of the vehicle every now and again. It’s happened twice, now, so I’ll have to be more mindful when taking it out of the SUV. Anyway, without a warm-up, we rolled out and went from easy-going out of the parking lot to 23-mph in a half-mile. Originally, I’d thought about staying in the rotation and taking our lumps up front with the rest of the group, but thought better of it. I chose, instead, to stay at the back… for two reasons. First, so I didn’t mess anyone up if we fell off the back. Second, well, it’s a lot easier at the back. Every time someone peeled off the front, I’d make room for them to slide over in front of us.

And we did well.

I’d anticipated we’d hang on for eight or ten miles, but I didn’t hold out much hope beyond that. I undershot our chances by a lot. Staying with the group, even at speeds upwards of 26-mph wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated with the gentle breeze and a whole train of cyclists ahead of us… and my wife absolutely killing it. I kept looking down at my computer, wondering if my wife saw how fast we were going. We worked together perfectly, that’s the best way to put it.

15-miles in we were still with the group and had a 23.1-mph average, but we were closing in on the hills. We rounded the corner on Lytle Rd and headed downhill for a quick few seconds before the pitch turned upwards… and just as my buddy Chucker took the front… and slowed the train down from 22-mph (which we normally climb those hills at) to 18-mph. Just enough for my wife and I to hang on. Unfortunately, we got stuck with a few other riders behind a lady in a Cadillac who decided it would be a good idea to text someone whilst waiting at the stop sign, so we got separated from the group who went around her rather than wait.

Once we were off the back, that was it. We never came close to catching up with the main group but we didn’t call it quits, either…

With 13-miles to go, we gave it everything we had and kept our average over 21-mph. We’d catch and lose the wheels of the four riders ahead of us several times but when we hit the City Limits sign, we cruised across the line with a cool 21.4-mph. The fastest average we’d ever held on a tandem… and about 3-mph faster than our normal Tuesday night club ride.

We were both exceedingly happy with how we did, and my wife put it best when she said she didn’t think she could have done that on a single bike, but when we’re on the tandem, she knows I’ve got her back when she needs me and she’s got mine when I need it. And that’s exactly it. I won’t lie, either… I got more than a little misty when she was talking about how she knew I had her back and that she had mine. We’ve worked really hard on our marriage to get to that point. And the hard work is clearly paying off.

We do well on the tandem because we are the definition of a tandem team.

Good times, noodle salad. I slept like a baby last night.

Love, On a Tandem Bicycle

My wife and I rolled out Saturday morning. We’re recovering from Covid and don’t quite want to ride with our friends yet, but my fever was the last to break four days ago – we’re well beyond contagious. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be a little overly cautious when it comes to Covid. We went though it easily enough, but you never know who won’t.

We’re riding easy, getting our legs back under us and are having a wonderful time of it. We talk about how things are going in our lives, we talk about our plans and aspirations, and we regularly talk of how much we love each other, that we’re excited to see what comes next. We went, in five months, from riding once a week on the tandem to almost every time we throw a leg over a bicycle. It wasn’t always this wonderful. In fact, this love story has a contentious start…

I was a very aggressive rider with a complex about keeping up with the group. If we struggled to keep up, even at a 21-mph pace, I’d try to pedal through my wife to keep the wheel ahead of me. This was hard on my wife and she got to a point where she didn’t much care for the tandem. She also failed to clue me in on this – however, I’d been dense enough I’d missed it myself.

We’d take our tandem out now and again when we anticipated an easier paced ride and I always made sure to tell my wife how much I loved riding that bike with her but I never got the warm, fuzzy response I hoped for. Say, something along the lines of “I love riding the tandem with you, too.” Well, my wife wasn’t all that happy because she felt out of sorts with the fact I was so much stronger a rider than she was. One day, after a difficult, fast ride which resulted in the group splitting up and my wife and I both cranky, it was suggested we should designate Sunday a “Funday” and keep the pace reasonable, say around 17-mph. If someone (or a few someone’s) took the pace up too hot, they’d be reeled in… and life on the tandem improved. We rode the tandem every Sunday Funday and my wife grew to love it. The more fun we had on it, the more we looked forward to riding it.

My wife and I still had marriage issues, but the tandem helped.

This spring, I came to the inglorious conclusion that our issues might improve if I brought out an industrial-sized street sweeper to clean my side of the street (rather than continually concentrate on and complain about how dirty my wife’s side was). Over a series of a few weeks I went through life-altering, massive changes. I saw a lot of room for improvement on my part, and I’d thought I was pretty decent.

I called my wife in tears one day and begged her forgiveness for the way I’d been behaving. I changed, and my wife changed with me. And we fell in love again, but with the experience of having been married for almost twenty-five years. Not only that, with our marriage improving off the bike, riding on the tandem really improved.

Shortly thereafter, I realized there wasn’t any room for that aggressive cyclist on the tandem and my wife. As well, my wife began putting forth an outstanding effort, especially when I needed a little extra boost. We became a tandem couple and a team. As our lives improved off the bike, our time on the bike became… I don’t even know how to put this into words. All I can say is being able to ride with my wife the way we do has been nothing short of amazing.

This love story isn’t perfect, however. We’ve both given up a little of our identities on single bikes to be the tandem couple we are today. I’ve had to give up that aggressive, fast way of riding so I don’t make life on the tandem difficult for my wife. My wife has had to give up much of her identity on a single bike to ride with me because, as my Rear Admiral, she doesn’t have to worry about the intricacies of riding in a group riding and holding a wheel… without practice, she worries about making mistakes.

For me, I’ve never been happier on two wheels, on a tandem with my wife. I’m willing to sacrifice being a speed demon for the happiness of riding with my soulmate… and I definitely don’t mind riding the single bikes now and again to make sure my wife gets her practice in a group. It’s really not an issue for me as much time as we spend on the tandem. I’ve got around 3,000 miles so far this year. I figure the split is close to this; 700 on the trainer, 800 on single bikes and a whopping 1,500 on the tandem.

A friend who happens to be one of the strongest riders I know messaged me on Strava that I was a lucky man being able to ride happily with my wife on the tandem. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know I am.

My wife and I found love. On a tandem bicycle.

A Second, More Successful, VASTLY More Enjoyable Return to Cycling with Covid

I know, I know, I said I was going to take a little more time off in yesterday’s post…

My low-grade fever broke (99.4, I usually run about 97.8) early yesterday morning. As the day wore on and I felt better, taking the tandem out for a spin with my wife looked pretty fantastic. She’s two days ahead of me, as our bouts with Covid went, so she feels a couple of days better than I do. She also wanted a nice, slow, short return to riding so the tandem was the perfect choice.

We only did eleven miles at 15-ish-mph, but that was perfect. My lungs didn’t bother me a bit and we had a lovely conversation along the way.

I also brought Gatorade with me in lieu of my normal plain water. That agreed with my throat a little more than anticipated.

And so it was, my wife and I out on the tandem for a short little spin to shake the cobwebs out. There’s no place I’d rather have been. It was beautiful.

Life on two wheels is a blessing.

The Story of How My Wife and I Found Happiness on a Tandem (While Finding Each Other Off It) Part Two

Part one is here and handled the period from when we picked up our Co-Motion Periscope in 2016 to just this spring, six years later. Part two picks up mid-June of ’22 at the Sunrise Adventure Tour in Alpena, day one. My wife and I had, within the last few months, just fallen in love. All over again. We’d found ourselves off the bike…

We woke up in the morning and it was already windy – and they were calling for gale-force winds before the end of the day. I thought we were going to have the wind stacked right, though; headwind to start, tailwind to finish.

Still dark out and in the wee hours of the morning, we went to the bathroom facility and cleaned up to roll out. It was a cool morning, chilly, actually. As one would expect, we were kitted out in our matching jerseys from the local shop but also included knee and arm warmers. Once dressed, we took the registration kit we had and headed over to the start. We worked late check-in till 9 before prepping the tandem to roll out.

The morning had warmed quickly with the rising sun and we ditched the arm-warmers before we ever clipped in, and the wind really wasn’t as bad as had been advertised. With the hour-late start, I wondered how long it would take to reel in our first straggling cyclist. We counted down and shoved off, taking our time getting into our groove. Within three or four miles we were cruising down the road comfortably. City streets gave way to rural, quiet, immaculate roads. The scenery was wonderful and the air untouched from the hustle and bustle of southern Michigan’s over-concentrated heavy industry 180 miles away. I couldn’t help but take deep breaths to take in the awesome cedar smell in the air. My wife and I, our vows just renewed, talked of fun, happy, lovey things throughout much of the ride.

For me, it felt like a dream come true. We were the only bike on the road for two hours until we started reeling people in. We stopped when the desire, or scenery, struck us and we acted like we were newlyweds again, all while having the comfortability that comes with 25-years of marriage. It was the best of both worlds. Jess, my wife, was happier than I’d ever seen her on a bicycle. Hell, I was too, for that matter – all of these years and I’m thinking I was having the time of my life riding with friends. I was on a tandem with my best friend sitting right behind me. I let my wife know regularly how happy I was to be riding with her.

The wind really started howling as we approached Alpena again and my wife was more than a little nervous and asked if we should walk. I reassured her that I had us steady and we rolled on. Carefully. I can’t remember what our mileage was or what our average pace was when we finished. For the first time since I started cycling, I didn’t care. We’d just completed the most enjoyable ride I’d ever been on.

The rest of the evening was perfect leading into Saturday…

I was nervous for day two of Sunrise Adventure. It was a 40-mile out and back with headwind all the way out but tailwind all the way back. The starting temp was a little cooler, but the abundant sunshine made the cool temp livable. With arm and leg warmers. We rolled out into the wind on what turned out to be the most beautiful ride I’d ever been on. Every turn proved more beautiful. We’d suffered a popped synchronizing chain which requires loosening a few bolts and the eccentric bottom bracket shell. We ended up rolling out 20 minutes after everyone else. Jess usually doesn’t ride two hard rides in a row like that, let alone three, so we just took it steady into the wind. I made sure to reassure her several times that, should we end up out there alone, I’d be perfectly happy to spend the time with her whatever pace we ended up with.

As it turned out, there was no need to worry. We had a blast and rode very well together.

At one of the rest stops, my wife asked if we could move her saddle forward a little bit. I pulled out a 5-mil Allen key that I carry in the saddle bag and tended to it immediately. This was the result:

From there, simply put, we hauled ass. We took the route all the way up to Preque Isle to some of the most beautiful road I’ve ever had the privilege of riding. My wife saw a turn-off on the right and quickly said, “Oh my God, it’s beautiful!” I quickly looked right and just barely caught a glimpse of a gorgeous beach. I asked if she wanted to check it out and whipped the bike around to head back to the parking lot. This is what we saw:

It was amazing. That wasn’t even the best, though. That was yet to come at the Presque Isle Lighthouse built in 1840…

The trip back, with a steady diet of tailwind, was nothing short of outstanding. We were perfectly synched all day and had a most wonderful ride.

We had a wonderful lunch after the ride at The Fresh Palate and then a huge dinner at a fantastic Mexican restaurant on the water. We fell asleep watching Castle in each other’s arms, my wife resting her head in the crook of my shoulder. If I had to define peace and contentment in a marriage, that was it.

And that left day three, a lovely loop north and west up to Long Lake. It was another perfect ride followed by a nice lunch together before we packed up our pop-up camper and rolled for home.

That tour, in my mind, cemented us as a tandem couple. For me, simply because I love riding with my wife. For Jess, it was a little more than just wanting to ride with me. I gather, through what we talked about all weekend long, that she needed to feel safe to ride at our pace, whatever that was. She needed to know that this would indeed be an adventure and that we’d be taking the scenic route with plenty of stops along the way to see the sights… and I gave her exactly what she was looking for.

My transformation as a cyclist from someone who rides to be fast to someone who rides to be reasonably fit and to have wonderful rides and adventures with my wife because it’s awesome fun was complete.

We found each other through the pale din of resentment and repaired our marriage off the bike. Then we found true happiness on one big, heavy, wonderful tandem. Neither one of us could be happier.

The Story of How My Wife and I Found Happiness on a Tandem (While Finding Each Other Off It) Part One of Two.

We brought our first tandem home on May 13th of 2016.

To tell you the truth, it doesn’t look much different today. We’ve got a nice saddle bag on the seatpost and we’ve got fenders on it, but other than that, it’s the same bike we brought home.

I was excited to start riding with my wife and kids right away. My wife and I struggled mildly with a power/control issues too numerous to bother with. We started off graciously enough, but over time I think it’s fair to say we both allowed some off the bike resentments to get in the way of our enjoyment of the new tandem. As the resentments built up over time, they made our time on the tandem tougher. Even through all of that, I’d catch a glimpse of how excellent we could be on the bike and that made me love it.

I wanted for us to flourish on our tandem.

After that, though, call it 2018, we shelved the tandem except on the rare occasion. It was in the spring of 2020, the pandemic, that a friend suggested we should ride the tandem more. With an unknown amount of time off for CovidPanic, we decided to give it another go. We fared much better through the pandemic. I’d like to think I softened a little bit and my wife got stronger. We also started a “Sunday Funday” where we’d drop the pace from an expected 20-ish-mph down to 17 to 18-mph. This meant we didn’t have to struggle so much to keep the pace and our friends got a break from the hammer-fests.

We flourished, even choosing to ride the tandem on successive weekend days – even on weekdays now and again. I was really enjoying riding the tandem at the end of the 2021 season and we were both looking forward to 2022’s spring session as the snow started to melt in late February.

Then, in March, through a series of seemingly fluke events (that we choose to see as God helping us do what we couldn’t for ourselves), I came to realize that, while I was a decent man and a good husband, I was woefully self-centered and I could do a lot better. Once I saw the full extent of my transgressions, I broke down. I called my wife and asked her to meet me so we could talk about a few things I’d come to realize. I was in tears by the end of the call.

Early March was the beginning of a complete transformation of our marriage. With those changes, my wife and I went from tolerating each other to wanting to be together. We fixed almost all of what had been keeping us at arm’s length from one another… and that translated to riding the tandem.

March turned into April and April into May and we were on the tandem more days a week than on the single bikes. We even started taking the tandem to the Tuesday night hammer-fest in Lennon.

As May turned to June, Jess and I were starting to fire on all cylinders off the bike and that translated into fantastic times on the bike. We were 100% in love again. We renewed our vows a few days after our 25th Wedding Anniversary, and after ordering a new top-of-the-line gravel bike tandem with a spare set of road wheels to mark the occasion. Our Silver Anniversary present to each other is a new super-lightweight tandem.

The real kick to cement our relationship and our love of tandem riding came at a mid-June tour. A tour we went on alone, not knowing or having ridden with anyone else that was riding. We volunteered as well (as it turned out, to handle registration). This was the trip that showed us both that things were going to be different, and vastly better, for the rest of our lives together. We also took the tandem for our first solo road trip… and I knew we were going to have to ride the medium routes so we didn’t wear ourselves out to bring the tandem.

My wife checked the navigation and there were two ways up, one a little slower than the other but far more beautiful of a journey. I asked if we could take the back way, up the coast through Au Gres, Tawas and Oscoda, Michigan toward our final destination of Alpena. My parents rented a cottage on Lake Huron in Oscoda every summer for several years running and my grandmother used to live in Alpena where our parents would send us for a week or two every summer to get a break from us. I imagine my wife almost fainted when I asked for the scenic route!

Then, on the way up, we passed a beautiful park beach heading through Oscoda and my wife asked if we could turn around to walk on the beach for a minute. I can’t remember what I said specifically, but it was resoundingly affirmative. Let’s say, “Heck yeah”! And we whipped around at the first gas station we came to and headed back to the park.

We took a few selfies on the beach and went for a ten minute walk, and even did a little wading before heading back to the car. As we headed up the road, my wife asked what I’d done with her husband that I was willing to take the scenic route and stop along the way to take a look at the scenery. She asked where my get-there-itis went.

I took a minute to gather my thoughts and put it simply that the change was real and I was just happy to be with her, that we could take as long as she wanted. We both got misty over the exchange.

When we arrived, we set up the camper and headed over to pick up a few subs for lunch – one each for us and one for the ride coordinator.

The view from our campsite…

We headed over to start with our volunteer work. My wife asked to do the registration and I asked to work alongside her. I said as long as we could work together, I would work as long as they needed us. We worked from 1 in the afternoon till almost 8:30 in the evening and we absolutely rocked registration out. It was astonishingly smooth.

My wife started crying as we drove to dinner after I spoke to a local to find a great place to eat. She couldn’t believe I would work beside her, for that long, without even a complaint about how long we were working – she was sure I’d have wanted to work at something else. I welled up and the floodgates opened. I explained that I was not the same guy anymore. Working with her on the registration, was a blast. Even though we were working, we were side-by-side, working together, so there was a connection that made it good enough just to be together. We ate dinner at a fine restaurant, choosing a booth, sitting next to each other so we could hold hands… and we shared our appetizer and entrees.

I don’t know what time we got back to the camper, but it was late. We turned in and cuddled tight. You couldn’t fit a piece of paper betwixt us…

Originally, this was going to be a one part post but it’s already getting long. I’m going to split it here and say, “Stay tuned for Part Two” due out Friday.

2022 Firecracker 100k – Our First 100k on the Tandem was a Wonderful Experience for the Both of Us

My wife and I have had a limit of about 50 miles on the tandem. Once we hit 40-ish miles, she starts getting… erm… angry. Yes, that’s a good word to use. We both had saddle issues once we hit that distance, but I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time over the last year getting both dialed in the best I could and especially for my wife over the last few weeks. Let’s say I’ve dedicated myself to her setup with the same enthusiasm I throw at my own – actually, a little more.

And so, with that, I gently worked my wife up to riding the big Independence Day route with the group on the tandem. My wife was a lot nervous, but I assured her that I had her and if we ended up getting dropped, out there by ourselves, I would be perfectly happy riding with my best friend. She agreed to ride…

And we absolutely rocked ass.

I made a slight saddle adjustment in the parking lot at her request (and I mean slight) before rolling out, moving the saddle back ever so slightly and nosing it down just a hair. This is the result:

This smile is how you know you’ve got a saddle dialed in correctly…

We had an awesome group, probably our biggest ever for the Independence Day ride, consisting of at least twenty cyclists on 17 bikes (three tandems!) and we were all matched for pace and ability excellently (one of the wonderful benefits of an invite-only ride).

The start was amazing and we quickly hit 22-mph and stayed there for the most part. With such a big group, maintaining speed was fairly easy. I could tell the saddle adjustments we’d made were well received – the Rear Admiral was putting awesome power to the pedals and we were perfectly in synch with each other. We held our speed easily.

The morning couldn’t have been better. Warm temperature, but not too warm. Sunny, and just mildly breezy… and my wife and I were riding as good as we ever had. We pulled into our second rest stop with a 19-mph average and plenty in the tank.

Shortly thereafter, we ended up chasing an old friend down and and kept a playful manner throughout the whole ride. The group held together excellently well, too, though we weren’t without our issues. Chasing down that old friend took a toll on one of the tandem couples and a couple of others on single bikes. I should have sat up and called for everyone to leave him be, but even Jess was drawn in by the carrot just off the front of the group… you can’t help by chase a guy down.

We ended up getting an emergency call from Jessica’s dad just after our last stop so we let the group go and stayed back in the shade on the sidewalk to talk things through. Diane and Jeff, and Mike K came back to round us up and the five of us headed toward home. We still had better than an 18.7-mph average with tailwind all the way home.

I’d expected Jess to be absolutely smoked in the last couple of miles but she remained upbeat and happy. I snapped this photo shortly after we rolled over 62.4 miles:

The ride was all over but the shouting… our first 100k on the tandem. Dinner (and ice cream) were extra special last night. We ended up watching a couple of episodes of Castle out in the backyard on our bench swing in each others arms.

Our status as a tandem couple is set and we couldn’t be happier. We worked hard for this… and you can bet we’re enjoying it.

Thanks, God.

Happy Independence Day, America!

That’s all that needs be said, my friends. Enjoy your day. My wife and I will spend much of it on the tandem. There’s no place I’d rather be.

…And hotdogs for lunch… the one thing the politicians, pandemic and supply chain hasn’t been able to screw up. WOOHOO!

Is It Gaudy (Or Outstandingly Awesome) for Tandem Couples to Match Their Kit?

In a sport replete with peacocks, the question must be asked, is it gaudy (or outstandingly awesome) for tandem couples to match their cycling kit (clothes)?

I suppose I could start this post out with, “if your answer is gaudy, well, it’s unfortunate your being wrong and all”…

My wife and I do match quite often (mainly for weekend and big ticket rides). In fact, we’ve now got four matching sets of kit. We can match every day we ride on the tandem.

That last iteration, with the photo taken atop Presque Isle’s 1840 lighthouse, is obviously not a perfect matching kit, we call that our peacock kit, it’s close enough for government work.

Fellow tandem riders, embrace your inner nerd and match your spouse when you ride tandem (or even on single bikes). Off the bike, it’s kinda creepy (I’ve seen it, too, right down to the shoes and belts – shit is spooky weird). On the bike, however, it’s outstandingly awesome.

Thou shalt match kits on a tandem, was ever thus. Oh, and smile a lot – because tandems are awesome.

Another Wonderful Sunday Funday with My Wife on Our Tandem… and a Monday… and a Tuesday

My Rear Admiral and I are neck deep in our tandem and we’re both loving it. My wife worries, a little too much (IMHO), that I need my normal buddy rides but I’ve tried to let her know that there’s no place I’d rather be than on the tandem with her. I do have some big rides coming up, of course, that will be on a single bike with my friends. The Assenmacher 100 pre-ride, the Assenmacher 100, DALMAC… but the way I see it, I’m following my heart, here.

That I’m actually paying attention to what my heart wants is a small miracle in and of itself and my heart wants me on that tandem with my wife, it feels that’s where I am happiest on a bicycle. I love being a tandem couple all the way down to my baby toes tucked in our matching socks.

I asked my wife to take a quick video now that we can post them on Strava… she’s starting the “L” in “I love you”… and now you know why I love riding with my wife.

We rolled out Sunday morning to a perfect setting. Not too hot, not too cool, a little bit of sun and the rain from the night before had dried up. Even the wind was behaving (for once). We ate most of the headwind at the beginning of the ride, then settled in for an awesome stretch of tailwind on the way home. We’d had a 17-ish-mph average when we made the turn and pulled into the driveway with better than 18.3. The ride was an absolute blast.

For Monday, now this one was a kicker to my ticker; my wife had to work from home because she had some business in town to attend to in the late morning. She could have ridden early on her road bike with my buddy, Mike, but she opted to ride in the afternoon with me, on the tandem, instead. She made sure to lay down the Rear Admiral law, though; no speed demon crap – she wanted nice and easy. That’s what we always do on Monday, right before the big event Tuesday, so I was pleased as punch to comply. We talked about things of consequence the entire time we were on the bike, an hour and five minutes – and we still maintained a 16-mph average.

We got a great “spinning” ride in and talked about everything we had coming up that needed to be kicked around. We never would have had time to do both separately and we would have missed half of what was said on single bikes. Chalk up one more reason to love the tandem.

Now there’s tonight… we’re doing the tandem this evening so we can be the “B” group. Our A-Elite and A groups have merged, so there’s some lamentation that the “B” group has gone. Well, my wife and I are going do our part to resurrect it.

And that’ll be our fifth day in a row on the tandem.

You can’t see it, but I just did a little happy dance. Thanks, God.

A Couple of Days Off for Golf… Followed by… Tandemonium!

This year is a distinct departure from the last eleven. In an effort to be a better husband to my wife, I’ve let go of my need/desire (take your pick) to be an aggressively fast cyclist. This change in heart has been a long time in coming and, while my previous choices didn’t make me a “bad” husband/father, looking back I don’t think there’s any question I was selfish and self-centered. Now, you may wonder how this runs into golf. Well, I used to golf. A lot. I could regularly shoot in the 70s for 18 holes and would even manage par or one under fairly consistently on moderate to easy courses. I can still remember the first round I beat my dad (who spent double the time I did on a golf course and could kick my butt with fairways and greens). Then Alzheimer’s and what they call alcoholic “wet brain” at the same time for my dad. I met up with my dad every Friday for years for a Friday afternoon round of golf. We’d play 18, then get some lunch or dinner. Then I’d head home to my wife and kids. Speaking of kids, after our first was born, golf took a back seat. Practice four days a week with two rounds a week turned into one practice day and a round or two a week. My dad started breaking down in 2013 and we moved him to a home so he could be looked after. Our Friday golf outing dwindled from 18 holes to 14, to 9… and when my dad started teeing up the ball at me, I pulled the plug and stopped taking him.

Shortly after my dad died, I quit golf altogether. It just wasn’t the same without him and our Friday outings. I quit for a broken heart.

Well, this past spring, my daughter asked me to teach the game to her and, being the dad I am, I said I would. I had to find a way to get my heart back into it, though. I took my dad’s set of Callaway Big Bertha Irons in and had the shafts lengthened and re-gripped and I had a second set of my dad’s clubs regripped for my daughter. With my dad’s spirit in my golf bag, I started practicing again at the local driving range about five miles from my house. I’ve played four rounds in the last, call it five weeks, and I almost feel like my old self. When I get a hold of a drive, I’m hitting 270 to 280 yards (247 to 256 meters) and am starting to get quite proficient with my short irons (my 5 and 6 still need some work). Not bad for a 52-year-old who hasn’t swung a club in eight years.

So, uncharacteristically, twice last week I chose golf, or practice over riding. Once to take my daughter to the range, Wednesday, and once Friday for an invite to a supplier’s golf outing.

I played well, Friday – a four man best-ball scramble. I one-putted for holes to keep our team even or drop a shot – all over 20′ with the longest at least 40′ (12 meters) and hit several fantastic drives, as well as a few good iron shots. I started really getting warmed up in the middle holes, call it six to fourteen before sputtering out because I was hungry.

In that eight hole stretch I felt like the old me again, and it was good.

Saturday, it was time for a rowdy ride on the tandem with my lovely wife – my (new-ish) favorite mode of cycling. We did a nice 46-mile loop with an average pace over 18-mph. We were absolutely on as a couple and the ride showed it. We were laughing and talking and had two long pulls in excess of 16-miles, one dead into a high single-digit headwind. I love it when we’re on like that. The rest of the day was a special celebration for my wife that I need not get into here, but I will say it was a lovely day.

Today will be more of the same – tandemonium, yet again, followed by yard work and some flower planting and yardwork.

More tomorrow.