Monday, April 25, 2011

Who Is La Canadienne?

That is a complex and multi-faceted question that wouldn't lend itself to a blog-entry level answer even if I had a gift for brevity, which I don't. For purposes of this forum (a place to blog about cycling and cycling related topics) I'll confine my remarks on La Canadienne to that general theme.

First, yes, she is Canadian. Born in Ottawa, Ontario which to the rest of you geographically obtuse Americans (and yeah, before I met La Canadienne I counted myself among you) is just a bridge crossing away from Quebec

Picture of Ottawa River Hull
so (as she pointed out to me when she first read her blog-name in print) she's not French-Canadian but you can see it from where she grew up, and she went to French immersion High School, speaks passable French and has a brother who lives in Montreal, so ... La Canadienne it is.

Rodzilla's better half, Red Rider, may be the coolest wife ever (unlike Rodzilla's cherished Cannondale SS, .Saxo-bike spends its nights suspended from the garage ceiling and not hanging on a wall hook at the head of my bed, La Canadienne has her limits and believes in boundaries) but La Canadienne is the best spouse/ride partner* I know and nobody else has a wife that even comes close. Back in the day when I was riding my mtn bike everywhere I went, she told me she wanted a bike so we could ride together. We bought her a hybrid bike:
Fezzari Speedster R2
And for a summer we would go on 10-15 mile rides and feel good about ourselves. When dregger laid down the LOTOJA gauntlet I shelled out $1200 for a new road bike (a sum that seemed ridiculous and indulgent at the time, amazing how your perspective can change) and suddenly La Canadienne on her hybrid bike could no longer keep up. It looked like biking might be an activity we enjoyed individually until dregger lent me his Carbon Fiber Fuji Team RC** to train on and ride in LOTOJA.

Fuji Team RC

Shortly after the Fuji arrived, La Canadienne and I rode from West Jordan to Provo to buy her a gallon of chocolate milk from the BYU creamery for her birthday:

(that is no joke the reason we went, and she couldn't have been happier with the ride or the purchase). We averaged almost 17mph for more than 40 miles and La Canadienne told me if I would have stopped dogging it on the flats we could have gone faster. I called dregger that night and asked him how much he wanted for the Fuji. A $700 check later (best $700 I ever spent, far better than the Fezzari $1200) and it was game on after that.

Most of my training for LOTOJA was done solo in the pre-dawn hours before work. But on Thursdays off, weekends and non-religious Holidays I rode with La Canadienne. She was reluctant at first but by the end of the summer the "I'll never do thats became do you think I can? and then, let's go for it this week. We rode everywhere. Hills stopped intimidating La Canadienne and eventually we were climbing mountains together.

On our anniversary instead of going to some frous frous day spa/bed&breakfast for a weekend, we sent the kids to my in-laws and the two of us got up early and rode the Alpine Loop:

See these mountains behind me? I don't don't sweat 'em.

She didn't even blanch or back down with the occasional tumble and resulting road rash that would have stopped lesser wives/ride partners:

On our family vacation we didn't take the family dog (don't have one, La Canadienne is many things but a dog person is not one of them, or a pet person of any sort for that matter... but that's a different blog for a different day) but we did get a trailer hitch mounted to the family mini-van and purchased a bike rack so my LOTOJA training wouldn't be put on a two week hiatus.

We rode together across the Mississippi river from Nauvoo Illinois and to Keokuk Iowa and pretty much all over the Capitol region of Canada (Ottawa/Hull, again for the Canadian geography ignorant).

La Canadienne and Professor Jon, Constance Bay, Ontario

By the end of Summer La Canadienne had set her sites on the Fall Tour de St George 75 mile option, but scheduling difficulties, family illness and other life incidentals got in the way and the challenge was deferred until 2011 (in the form of the Desperado Duel 100 mile distance where she will become the first wife in the Cycling with Rodzilla blog-o-sphere to eclipse the century mark ... Oh, did that sound like a laying down the gauntlet-style challenge? I didn't mean it to sound that way ... much.) Instead we settled for the Suncrest Fall summit:

La Canadienne battles Catherine Wheel to a stalemate

La Canadienne makes the summit before I'm able to catch my breath or formulate any cogent thoughts to narrate the moment

A ride La Canadienne swore she would never attempt in fact stated emphatically she had no interest in even trying. My how things can change.

In the interest of full disclosure, in the summer of 2005 under pressure from a younger brother who, for employment purposes, wanted sponsorship to become a citizen of this great land, La Canadienne raised her right hand and swore allegiance to the Stars & Stripes and officially renounced her Canadian citizenship. While the US does not recognize the duality of her allegiance, those that know her realize that while her mailing address has a US postal code:

Her home, heart, family and ultimate, no fingers crossed behind her back loyalty lies in the Great White North:

So Who is La Canadienne? For 19 years she's been the wife I love, and for two cycling seasons she's been my ride partner, race day support crew, enthusiastic cheering section and above all else, my favourite Canadian.

O Canada! Our home and native land
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
The true north, strong and free
From far and wide, O Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

O Canada! Terre de nos aieux
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brilliants exploix.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

*That all might change now that Liz is done having babies and has decided to start having fun again. For now the title of Wife Whose Road Riding Prowess You Most Covet has to go to La Canadienne.

** the venerable Fuji team RC, ridden to the top of the podium in the inaugural Pony Express Century ride, internationally renowned finisher of LOTOJA 2010 and trusted mount of La Canadienne. Long may you (& she) run:


  1. Love the post and the pictures. Jenn is an awesome cyclist even if she is from Canada. :) She is always up for anything.