A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams


August 2015

Anti-body = Anti-sex = Anti-woman = Barred from Paradise

I used to be a Christian. This morning, having run out of positivity on the Internet to accompany my morning coffee, I turned to my friend, Reverend Beverly Dale, who helped me process the joint loss of my marriage and my religion five years ago, to see what was up in the world of sex positive Christianity.

Reverend Dale, or “Rev Bev” as she was affectionately nicknamed by her students back at Penn, is a magnificent woman. A sufferer of emotional, physical and sexual abuse throughout her childhood, she never lost hold of her Christian faith and now uses her experience and her triumph over the injury and the shame to guide others on a path of joy and freedom never before experienced inside the walls of modern Churchdom.

The linked video is of her sermon “A Veiled Gospel Truth: God as Erotic Passion.” In it she references St. Augustine as the father of modern Christian body shame and sex negativity. Saint Augustine was a notorious misogynist. What struck me was her claim that he fathered not only the anti sex and anti body philsophy that governs modern Christian thought, but that he also fathered the anti-woman ideology that pervades our society.

The typical Story goes like this. Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden*, an eternal paradise where they would want for nothing. In order to remain in the garden they needed to obey only one rule: Eat not the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I like this part because it can be translated to “the conditions to living in paradise are only that one must not know the difference between good and evil, only to be.” Woman, however, was weak of mind and became tricked by the Serpant. She ate of the tree and then in her shame made Man to eat as well, thus orchestrating his fall from grace. Woman, therefore is the cause of Man’s sin. If you can control the woman, you can control the sin and thus regain your righteousness.

It makes sense to me that to truly have freedom in our life we must learn to love completely and without restraint. I think the male hatred of the female is actually an extension of the male hatred of his own body and his inability to control his impulses. The reason why our society hates the feminine so much is then because the feminine becomes a representation of everything society hates about itself. But the male and the female exist in balance, harmony and perfection. We were created that way, to complement each other, with each one being completed and made greater by the other. To deny the feminine is to deny the part of one’s self that is passionate, warm, flowing, and creatively powerful. These qualities are indeed difficult to control and in our control oriented society they become faults. However, a world without passion, a world without creativity, a world in which we are afraid to dive into the luscious depths of our very existence is a world not worth living in.

Paradise is living without the ability to distinguish between good and evil. It is the place in our hearts where we accept ourselves without caveat or criticism. It is a place where love flows freely. Of course we all want entrance to this place. We all want to be loved freely and without caveat. The first step on the path to paradise then is to accept and love our selves — the male and the female within us — for if we do not know how to love our selves, how can we know how to love another? Or what it feels like to be loved? We run the risk of walking right into paradise, and then back out again because we don’t know how to recognize it when we see it.

*According to Sex at Dawn, they were actually thrown into a garden, but that’s a different discussion.


I have always been told I am competitive. For a while I denied it. I only wanted to be the best I possibly could. I couldn’t understand how other people had anything to do with my goals.

Then I spent the entirety of my adolescence — save for a brief nine months immediately preceding menarche — feeling utterly and completely alone.

Yesterday I realized that that loneliness was my competitiveness lacking an appropriate outlet. Or at least a great part of it was.

You see, very few people in the world know what it’s like to dedicate themselves wholly and single mindedly to a task. Many people think they know.

For example Thunder thinks he knows what it means to be truly great as a cyclist. He thinks it means abusing himself, denying himself, making every practice session gut wrenchingly difficult so that he can feel like he is doing everything he can to be great. Many Japanese men share a similar attitude. But true greatness requires attention to every detail. You cannot neglect your emotional health because you want to be an athlete any more than you can neglect your physical health because you want to be a genius.

To a certain extent, the single-minded head bashing approach to training will work. It will take the young and inexperienced well into the ranks of mediocre or slightly advanced. However, to break through to the highest echelons of human performance one must become intimate with the entirety of their existence: mind, body, heart, and environment. Every one of these must work in harmony if you want to know the true limits of your ability and not just fizzle out somewhere in the middle of the path.

After spending time with a true champion, I now understand that my inability to connect with the people around me, even the “active” and the “sporty” people is perhaps a direct result of the fact that I want to be truly great while most people are content to just be pretty good. It’s not to say that I am better than others. I still have a long way to go and there are countless unknowns on the path in front of me that could derail my plans, but I know where I want to go and that is to the edge. My loneliness it seems is because I keep surrounding myself with people who are better than me by chance — because they were lucky enough to be born male, or because they were trained from a younger age — but not people who are traveling the same path to greatness that I am traveling.

It is thanks to my dearest rival that I understand the difference between a champion and an amateur. It was she who taught me that the competition isn’t even about winning, but about discovering how you can take that next step on the path to discovering your own potential.

No wonder I have been so lonely all these years. I have confused chance and circumstance with drive and intention for almost my whole life. I am truly excited now to see what the world looks like when I can share it with people who are traveling the same path with me.

Digging Deep and Things

Today’s practice was insanity. We rode our hill repeats loop course this morning — five loops of a ten kilometer course featuring a steep (15-17% grade) hill followed by a long, flowing, fast descent. This week I had ridden 170 kilometers leading up to practice and only forty of them were gentle. The rest were brutal hills through these beautiful mountains that I live in. I had done my best to recover, but rock climbing, trials practice and an impromptu plank competition (x2) had left me sore from top to bottom and the power necessary to climb the hill brought me well into my anaerobic zone. I was hurting.

Our theme was “each person leads one loop.” Five team mates meant five loops. The shop owner joined us this morning and watched our form and gave us all advice on posture, cadence, gears, pacing. It was real time and highly personal. I like that man more and more every time I meet him. I lead the second loop and focused hard on my breathing (exhale completely, open your chest) and my pacing. I wanted to make sure I could lead the group solidly through my entire loop even though I knew I was the weakest one on the climbs. When he came up through the ranks and rode next to me his only words were “that’s it, nice form!” I was exhilarated!

My thighs were on fire and I was sweating rivulets down my face and arms. It was dripping into my eyes and I was panting, my heart pounding as I finished the climbs of the second loop. I took a deep breath and headed into the descent quietly dreading the remaining three loops and wondering if I would even be able to complete them. The central hill is so steep that more than once I’ve gotten wobbly from exhaustion and my pace had slowed so much that I was afraid I would simply topple over. You’re pushing so hard into the pedals that even if you wanted to bail you’d be hard pressed to unweight them long enough to unclip.

We headed into the descent and this is where I seem to shine. Even though I reflexively tense up when I feel overwhelmed technically, and I find high speed descents on tight mountain passes to be very overwhelming, I have been focusing consistently on my technique. When I’m taking corners I check in with my whole body to see where I am on the bicycle: Where is my weight? Where is my focus? My hand position? Am I leaned in or upright? Do I extend my inside knee? How close does my line take me to the edge of my lane? Was I able to adjust mid turn? Could I have pedaled this corner? Braked later or lighter? In barely a month’s time I have gotten so much faster on my descents that my team mates are starting to have trouble keeping up. This is good.

And it is not just the corners that I’m taking faster. I seem to have an ability to fly on the flats that even the boys in my group don’t possess. I burn out faster than they do still, and if they try to sprint and over take me then I will most surely drop behind, but I don’t let up. I push it and I hold it. My eyes become fierce, my form light and compact. The world around me hums and blurs until there is just me and the road and perhaps the wheel I am chasing. It’s an intense and dangerous place to be in, but that is where the beast lives.

With the power of the beast I dropped frumps no less than three times today. I’m feeling very smug about it.

After pracitce Kamiya-san talked with me a bit about my form and my training and where I should put my focus. The man has incredible patience with me. He is just a spring of information and he just lets it flow whenever I ask. I love it.

Coming home I met with my neighbor, a former marine and sniper. We talked about the power of the human will. Apparently in the marines they teach their cadets that the power of will is strong enough to control the body and overcome any emotion. I don’t believe in overcoming emotions, though I know it is possible. As he was talking to me what I heard him say was

The human mind and the human heart is stronger than any circumstance you can find yourself in. If you want to be the champion hard enough, no one will be able to stop you.

As an old woman, or so the journalists who cover professional cycling would want me to believe I am, I am starting this journey at a serious disadvantage to the young’uns who have been nurtured and sculpted since puberty for their sport. Sports science would have me believe that it’s too late for me, that my body’s ability to produce power is already in decline, that my timer has run out and that I’ll never make it. But I don’t believe in science. I believe in myself. All I have to hang on to is this aching, burning desire to range free over the roads, chasing down my rivals and devouring them with the pure animalistic hunger that keeps my heart beating and my legs churning.

Today I learned that even though that may be all I have, it is really all I need.

A Guide to Politics

I don’t like to get into discussions of politics with people. I find that they are highly divisive. I can get along perfectly with someone, share many of the same values and hobbies, and generally like that person… until we start discussing politics.

As I was going to work yesterday I was thinking to myself, why is it that politics arouses people so much? Why is angry so often associated with politicians and their supporters? I think the answer is because politics is competition. There can only be one president, so anyone who would claim the position must prove himself* more suitable, more capable, more charismatic, more American than the other opponents. The higher the stakes, the fiercer the competition. Throw in the media channels which thrive on arousal — righteous anger, filthy gossip, horrific tragedy — and you have an environment where anyone who is not incendiary to at least some part of the population simply cannot get the attention necessary to garner support and win an election.

I am a fan of truth and freedom. I seek truth instinctively, and I sincerely believe that freedom of self determination is a fundamental human right that has been robbed from us by the bloated mass of our modern global society. And so, I have come up with a few rules that one can use to find truth in an electoral campaign, to cool the emotions that get inflamed by political discourse, and to be able to make a clear decision from an — admittedly pathetic — pool of humans claiming to have the solutions to our country’s ailments.

The first thing one must do is take a moment and understand what it is about our country that causes them suffering. Perhaps you might ask yourself

Why am I dissatisfied with my lot in life?

Notice that this is a very different question from the question, “What is wrong with this country?” To the latter you might (depending on your political leanings) answer, “Homos are destroying the moral fabric of our society!” or “Bigots are destroying the moral fabric of our society!” (Can you guess which answer belongs to which party? I bet you can). But to the question, “why am I dissatisfied?” you can’t really answer “because gays.” Because really, what do gays have to do with the fact that you can’t afford your medical bills? What do gays have to do with the fact that you’re overworked and underpaid but the economy is such crap that you can’t even afford to look for a better job because there aren’t any? What do gays have to do with the fact that you can’t understand your kids any more because they live on their smart phones and iPads and so do you, but on different websites on each? What do bigots have to do with the fact that you just can’t seem to exercise quite as much as you want, or lose that weight you’ve been fighting with? The answer of course is that gays and bigots have nothing to do with these problems, but more likely than not if you are dissatisfied in your life then you probably relate to at least one of these.

It’s easy in the hype of a political campaign to get swept up in the emotional tug-o-war. But the choice of a candidate is the choice of direction for our country and this is not something which should be made on an emotional basis. So the first step to seeing clearly where we want to go is to see where we are. After you have an understanding of what it is that you are dissatisfied about in your own life, the next natural question to ask is,

How do this candidate’s policies address the problems that are preventing me from achieving my own happiness?

This question is a little more vague, but no more difficult than the first. Some of the information you will see presented to you will be a deliberate misrepresentation of the policies in question. Advertisements for medical reform in the past have show images of the elderly being helped by smiling nurses while have absolutely no actual provisions for improved access or lowered prices for people in that age range. These types of misrepresentations are a sad reality of our political world and the best I can tell you is to ignore them. It is not worth your time or personal energy to actually research and understand the legalese that would actually determine what changes will happen. It is my recommendation that you simply remove consideration of the topic entirely from your decision because there is no way to get unbiased information.

Some things you will be able to think more clearly about. For example, a policy recommendation to restrict immigration: how would this address the concerns you raised before? More illegal immigrants mean more drain on the system’s resources without an offsetting tax input, but stricter regulations on immigration means those who want to emigrate will have a harder time being legal. Will they make it harder for you to get a well paying job that respects your personal life balance? Medical costs in the United States are the highest in the world. Childbirth and childcare are orders of magnitude more expensive than abortions, even abortions with complications, and those are again more expensive than preventative birth control. Will laws restricting access to birth control and abortion make your medical bills more affordable?

Finally, many political issues in recent years have also been moral issues. Laws restricting sex and human relationships are squarely in the moral hemisphere. Some people say immigration is a moral issue. I say that social security is also a moral issue, as is environmental degredation. It would be nice if politicians could stay focused on the amoral, working to improve things we can actually see and measure like the unemployment rate, frighteningly skewed income gap, market and financial volatility, international relations and so forth, but the moral will inevitably get involved. What then? I suggest that in the name of peace you ask yourself,

Will this politician threaten my own personal rights or force me to engage in what I consider immoral?

If the answer is no, you should drop questions of morality from your decision. If the answer is yes, the decision is more complicated. I would never recommend someone to act against their conscience. But, as before, let me clarify this question. Compare the above to, “Will this politician allow others to engage in what I consider immoral?” If allowing others to engage in what you consider to be immoral is a problem for you, then you need not participate in a democratic election. On this I have no kinds words of advice for you because it is simply not your right, God given or otherwise, to dictate the morality of others. “Judge not lest ye be judged yourself.” Remember it.

Of course, I have my own beliefs about what are appropriate and what are detrimental policies for any government, but I won’t force them on you. I just want to give you some tools to help you think more clearly about the issues themselves. I believe that politicians owe it to their constituents to make our lives better. A politician who merely maintains the status quo, or worse, regresses us, is a waste of oxygen. We are perfectly capable of not getting any better off without them!

So next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable political discussion with someone you’d really rather be friends with, have a go at answering these questions. I am sure that you will find you have much more to agree on if you look at the issues from the perspective of how they will concretely benefit you than if you try to discuss them on principle and emotion alone.

Fi’zi:k Arione Donna

So, I finally broke down and bought my baby girl Pikuro a saddle. In the end I couldn’t find one that felt good on her, so I did the only thing reasonable:

I bought a handmade, custom designed women’s saddle from the Fi’zi:k factory in Italia.


But it wasn’t all just silliness and style. However, before we get into the rationale behind this purchase, let’s take a moment and appreciate how sexy she looks.

Damn! Is that not a good looking bike?!
Damn! Is that not a good looking bike?!

Oh yeah. Sexy. Here’s another view.

Whoo! Hot damn! Sexy, sexy bike!
Whoo! Hot damn! Sexy, sexy bike!

Ok, so now that we appreciate how very important spending 190e for a bike saddle that looks that fucking good is, let’s talk about how it feels.

Several months ago I rode an Antares Varius. It’s a saddle designed for men who are either very flexible or very aggressive in their riding position and thus put a lot of weight on the forward portion of their pelvis. The varius has a central depression, Fi’zi:k’s hat tip to the cut out demanding crowd, which runs the length of the saddle and is fairly deep. When I rode it I found it saved my clitoris, but smooshed my outer labia, so I passed it over at first. However, the Arione Donna is a women’s saddle (so Fi’zi:k claims) which also features the same central groove, so I thought it might work.

Unlike the Antares Varius, the Arione Donna’s groove is much shallower. The width of the saddle, however, is designed for a wider pelvis. Between these two competing factors, I went with the Arione for one and only one reason: you can customize the colors!

At first, I thought I liked it. Then I wasn’t sure. I still have to position it all the way forward on Pikuro to account for her oversized frame. On longer rides as my bum has accustomed to the padding, I find I sink deeper and the familiar numbness in my clitoris and forward genital area returns. I can handle it when I’m fresh, but this saddle will have me wiggling and coasting seeking desperately to get some blood flow after about 30 kilometers.

When I got my new baby Kookaburra…

OHMG! You all haven’t met Kookaburra! Isn’t he adorable?

Post ride, post bath, post derailleur tune and chain lubing. Sparklingly beautiful! He’s such a good boy!

Right, so as I was saying, Kookaburra is fit with a lot of stuff by fi’zi:k. I’ll fill you in more on the details when he gets his last parts installed (he’s a custom build. yay!). His bar tape is fi’zi:k and so the pink perfectly matched the Arione Donna. Since he’s a smaller size than Pikuro, before ordering him the Selle Italia Lady Flow  in matching white and pink, I tried the Arione to see if my discomfort was a matter of frame size more than saddle shape.

It turns out it’s not. As fucking sexy as that saddle looked on him — sleek and speedy as compared to the slightly flowery Selle Italia — I had to give it up. My poor genitals were crying. I actually had delayed pee emergencies with this saddle because my genitals would go so numb that when I got off the bike and the blood rushed back, my body couldn’t tell the difference between renewed normal sensation and an intense need to pee. I actually peed myself once because my body was so confused.

I feel like I’m not writing a very good review here. I cannot resist a sexy look on my bike equipment and this saddle does not disappoint in looks. I mean, look at it! It’s even got sexy hot pink “racing stripes” on the sides. These were actually cutouts to aid the wing flexion on the side of the saddle. The Arione is supposed to be soft on those black sections you see in order to flex with your inner thighs as you pedal. I never had a problem with inner thigh rubbing or soreness, so I guess it works.

Is there anything else to add? Hmm… well, all my saddle sores from the 2011 San Marco Mantra healed up fabulously while riding the Arione. That’s a plus. Oh, and the only rail options are magnanese or ki:um — both of which are heavier than their braided carbon. Women, apparently don’t benefit from light equipment.

So I guess for women who don’t have trouble with genital numbing, or who ride in a more upright position (“bull” according to fi’zi:k, but they don’t differentiate their women’s saddles because, you know, women all ride in the same position on the same terrain), this saddle is probably a fairly decent choice. Alternatively, if you find your butt likes a softer seat or you feel like you never have enough padding in your shorts (I often have the opposite problem) again, this saddle might be a good fit for you.

And finally, if you absolutely have to have the sexiest set up there is, and we all know sexy bikes are WAY faster than boring ones, then I definitely recommend the custom design by fi’zi:k. You can customize one other women’s saddle and a number of men’s saddles, but unfortunately none of their varius series are customizable. The website says three weeks for delivery, but mine came in 10 days to Japan, so I’d say it’s pretty speedy. Of course, you can save on shipping if you order in a group with some friends, too.

Happy cycling. Protect your junk.

What’s This? What’s This!

What is this feeling? It feels like my eyes are all the way open. It feels like the world is a little crisper, a little brighter. It feels like my body is lighter and my reflexes quicker. It feels like the boundaries holding me back have suddenly gotten a whole lot less intimidating. It feels like my lungs fill with air more easily.

This feeling is apparently the feeling of not being chronically exhausted. It is the feeling of not being sleep deprived and of having eaten well for several days.

I traveled through the past week in a haze. I couldn’t sleep at night and when I did finally manage to fall asleep, I would wake up again at 5:35 in the morning. Day after day this continued. I couldn’t nap in the afternoon though my body was heavy and slow and incapable of even washing the dishes. My mind would not stop spinning. No matter what I tried it was plotting, analyzing, planning, double checking and rethinking. I tried deep breathing. I tried visualizing beautiful flowing images of bicycles racing downhill (this is my version of counting sheep). I tried progressive muscle relaxation, hot showers, midnight snacks. Nothing could get my brain to turn off, and so while my body wasted away from neglect, my mind raced on.

It’s been almost six days since I had a proper appetite, too. Perhaps it was the heat, but there was nothing I wanted to eat. My insides churned on empty and yet whatever I put in me came right back out without leaving the slightest trace of nutrients behind.

About three days ago I decided that sleep was of paramount importance to get myself out of this hole. I turned off my alarms, canceled my appointments, set the AC to plenty fucking cool, closed the shutters, whipped out my buff all purpose everything which I use for an eye mask, and laid down to meditate. I find that wrapping the buff, which is just a micro fiber neck gaiter, around my eyes will actually keep them from opening, an odd reflex that happens to me when my brain spins too fast. With my eyes locked closed, suddenly my facials muscles could relax. I consciously sent my mind to wander, encouraging it to explore images and feelings it came upon as I sank deeper into the meditative state I know to give me the most peace.

It took me several days and several tries to finally get my body out of the tail spin of insomnia I was stuck in. I would fall asleep only to wake again a few hours later. With all the patience and kindness I could muster towards myself I would get up and perform some menial task like washing the dishes or checking in on the forum I moderate. After an hour or two I would try the sleep again. Slowly I was able to extend my sleep sessions back to over four hours at a time.

This morning was the first time I woke up feeling as if I could have slept more in over a week. That means that I broke the cycle and my mind has finally relinquished its hold over my body and is allowing it to rest.

With my newfound energy I let loose! The beast returned to burn its way down the streets again today! Practice this morning was short because of the Obon holiday (Japanese festival of the dead, but without the festivities), but I was determined to get the most out of it. I stayed right on the wheel of the leader and refused to let anyone pass me. It was rough. My legs were on fire. When we got to the turnaround point I hung back for about 500 meters before I saw my opening: a short straight between two moderately tight curves, just long enough for me to hammer it and overtake the two riders in front of me. I took them on the outside which put me on the inside for the next curve, but I had the confidence I could handle the corner even without swinging out for the set up. At one point on the descent the leader tried to over take me. Mostly the return trip is downhill, but there are a few blips in the road where my comparatively weak girl legs slow me down. I saw him coming up over my shoulder and I said,

“Nope! You’re not going to pass me that easily!”

I dropped a gear and lit into the pedals with a fury. Every time I turned around they were right on my tail. Fuck it! You wanna ride me? I’ll pull you! Don’t think I’m afraid to burn it and don’t think you can have your lead without having to work for it!

This is what I’ve been looking for. This feeling of having access to my full power, this feeling of letting go and racing against the wind. I must remember this feeling for when I find myself in the hole again. This is what I should feel like. If I’m not feeling like this, it’s not my fault, it’s a sign that I need to step back and care for myself properly until this feeling returns.

See? The beast, he is good for me.

Don’t banish a healthy fear

One of the websites on my morning coffee web-binge list is the Total Women’s Cycling site based out of Britain. They have a decent mix of coverage of professional women’s events, newb advice, product reviews and commuter stuff. Often I wish they would cut out the stupid “7 things you never knew about biking that will secretly make men fall head over heals for you” type bullshit listy stuff, but otherwise they’re pretty cool over there.

This morning they had an article on bike safety tips for commuters:

Cycling safety tips to banish fears about riding on the road – Total Women’s Cycling.

I came into cycling as a commuter in 2006 in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a city overrun by bike commuters and yet it is also extremely dangerous and extremely hostile, particularly to cyclists. The problem in Philadelphia is a combination of outdated narrow streets that carry way too much foot, car and bicycle traffic for people to be able to keep their tempers, and almost no enforcement of traffic safety laws. In Philadelphia a cyclists rides at risk of their life.

When I read articles like this one that suggest it is possible to ride on the road without fear, my hair raises. Whenever I rode in Philadelphia I would tell people it was always with “a healthy fear of death.” I don’t think it’s safe for cyclists to be fearless because that would mean they are not awake and aware of the actual danger that they are in. In other words, fearless cyclists should only exist when the roads are well and truly safe for them.

Road rage, potholes, drunk drivers, “arukisumaho” (Japanese for “people walking while looking at their smart phones”), and even patches of debris on the road are all potentially life threatening hazards for a cyclist. A cyclist who isn’t at least somewhat on guard will not be ready to react to these hazards when they do arise, and arise they most certainly will. Fear, after all, heightens our senses and our reflexes to protect ourselves.

There is no feeling quite as wonderful as getting into a flow on your bicycle. There is a place that my bike and I can go to where our cadence becomes steady, our form crisp, our handling rhythmic. There is nothing but us and the steady hum of our tires down the pavement. I cherish these moments on my bike and I wish for all to be able to discover their own. However, these moments are special and I save them for deserted mountain back roads or late nights when the traffic is nearly nonexistent and all the pedestrians are home. These are not moments to be had when sharing the road. When sharing the road, one should always take with them their healthy fear of death. This is the safest way to ride.

聞きたかった言葉・The Coveted Phrase














Camo-weasel drinking protein milk
Morning medicine is a part of training.





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ライバル練 My Rival










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