It has been quite a while since I looked at this. It has simply become second nature, something that I do as instinctively as getting dressed in the morning or going to bed in the evening. No, it has not always been easy. Quite to the contrary in fact like last spring when we were on vacation in the Bahamas. I thought that I would be fine just stopping. "I can stop whenever I want to, I just don't want to". "I'll stop, tomorrow". I was wrong. Incredible how powerful the investment was, if only to myself. I've begun to use it as a celebration of the day, each day, as well as a task that I need to fulfill before I can call the day complete.
It's crazy that something as simple as pedaling a bicycle has taken on a whole new meaning, entwined itself within my very existence and daily life. The though of eventually breaking the streak literally brings anxiety. I fear for the eventual day when I'm unable to complete this daily, welcome, task.
I ended up breaking the streak of consecutive days riding outdoors during vacation last year. For two days the best I could muster was to ride a stationary bike in the gym at the resort. That was a tough one as I'd invested so much in those consecutive years of riding outdoors. I'm not certain how long that streak went but I know that it was over 1500 days consecutively. Since returning from vacation I've ridden every day outdoors though usually doing at least ten miles so that the Strava.com training log day bubble displays the days distance (ten miles is the minimum and I don't like empty bubbles). I'm like that, as you can tell. There are times when I don't make it though, like when doing winter rides in crazy poor conditions that are not safe, or feasible.
So here I am, still pedaling away now 2,645 days from whence I started. It has become a metaphor for my life actually, much like the duck; calm on the surface but paddling furiously below. So much change. So many friends come and gone. Some fortunately come again, a goal I hope to work more on. So many life changes, during that time. Lives focused in different geographic area, everything seeming to be cyclical and coming back around. That's good, it keeps things fresh, new and exciting.
We are coming to the close of yet another day, starting to think about the evening ride. Today it will be a local group training road ride, the TVR. We organized this ride for years and are now resurrecting it once again. I'm a bit under the weather currently, on the mend from bronchitis developed this past weekend. I'll do what I can do on the ride and just enjoy the company and the day.
Another day that I am fortunate enough to celebrate by riding my bicycle.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
|2019 Winterbike Epic Ride|
And with it, spending so many years and so very many miles doing essentially the same thing, pedaling a bicycle, I go through stages, cycles if you will. Changing things up to keep it all fresh. When I started out my adult cycling life it was all about offroad and mountain biking. This went on for some time and then I started racing. Soon I realized that a road bike is a necessity for training and also affords new adventure. I started to explore the area more and more and began to become truly familiar with my surroundings, with the good roads to ride, the cut through roads and streets to make good loops of lesser traveled road. Keep in mind that all of this was before the internet and Google Maps or RideWithGPS. Heck, we didn't even have Yahoo Maps yet or GPS. Lots of hard maps and trial and error. Or you could go to club group rides and learn that way.
|Road turned to CX|
|Cathy sprinting me to get her final lap|
Step back again to the end of the 90's and single speed MTB caught my attention. A group was getting into it hard and riding weekly. The notion of cobbling together a bike that you basically could not buy off the shelf at that point was captivating; always had been. And so it began and has not stopped since. Sure the passion has waned some at points but it has been a true constant for two decades now. Recently I've been feeling the draw again, back to the simplicity of it all, and even built up a new all terrain drop bar single speed. Can't wait for conditions to improve here in the Northeast so I can get some time on it as well as the SSMTB, which I did some work on earlier this year as well.
|Hucks to flat|
|DH at SR|
|Cathy at the CBTT|
|My final Battenkill race.|
And then the floodgates opened and the arms race began. Before any of us knew what was happening registration for an event was up 364 days before the actual event, with complex price increase models to incent entry and $25 events became hundred dollar events which became $200 events and events sold out within minutes of opening. People started using these events as bucket list items, willing to pay whatever for the experience, the finish line photo, the T-shirt. I get it, not everyone is competitive but many want to be part of the event. That's why the Gran Fondo is so popular in Europe. It's hard to begrudge the promoters because hey, it's a market driven world and there are plenty of folks willing to pay. If I don't register someone else will, literally. And that's exactly how I feel about it and how it feels from the outside looking in. It has simply outgrown me, sights set on a broad new market segment. And it's OK.
|Adventure and friends|
|2019 D&T 100|
So there you have it. Things come in, things go out. Old is new. That is what keeps it fresh, keeps the cycle moving forward. I've never been one to strive to be part of the in crowd or doing what is hip or trendy. I ride bikes from the heart, doing what feels right, that which feel right. It's a personal journey, one which I've had many counterparts in along the way but one partner.
NOTE: I filled in the images for this post after writing the post copy. The last three images, which are from the past couple of years, represent three of the fondest cycling memories that I have to date. In order, an exploration adventure ride with Cathy and Sheldon in August 2017 in the literal middle of nowhere on a route we were not sure would connect, through a swamp on the back side of a remote mountain. The next, from the June 2018 Kingdom Graveleur 2.0 ride where there were so many happy people that I just didn't want the day to end. The last was from the February 2019 D&T 100 day one fat bike ride. I also have an image of a fat bike adventure ride Cathy and I did in 2015 over Dixville Peak from Errol and around the Balsams to Coleman and back which is another favorite. The 2013 Minuteman SSCX race finish where Cathy sprints by me to get her final lap. We both had very good days and I still smile hard thinking of this moment which Cathy's dad captured in the photo. Also one from the final BAD-ASS group tandem event we did back in 2003 I think which was a great day. The first shot is from the 2019 Winterbike Epic ride, the best Winterbike I've ever been to and one of the best groups I've ridden with in ages. Great folks who worked crazy hard and all had smiles at the end.
So many wonderful memories so very dear to me.