Reflections on the Year – 2016

TOP TEN MOMENTS IN 2016

My riding in 2016 was always with the backdrop of my dad’s fall, injury, and subsequent death. When he fell in late April I thought to whether we had taken our last ride. My second thought was to buy him a trike for when he healed so balance wouldn’t be an issue. Then I started looking for recumbent tandems in which he could be a non-contributing passenger.

The day after his fall his first words to me when he saw me were “Barry the Biker.” I chuckled.  He told me he wanted to get out of the hospital soon so that I could go to Colorado (for Ride the Rockies).  I went to Colorado, even though he never returned home, but drove back from Colorado in two days to see him. And I sat out two weeks of prime riding season in September to be by his side.

I really enjoyed our rides the past four years and will miss them. He was a big fan of my rides so these are dedicated to him. In no particular order, here are my top ten memorable rides for 2016.

  • Ohio – Trails and Piqua

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In May I went to Ohio and despite some crappy weather, met and rode with my friend Bob Berberich on the Little Miami Trail then rode on my own around Dayton and up to Piqua where I had lived 50 years ago.

  • Ride the Rockies
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road

My go-to ride every year, this year’s Ride the Rockies featured a climb over Independence Pass, the Copper Triangle, and a very windy day over Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.

I forgot how long a 28 mile ride to the tallest paved mountain road in North America could take. Or feel like. But I saw a bear!

I was a “Bicycle Buddy” with Ayehsa Kang of the Texas 4000 and was able to meet the group in Denver and ride with them for part of a day.

Hopefully in 2017 I'll have another grandchild join me
Hopefully in 2017 I’ll have another grandchild join me

My daughter first balked at the idea that I could take her sons safely on the W&OD but I eventually won her over and took Andy and Aiden on the trail.

The ride was canceled in 2015 due to flooding and looked like it would be again. But it went off under very gray skies. I caught some riders from the Blair Cycling Club in the first two miles and rode the next 98 with them.

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An enjoyable weekend. I rode a trail on Friday then went to Rudy’s with my cancer friends on Saturday. I didn’t hook up with any riders on Sunday but Devil’s Wall got my heart rate up to an unheard of 189. But I didn’t stop.

After years of necessary cancer rides, I did a necessary MS-150 ride from Altoona to State College. I enjoyed the route so much that I went back often in the summer into the Fall.

A premier ride in Florida, it fit right with my calendar. It wasn’t horrible but it was much hillier that one can imagine for Florida. And a bonus ride with my friend, John Dockins.

Imagine you’re on a bike ride and a young woman wants to strip naked and jump into the water in front of you. Yep, happened on this ride.

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Honorable Mentions: Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, St. Simons Island, Trexlertown

 

For submission of yet another Royal Order of the Iron Crotch Award (my 6th), these were my statistics for the year:

Name: Barry Sherry
Rider Class: BB
Total Miles: 8,100
Longest Ride: 105 miles (Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Gran Fondo, Harrisonburg)
Number of miles commuting: Zero
Percent of miles on Potomac Pedaler Riders: 0.5%
Date reached 5000 miles: August 11
Most miles in a month: 1,331 (July)
Most miles in a week: 469 (during Ride the Rockies – mountain miles)
Number of weeks without a ride: Zero
Number of 100 mile rides: Five
Most interesting story: Extreme Skinny Dipping

 

More than the miles, I was pleased that I ended the year averaging 36.0 miles per ride, my highest average miles per ride. I may be getting slower but I can ride longer.

My stats on Strava (overstated by 24 miles). But a neat graphic nonetheless.

I rode 21 fewer days in 2016 than in 2015 but averaged more than three miles farther per ride.

I met Mooshi on the W&OD in December
I met Mooshi on the W&OD in December

In the end it was a good riding year. But I miss and will always miss my dad.

Rev. Harry C. Sherry, May 2012

 

Reflections on the Year – 2015

My Top Ten* Cycling Moments of the Year

In chronological order

1. Ride the Rockies

My third straight year going to Colorado to ride these big mountains. I don’t know why but my favorite climb was the 14 mile dirt road up and over 12,000′ Cottonwood Pass. The legs felt great that day. Best day of the year, in fact. I rode 105 but could have easily ridden 50 more.

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2. Texas 4000

After Ride the Rockies I went up to Estes Park thinking I would run into the Texas 4000, then giving up, then meeting and riding with them.

3. Chey and Chelsea in Altoona

It wasn’t the full Jacob’s Hero Ride that I had hoped but was very glad to have Chey Hillsgrove and Chelsea Johnson join me for two days of riding in Bedford and Blair counties.

Altoona2015_14

4. Early mornings in Delaware

A fun week at a beach house in South Bethany, Delaware, began each morning with a 30-40 mile ride. Delicious!

Canal - South Bethany
Canal – South Bethany

5. Ohio

On my way to Indiana I stopped to ride through Piqua and Lockington, Ohio, two places I lived when I was 9-12 years old.

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6. Spokes of Hope – Indy

Surprised friends Ken and Cindi Hart by showing up to their Spokes of Hope ride near Indianapolis.

Barry trailed by Julie
Barry trailed by Julie

7. Trexlertown

The community of cancer survivors combined with riding on the velodrome in Trexlertown. Bonus ride to Tipton on Saturday.

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8. New French Friends

On the W&OD Trail I saw a man and daughter on a recumbent pulled over so I stopped and asked “Where did you start and where are you going?” I was surprised to learn they started in Vancouver and were cycling to Key West. Thomas and Sylvaine Houdy, from Lyon, France, and their children, Theo and Elsa, took 11 months off for a trip of a lifetime.

Cold and rainy near Williamsburg
Cold and rainy near Williamsburg

 

9. Meeting my Amish cousins

Imagine the surprise on young Amish couple, Keith and Julie Zimmerman, riding their bicycles to church when I slowed down and told her that I was related to her. When she told me her last name was Wenger I knew were were related and tried to explain it to her. I don’t think she believed me.

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10. Livestrong

Brought in Alex Shepherd’s father, Dan, and he and I had a couple days riding before the event then 100 miles fighting cancer.

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11. Ride with Dad

A beautiful Fall day I was able to meet my dad and my sister. At 86 the thought is always there it may be his last ride on a bike.

Pinkerton High Trestle
Pinkerton High Trestle

12. The Governor

A quasi-private ride with the governor of Delaware, Jack Markell. Of course I wore a Texas jersey to a Delaware ride.

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2015 was my top mileage year by 1500 miles. I rode 8,078 miles (or 13,000 km because that looks cooler). Using the format for Potomac Pedalers’ Iron Crotch Award (for 5,000 miles):

Total Miles: 8,078  (I prefer 13,000 kilometers)

2015Total

Longest Ride – Crested Butte to Salida, CO over Cottonwood Pass, CO. – 106 miles.

Date on which 5,000 was achieved – Aug. 22 at the Spokes of Hope Ride in Indianapolis

Most miles in a Month — 1,232 (July)

Most miles in a week — 521 During Ride the Rockies

Number of Zero mile weeks – None

Number of 100 mile days – Three

And I will add for 242 rides the average was 33.38 miles per ride.

Most interesting story – My Amish cousins.

And that’s it. Another year. No falls or crashes (always a plus)! It was a good year but I still had 123 days without a ride. Lazy, lazy, lazy. I don’t know what 2016 holds for me. I want to do an epic ride for children’s cancer awareness and research but things have to fall in order. I love France, Italy, and Switzerland but don’t know if I will get back this year. I hope wherever it is I ride safe, make new friends, and most of all, continue to find peace on the bike.

___
*I can’t count

Inclined Plane

JOHNSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

This is about the shortest ride I will write about – the only one shorter would be the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hill Climb. Why this? Because it was fun.

In shorter order I drove to Ohio and rode on Friday. I went on to Indianapolis the rode with the Spokes of Hope ride on yesterday. After the 100 miles I drove back to Somerset last night.

My parents were having a small party at noon to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. I wanted to do a ride from Somerset but decided I didn’t have time for the 50 mile ride I was hoping for. And I thought about Johnstown.

Floor of one of the cars
Floor of one of the cars

I would not count miles riding up a mountain on an inclined plane but decided that I could go down it that way. I parked in Ferndale, just outside of Johnstown and navigated by feel to get me to the top of the mountain. Or hill.

Jtown1

It was basically a two mile climb with another mile of “slight” uphill. Once in Westmont I found my way down their beautiful streets to the Inclined Plane. The Inclined Plane takes people and vehicles from Johnstown below to Westmont above. If it were a road it would be a 70.9% grade.

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I found out that bicycles are free. Yeah! Oh, but a passenger fare was $2.25. Well worth it. Once on board, I was the only one. Halfway down I passed the other car going up. Empty.

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At the bottom I disembarked and rode across the bridge the cross the Stony Creek River. At the end I could have taken the ramp to the street but the sidewalk with its switchbacks were much more inviting.

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I really didn’t have much more time to go exploring in Johnstown. It was a matter of hurry back to the car and go celebrate with my parents. A fun, but very short, day on the bike.

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A Second Ride With Dad

MEYERSDALE, PENNSYLVANIA

Train Station at Meyersdale
Train Station at Meyersdale

Last year’s “First Ride With Dad” was such a success that my sister, Betsy, and I decided to do it again. She rode the Great Allegheny Passage trail from Frostburg, Maryland and I parked in Rockwood and rode to Meyersdale where we told our father to meet us.

Betsy Sherry and Rev. Harry C. Sherry
Betsy Sherry and Rev. Harry C. Sherry

I screwed it up last year thinking Frostburg was at a higher elevation than Frostburg. So we left Frostburg and rode much of our planned route uphill. I could not do that to Dad again.

Casselman River
Casselman River

I chose today’s route, this time fully aware of the elevation change between Meyersdale and Rockwood (trending downhill). And I wanted my dad to ride across the great Salisbury Trestle, a 2,000 foot span that crosses the Cassleman River and US Rte 219.

 

We were high up on the trestle. It is about 200 feet above the valley below. It was windy and I was afraid my dad might clip his handlebars on the side of the bridge. But we made it through safely.

Betsy and Dad taking a break

Betsy and Dad taking a break

There are a couple of cuts in rock croppings but for sheer beauty the section between Meyersdale and Rockwood doesn’t quite compare to some of the other sections.

Just three weeks earlier my father had three stents placed in his heart and at age 84, was riding on the GAP. Not too shabby. He wanted to stop three or four times to rest and it was no problem.

Harry Sherry and Betsy Sherry
Harry Sherry and Betsy Sherry

When we finished at Rockwood we met a dad with two kids. He and his daughter agreed to take our picture.

Sculpture and his daughter, Rockwood, Pa.
Sculpture and his daughter, Rockwood, Pa.

There are a couple of bike sculptures in Rockwood. Turns out this man was the creator. He offered to take our picture by them but we didn’t. In retrospect, since he was the creator, we should have, but he didn’t tell us until after we said we didn’t want to walk to them.

Barry Sherry, Betsy Sherry, Harry Sherry
Barry Sherry, Betsy Sherry, Harry Sherry