Reflections on the Year – 2018

If the year is measured simply by mileage, it was a down year. A very down year. The last year in which I did not reach 5,000 miles was 2011. The total for this year was just 4,205 miles. I can point to two events – two major events, which kept me from accumulating more miles but it may have been more than that. And I can always blame the rain which was a record annual rainfall in the D.C. area. In February, I had knee replacement surgery. I had gone six years with at least one ride every week and I scheduled the surgery for a Tuesday. That way I could ride on Monday (the first day of the “Ride Week”) and 13 days later, the following Sunday, be able to ride again and not miss a week without a ride. Thirteen days came and I tried to pedal my bike. I turned it over one time. One revolution. That was it. One. I could not pedal a bike. I hit the gym and started riding a stationary bike. I read books; cycling books, while I pedaled my way back to bike fitness. The books all had a common theme: Every cyclist at the World Tour level from 1995-2010 was on dope. Except for Jens. I did not track the indoor miles (I didn’t GO anywhere so how can I track miles ridden?) and finally got going in late April. And on May 16 I woke up on a bike trail in Ohio with no recollection of where I was or what I was doing in Ohio. So it was off the bike some more. Still, I had some nice or memorable or forgettable experiences. (In chronological order):
  • The Atlas Ride (Texas4000, Lampasas, TX)
  • MS-150 Ride from Hollidaysburg to State College (Pa.)
  • T-Town
  • Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo
  • The Seagull Century
  • Palomar Mountain
  • Mount Baldy
  • World Hillclimb Championships
  • Phil Gaimon’s Cookie Gran Fondo
  • The Horrible Hundred
Summary: The Atlas Ride came much too soon after my accident. I was not in shape and it was nearly 100°  (that’s 38° Celsius). I was still in concussion protocol and I suffered greatly but got to meet my Bicycle Buddy from the Texas 4000, Grant McFarlin. The MS Ride changed this year. There was a bigger emphasis on groups. Being solo I rode alone and could not find a seat at the dinner since they were reserved for groups or friends were saving seats. So even though I was a top fundraiser, I ordered room service. There was a miscommunication between our Spokes of Hope group and the Valley Preferred Cycling Center (Trexltertown, or T-Town) so we did not get to ride during the Friday Night Lights event. But Gary Gravina and Stacey Lowmaster Gravina came out to see the races (and me) and our group had a nice ride on Saturday. During the Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, a bike mechanical and still not back to bike shape, I ended up meeting a teen who wanted to ride and talk. I wanted to be left alone but I shepherded him through 80 miles, not 100, and he won the KOM for his age group. At the Seagull Century, I rode in a draft for 60 miles then pulled for 40. It was the best I felt all year. I found my way to Palomar Mountain, which is one of the iconic climbs in southern California. The next day I climbed Mount Baldy. This is a very tough climb and am glad to see it back in the Amgen Tour of California for 2019. How not to prepare for the World Hillclimb Championships? Ride Mount Baldy and Palomar Mountain the two days prior. I finished dead last in the world (or maybe second last or third last). But I think DFL. It was fun. I followed up the Hillclimb Worlds with Phil Gaimon’s Cookie Gran Fondo. Not sure which was tougher – the Saturday “fun” ride or the main event on Sunday. I finished the year with the Horrible Hundred in Clermont, Fla. Didn’t do the full 100 because I rode with John Dockins and Joe Berezo and they weren’t going the full distance. Some days it’s more about friends. But three events stand out this year. First, I was riding in Ohio and somehow crashed on a bike trail. I have no recollection of the event. It’s surreal to reconstruct where I was with no memory of it. But I know this sport that I love, that two wheels can leave us at any time and you can’t always protect your head. Always wear a helmet. My dear cousin, Kay Walborn, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January. Her last words to me were let’s ride together in September at the Clarion M.S. Ride because “last year was so much fun.” She died in August and I so wanted to get her to Trexlertown to ride on the track. But my neatest conversation was July 9.
Kay called me on July 9. She never called but we texted a lot. But she called because I had given her a book “Under the French Blue Sky.”  Written by my friend, Nicole Davison, it described Scott and Nicole’s trip riding the route of the Tour de France in 2016. They rode one week ahead of the actual Tour. Kay called me and asked me how much it would cost to do that. I told her about $12,000 (although fundraising could account for $8,000). She told me she wanted to do that with me in 2019. She would have to get rid of her tumor first. I promised her I would wait for her and we would ride together. Kay Walborn died on August 19.
Kay alongside the Clarion River, Sept. 2017 May all your rides be downhill with a tailwind.
Nine years ago I was battling prostate cancer. I delayed treatment to be able to “race” (slow ride, actually) the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. I talked to the winner after the event and, Phil Gaimon, now says he was “sad and lonely” and living out of his car at the time and I had befriended him. He often wondered how I was doing. I got to see him in October at his Gran Fondo and he even tweeted about our first encounter. Cutest moment: Two girls were at Dunn Loring and after a 40-mile ride when it was hot, chased me down to offer me lemonade. Funniest moment: At the Horrible Hundred in Florida, I wore my rainbow socks from the Hillclimb Worlds. One woman asked me about that and told me she thought they were a joke (that I was in the Hillclimb Worlds). Haha. I guess it was. BY THE NUMBERS
Verified by MonsterInsights