Another year of riding. Another year of life!
Slowly, many of the events that disappeared in 2020 started to come back in 2021, and even more in 2022 as some of those old ones resurfaced. Some never did. But whether or not there were events, I rode. Above all, it was another year of living. Another year of life.
WHAT’S NOT ON THE LIST
Events that have become regular on my schedule disappeared this year. The Livestrong Challenge, after a two-year hiatus, returned but on the same date as Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo so I could not attend. Sadly, I had no involvement with the Texas4000. The Ride to Conquer Cancer (Richmond, Va.) and the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo (Harrisonburg, Va.), but closed this year, and are uncertain whether they will return in 2023. And I think my annual Somerset to Punxsutawney (Pa.) rides are all in the past.
MY TOP TEN CYCLING MOMENTS/MEMORIES
(In no particular order)
- Pan-Florida Challenge
- After ‘while Crocodile
- Searching for Aurora Teagarden
- A New Ferry Ride
- Maryland Cycling Classic
- Sea Gull Century
- Hanging with Mr. Miller
- Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo
- No Longer Worst
10. PAN-FLORIDA CHALLENGE. In March I went to Fort Myers, Fla. for a two-day cancer ride. On Saturday we rode 100 miles from Fort Myers to Sebring. On Sunday we rode 105 miles from Sebring to Tampa. All of it was into a headwind. I was very anxious to see how I would do with back-to-back centuries in late winter. And I passed the test.
9. AFTER ‘WHILE CROCODILE (only because I’ve used See You Later Alligator before). After the Pan-Florida Challenge, I met a 75-year-old friend and we rode in Shark Valley in the Everglades among the alligators. I love this ride. Not so sure that she did.
8. SEARCHING FOR AURORA TEAGARDEN. After I rode the Glimcher Keystone MS ride in State College, Pa. I drove to Montour Falls (near Watkins Glen), New York. In this Hallmark-looking town in the Finger Lakes, I was looking for the main street with a waterfall cascading down the hillside at the end of the street. This is the setting for the Hallmark Channel’s Aurora Teagarden series. I found the town. I found the street. But no waterfall. It was dry. But I had a wonderful 45-mile ride topped off by meeting some Lowmaster cousins for the first time.
7. A NEW FERRY. Every good ride needs a ferry and I didn’t have one since the parties were still fighting over Historic White’s Ferry in Leesburg, Va. / Poolesville, Md. But I went to Maryland’s Eastern Shore and found one near St. Michael’s / Easton. The Bellevue-Oxford Ferry crosses the Tred Avon River and is absolutely delightful. In all, I made five trips to ride the ferry.
6. MARYLAND CYCLING CLASSIC. The first UCI race in North America came to Baltimore County and I was a course marshal. I pre-rode the course in northern Baltimore County two days prior and ran into EF-Education First. I also got to chalk a message on the pavement for Toms Skuijins.
5. SEA GULL CENTURY. I was riding along minding my own business for 90 miles even thinking this would be my last Sea Gull Century. Then I passed a young lady who was struggling to finish her first century. For the next 45 minutes, I had a purpose and that was to see her cross the finish line. Up to that point, the ride was somewhat boring then all of a sudden it had a purpose. The best rides don’t all have the fastest speeds or the longest distance. Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make a ride great.
4. HANING WITH MR. MILLER I had gone to Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo and purposely decided that on Saturday I would not ride with the fast kids but save some energy for Sunday. Our group went 30 minutes later, I picked up a goathead or two and flatted, and then just turned around. Being the first one back for lunch gave me the chance to chat with NBA Hall of Fame player, Reggie Miller. (He said don’t call him “Mr. Miller.”)
3. PHIL’S FONDO. After a three-year hiatus, I was able to go to California, thinking it may be my last time. But I am always treated so nicely there and I had a ton of PRs on all the climbs. Even hitched my ride to the World Tour Pro when Rick Zabel went by pulling six other riders.
2. NO LONGER WORST. After Phil’s Fondo I drove to Santa Barbara looking for Gilbraltor Road. It was in 2018 that I finished dead last in the Hillclimb Worlds (I do have my reasons). I was able to ride up the climb in one hour, taking a whopping 12 minutes off my performance from four years ago.
1. MWARBH. There is nothing to compare. And after almost 10 years off I came back for a second time in two years, this time with my granddaughters. So very special.
This is the hardest bicycle climb in the world. And having my daughter and granddaughters dressed as chickens – priceless.
END OF A STREAK
I rode 1,098 straight days of at least 10 miles. That streak ended on January 3 with a foot of snow. But it freed me up so that I didn’t ride just to keep the streak going because I rode in truly miserable conditions the past three years just to keep the streak going.
BEST DAY OFF THE BIKE – I
On August 22, I took my grandson, Aiden to Williamsport, Pa. to watch the Little League World Series. It was an incredible day that was better than any day on the bike.
BEST DAY OFF THE BIKE – II
On November 19, “riding” a new streak since I hadn’t missed a day since August 22, I was traveling from South Carolina to Florida. I hoped to ride somewhere but planned to meet John Andre and his family for dinner. I ran out of time. We went straight to dinner which was at the Garden in the Land Pavillion at EPCOT in Walt Disney World.
BEST DAY OFF THE BIKE – III
I gave up a day of riding to drive to Pittsburgh with my daughter and two grandsons to watch the Steelers play.
BEST OLD BIKE
My Trek Pilot, which was destined for the landfill with a cracked chain stay, came back to life. I paid Ruckus Composites, in Portland, Oregon, for carbon repair, and rode 2,100 miles since I got it back.
BEST NEW BIKE
Annabelle’s bike was dangerous so when we returned from New Hampshire we went to the Bike Lane in Reston and got her a Trek FX.
WHEN PROMPTNESS GETS RIDICULOUS
I was enjoying riding with a group called the Old Cranks out of Warrenton, Va. But I didn’t like to drive to their start location opting instead to ride in. Twice I rode 15 miles to make the 10:00 a.m. departure time only to discover they rolled out at 9:55 a.m. And yes, I had responded that I would be there. I stopped riding with them because someone doesn’t know what a published start time means.
BEST DOLLAR SPENT
While in Santa Monica at an In-N-Out Burger, I paid a 12-year-old one dollar to watch my bike while I went in and ordered. (His dad was with him.)
Not the sound, but the biometric tracker. I started wearing the Whoop band and am geeking out on the data it provides. Notably is my recovery score. Almost always, on the day of a big event, I wake up with a recovery score in the red and I still don’t know why. The morning of the Mount Washington Hillclimb my recovery score was 8%. Yikes!
DAYS OFF THE BIKE
My 1100-day (actually 1,098) streak was broken on January 3 with a foot of snow. Without a streak to continue it kept me from purposely riding in freezing rain or late at night when I couldn’t otherwise ride. It meant I didn’t ride every day, in fact, I missed 25 days in all. Assume those were horrible weather days and would have been mostly 10-mile days that’s still 250 miles I left out there. But probably more.
ICE ICE BABY
I still rode when it was cold. Just not as far as in the past.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT
Jeremy Powers is a former cyclocross champion and now spokesman for the Whoop Band. After riding up Mt. Washington he looked at my Whoop Band and told me that I was wearing it wrong. He then took it off me and fixed the strap for a neater look. My bad.
In June I flatted near the Manassas Airport. A sliver of metal was protruding from the tire and I had no way to extract it and thus repair the flat. A man stopped, saw what I needed, and in 10 minutes returned with his Leatherman tool. And he gave it to me. Not lent. But gave.
This is not a cheap tool. On Amazon, the price is $181.
Me. Riding in a group on the Pan-Florida Challenge a rider had a flat. While the entire group rolled on I decided to stop and help. The rider was on a borrowed bike and did not know how to change a flat. Once I got him rolling he told me he was riding a metric century and since he was almost halfway, he was turning around leaving me to ride solo to catch the group that I was in but was now 10 minutes up the road. He had SAG support phone number. I should have just left him call in for assistance.
MOST FUN SOLO RIDE
In the Pan-Florida Challenge, I was stuck in a group that was going slower than I wanted. I told the group I was going to bridge up to the next group which I could barely see about a half mile ahead. It took me 11 minutes to close the gap and catch on. Their group of six became my group of seven but finished with only four. But it sure was fun catching them and seeing their faces when they realize a rider from the slow group behind caught them.
WHAT IS A KILOMETER?
In October I wanted to listen to Whoop and back off a little when my recovery was in the red zone. I switched my Wahoo to display kilometers and removed Strava Love Segments so speed would not be an issue. And I haven’t switched back. The advantages are I am no longer fixated on keeping a certain speed or traveling a certain distance. (I used to always finish with .00 miles.) The disadvantages are that I no longer know how fast to pace myself when I’m riding with others. I just ride.
Although I have talked about my rear Garmin Varia light for a couple of years, it wasn’t until October that I read a review where a user paired his unit to a friend’s computer on a group ride. So on a ride with Tim, I took his Wahoo and paired it to my unit so he could get the same display that I was. After one ride of seeing the display, he went to REI and bought his own later that day.
BEST BURGER JOINT
Foster’s Grille – Manassas, Va. With outdoor seating and bike parking next to the train station, along with employees who know me by name, this place is the best. They added Coke Zero to their soft drinks this year too. Pro Tip: Mondays they offer a senior discount.
BEST ICE CREAM
Scottish Highlands Creamery, Oxford, Maryland. Perfectly positioned near the end of a 60-mile ride on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and right after a great ferry ride. A single includes two scoops. But check operating hours. One day I rode there and it was closed.
BEST ICE CREAM – HONORABLE MENTION
Moo-Thru, Remington, Virginia. Often the focal point of a Remington ride. Actually, it is always the focal point of a Remington ride.
This very hilly ride in central Florida is horrible if you don’t like hills or, officially, “only horrible if you miss it.” Or this year, horrible to ride in it. The weather forecast of rain “later in the day” was woefully off. I cut my ride short to 45 miles, got back to the hotel to relax and watched the rain come down. The temperature never got above 55 degrees and I didn’t feel like getting my bike and my shoes soaked.
TEN THOUSAND MILES AGAIN
A mileage goal isn’t usually my goal but I first achieved 10,000 miles in 2019. I did it again in 2020 and 2021 so that became my goal this year too. But because I didn’t ride every day it just seemed harder to reach 10,000 miles. And in some ways, that made it more rewarding.
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC
When I am on a solo ride, I connect my phone to an Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 speaker on my handlebars. I can listen to music and if loud enough, others can hear me coming on the trail. I have a Sirius XM subscription. My favorite: Yacht Rock although the 50s and 60s music do well too and always Christmas tunes during the season. Cost: Around $30.
Frederick County, Maryland, became one of my favorite places to ride with three covered bridges near Thurmont plus the haunted Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg.
MOST SATISFYING KOM
I never thought I would compete for a KOM on the Mapledale Climb but in November I had a good ride and saw I was within reach of a KOM. I had been 9th but finished second that day. Then I saw the profile of the person who held the title – Mighty Mouse. I’m not a fan of people who hide behind fake screen names and there was something about seeing Mighty Mouse that told me I had to claim the crown. And I did.
MILES BY BIKE
Domane – 5,884
Pilot – 2,232
Checkpoint – 1,953
The Domane got almost 60% of my miles but the Pilot came back online in late June. Since then the Domane was ridden for 3,029 miles or 58% of my road miles while the Pilot gave me 2,232 miles. The Checkpoint is used for gravel (rare), trails (rare), and bad weather.
In 2020 I was happy when I took four KOM segments. Then last year I somehow took 121. (Don’t ask.) I never expected to take more than a handful in 2022 but Strava said I took 42. Wow! I’ll take them.
DISTANCE – 10,070 (16,206 km) miles. It was my fourth time over 10,000 miles and my fourth consecutive year.
There is a slight difference between the two tracking programs, Strava and RideWithGPS (10,068 vs 10,071) despite the same files being uploaded to both. I don’t worry about the minor discrepancy.
DAYS RIDDEN: 337
WEIGHT: 178 (just a little bit up from the end of last year)
OUTLOOK FOR 2023
I have no goals. Safe riding. Happy riding.