Reflections on the Year – 2022

WOODBRIDGE, VIRGINIA

Another year of riding. Another year of life!

Slowly, many of the events that disappeared in 2020 started to come back in 2021, and more in 2022. Some were old, some were new. 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 Class
  • Sea Gull Century
  • Hanging with Mr. Miller
  • Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo
  • No Longer Worst
  • MWARBH

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.

Kristina

9. AFTER ‘WHILE CROCODILE (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.

Just my friend

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 cousins for the first time.

On that hillside is supposed to be a waterfall

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.

The Talbot, Bellevue, Md.

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 for Toms Skuijins.

Magnus Cort-Neilsen gives me a thumbs up as the team rolls by

5. SEA GULL CENTURY. I was riding along minding my own business for 90 miles even thinking this would be my last Sea Gull. 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.

The Finish

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 just turned around. Being first one back for lunch gave me the chance to change with NBA Hall of Fame player, Reggie Miller. (He said don’t call him “Mr. Miller.”)

Barry and Reggie 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.

Mulholland Drive – The rider farthest up the road on the left is pro rider Rick Zabel

2. NO LONGER WORST. After Phil’s Fondo I drove to Santa Barbara looking for Gilbraltor Road. It was 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.

Hi Chickens!!! MWARBH

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.

A foot of snow on January 3

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.

Aiden, in blue, watching Japan and Latin America (Nicaragua)

BEST DAY OFF THE BIKE – II

On November 19, and “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.

A surprise visit to EPCOT

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.

Old bike and it made it up Mt. Washingtonrides again

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 10-15 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.

I gave him one dollar to watch my bike

WHOOP WHOOP!

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!

8% Whoop

a

TWEET TWEET

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 would 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.

The Reflecting Pool, Washington, D.C.

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.

Phil Gaimon and Jeremy Powers soaking their legs after the hillclimb

BEST SAMARITAN

In June I had flatted near the Manassas Airport. I sliver of metal was protruding from the tire and I had no way to extract it and repair it. A man stopped, saw what I needed, in an 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.

WORST SAMARITAN

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 was turning around leaving me to ride solo.

Caught the group s they were rolling out from the next rest stop

FUNNEST 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 caught them.

Jumping on the back of the group

WHAT IS A KILOMETER?

In October I wanted to listen to Whoop and back off a little. I switched my Wahoo to display kilometers. 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.

BEST ADVERTISEMENT

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. So on our ride, I took Tim’s Wahoo and paired it to my unit so he could get the same display that I was. After one day 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 and 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.

Fosters Grille, Manassas

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.

A proper way to finish 125 miles

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.

Moo Thru, Remington. Va.

HORRIBLE HUNDRED

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.

Back to the hotel

TEN THOUSAND AGAIN

A mileage goal isn’t usually my goal but I first achieved 10,000 miles in 2019. 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.

COVERED BRIDGES

Frederick County, Maryland, became one of my favorite places to ride with three covered bridges near Thurmont plus the haunted Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg.

Sachs Bridge

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.


THE NUMBERS

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.

The fastest ride was a solo ride. Loop
The fastest walk was getting to EPCOT on time
The longest ride here was Sebring to Tampa, Fla., the second of two 100-mile rides.
On October 8 I rode 125 miles but it was broken into three rides
I don’t know how Strava selected these
My favorite is any pictures of the chickens at MWARBH

THE TOTALS

DISTANCE – 10,070 (16,206 km) miles. It was my fourth time over 10,000 miles and my fourth consecutive year.

From RideWithGPS

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.