Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011 - Hello 2012

Well another year is winding down and I feel compelled to join the trend. To summarize the year gone by and look forward to next year.

Here are the goals I published in my last post of 2010 and  a quick note on how I did.

  • Ride 9000 Miles or more for the year - Completed! - I rode 9018 miles this year!  It was no slam dunk.  I set a schedule for myself recognizing the trend that winter weather would restrict mileage somewhat and I would have to double down during the warmer months with more daylight.  But I fell way off my schedule early and spent every month from April on trying to catch up.  I didn't get back ahead of my year to date schedule until the Boxing Day 200K on Dec 26th.  But I did make it, including a big final push of 872 miles in December!
  • Get my weight down under 200 lbs - FAIL! - I'm now about 10 - 15 pounds heavier than I was this time last year.  I completely lost site of this one. My diet lately has worked strongly against this goal and I think my training / riding efforts will require more focus on intervals, non-bike exercise and the like if I'm to succeed here.
  • Take and publish more pictures while riding - Partial Credit - I did better with this early in the year than I did later.  I flirted with capturing helmet video but found it very time consuming to edit and publish.  My thoughts on the blog have also changed and as I wrote less this was also affected.
  • Spend more time with my family on and off of the bike - Partial Credit - I specifically had in mind taking my two youngest sons on more bike excursions both long and short when I wrote that.  I'm taking partial credit for this one though it didn't work out as expected.  Zach (age 10) spent much of the year with his arms in casts so his biking opportunity was quite limited and that made biking with Erik (age 8) tough due to the effects of sibling rivalry.  But I've been more active with the Cub Scouts and attended more sport events than ever.  Like most families we can always do better, but I feel good about the year.

A quantitative analysis might yield a net score of 2 / 4 or 50% for that, which in most endeavors isn't very good. But I actually feel pretty good about the year.  Here are a few highlights not noted above...
  • I completed my first 300K in May.  The Frederick 300K was a big milestone for me.  I'd stretched at least 50% further than my previous longest ride and I finished with enough gas in the tank that I could envision even further distances.  I felt like it validated all the lessons I'd learned riding the R-12 the previous year.  Prep the bike, dress correctly and above all keep eating and drinking correctly and I can ride on for incredible distances.
  • In October I combined two events in a 24 hour period for a total of 226 miles or 363K.  With 6 others we rode the Eastern Shore Reversed 200K perm starting at 7 pm then headed north to Salisbury for the Seagull Century at 7 the next morning. 
  • These and other big days on the bike have improved my confidence.  I no longer approach them with a sense of apprehension. But rather of deliberate preparation.  It's a good feeling.
  • We've cemented our team assignments for next year's Fleche.  In April I'll join 4 others in a 24 hour team ride with a minimum distance of 360K.  That simply wasn't a realistic plan until recently.
  • I RODE MY BIKE 9000 MILES THIS YEAR!!!!  - I'm psyched about that so it bears repeating.  :-)
  • Another child has left the nest.  Our son Justin left this fall for his freshman year at The College of New Jersey in Trenton, NJ.  We now have two in college and they are both thriving. The four younger ones still at home are also doing quite well.  As much fun as I've had on the bike, that is the most rewarding thing of all.
So yes, it's been a pretty good year.  To Tivy, Taylor, Justin, Morgan, Jessica, Zach and Erik - I love you all and am proud of every one of you.  Thank you all so much for your support.

As for 2012,  here are a few things I plan to do next year:
  • Complete the Fleche successfully in April.
  • Complete the Supper Randonneur series of rides: 200K, 300K, 400K and 600K in a single calendar year.
  • Loose this darned gut once and for all.  I will get my weight down to 200lbs.  Most of it needs to come off this winter and early Spring to support the Fleche and S.R. rides.  It's simple, less weight will take less energy to haul up the hills. These rides will confront some significant climbing. Diet and training will get serious focus the next few months.
  • Figure this blog thing out. - I need a new vision and theme for the blog.  I'll still report on the big rides, but a mile by mile log simply doesn't hold my interest any more and I can't imagine it makes good reading, even for my friends who are too polite to say so.  Some ideas I'm kicking around: product reviews, movie and book reviews, and a few more posts around themes like lessons learned commuting, fueling strategies for long rides, pointers for new riders, etc.  These sorts of things would serve to summarize my experiences and learning the last couple of years and just maybe, be useful information for others.  I would welcome any suggestions you care to offer.
Here's wishing everyone a safe and prosperous New Year in 2012!!


  1. Congrats on a great year, and for accomplishing the milage AND keeping perspective. As I took my last ride of the year today I was wondering if you'd make the goal. Happy New Year. V. (240#)

  2. "... Supper Randonneur series ...":

    I like it!

    And after all, a 600 is clearly designed for hobbits doing first and second breakfast, first and second lunch, etc..

    Congrats on the 9000 miles, etc.