Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 - the Year in Review

Whoa! Has it really been a year and a half since the last blog entry? Well, it's not 'cause we haven't been out there riding bikes. Our gang has been doing all kinds of good stuff, but apparently I'm just not writing about it much. So I guess a recap of the 2014 season is in order.

It was a great year for me, riding-wise. Not so much racing, but gobs of great riding. I kicked it off by pedaling out to the First Day 5k at Hills Creek State Park, running that with Sheila, then riding back home. I slipped and fell on the ice both during the run and on the ride home. No major damage done.

Next up was the Fire & Ice cyclocross race in Danville. Held at night in January, this was a silly fun event that helped to get me out of the house over the past few winters. I don't think it's happening again this year. Sad to see it go.

let it snow

Then the weather turned really cold and I started doing a bunch of running. I was hoping to build up so I could join Travis Twoey on his CanyonMan DIY triathlon (20-mile paddle on Pine Creek, 30-mile run on the West Rim Trail, 50-mile bike ride) in early May. But I probably tried to do too much too fast and ended up with some nasty IT band pain.

By mid March I gave up on the running and got back on the bike with an eye toward maybe doing Crush the Commonwealth again. I put in some good miles, including an all-headwind century to State College in April, but couldn't quite bring myself the lather required to tackle CtC. That ended up being just fine though, because by all accounts the weather that weekend was heinous.

red eft

I did join Travis on the bike leg of CanyonMan, then did another century in May. Then at the end of the month I rode a 600k brevet with the Eastern PA Randonneurs. My biggest bucket list goal is to do Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015, so I wanted to check out that scene and meet some of the folks I'll likely be riding with a lot more next year. They were all great and I'm looking forward to doing the full series (200k, 300k, 400k and 600k) with them in 2015.

In June Sheila and I did a new event, the Liberty Blockhouse Festival bike race, on the tandem. That was a hoot. The course was winding, narrow in places, and loaded with punchy climbs - not ideal for tandeming, but still fun and challenging. I hope this one continues and prospers.

photo from the Wellsboro Gazette

We had a nice turnout for our 9th annual No Frills Century on July 6th. Then the big July event was the Twisted Spokes club trip to RAGBRAI. We had a blast - rode over 400 miles, drank plenty of beer, ate a ton of pork, and came back very tired.

yeah, that's me with the whip around my neck

Next up was the 12-hour Ole Bull Midnight Madness mountain bike race in August. I went solo in the Open Cash category and won! I was the only one in that category though, so don't be too impressed. But still, it was a good day in the woods. I did 7 laps, for 93 miles in 9¾ hours. I had time for an 8th lap, but without anyone there pushing me it was all too easy to pull the ripcord early. I was home, showered, beered, fed and in bed before the race officially ended at midnight.

In October we had our 2nd annual end-of-season last-hurrah we call Sausage Cross (wurst ride ever). It involves a camp-out session at Asaph, a big dirt road ride in the Tioga State Forest, and lots and lots of sausage. Despite some chilly and rainy weather, we had 24 people show up to ride and a fine, gritty time was had by all.

crossing sausages

My last event for the year was the Dirty Dozen in Pittsburgh. That one had been on my to-do list for quite a while and I was glad to finally get there. It made for a very long day, with a long drive in the dark at the beginning and end, but was totally worth the effort. It was a great ride - a casual, easy cruise around the city with a bakers dozen of super steep hill climbs sprinkled throughout. I'm sorry I waited so long to try it.

Canton Ave. - they say the steepest part is a 37% grade

So that's the gist of 2014 - many miles and smiles with good friends. And here's to 2015 - looking forward to new adventures and wishing you all the best.