Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008, a year in review

Another year is coming to a close, and it's time to reflect on the past years accomplishments or lack there of.

Year started out as planned. Getting in as much riding as Mother Nature would allow looking forward to the race season. I don't really train with any structure, but by the middle of February I started increasing intensity, wearing a HR monitor, and generally trying to make every ride "count".

Business-wise the first quarter blew chunks, so cash flow was extremely limited which led to two cycling decisions.

The first was I had to start commuting by bike. I had done it in the past for the love of cycling, but with gas priced at $3.50 a gallon, the choice was primarily financial. My truck uses about 2 gallons of gas round trip, so that was a savings of between $7-$9 a day.

The second was I had to choose between racing or riding "The Angel Ride" . This was tough. I had raced really well in 2007, and had been anticipating the new season, and racing Expert, as apposed to the Singlespeed Open class. Maybe anticipating it too much. But with money as tight as it was I had to choose between the $100 registration fee for the Angel Ride, or race registration; The Root 66 series really front loaded the season with it's Connecticut races!
I chose the Angel Ride.

Friends' daughter is a cancer survivor, and the Hole in the Wall Gang charities meant so much to their daughter during her treatment, so it seemed like the right thing to do, and I'm glad I made that choice. It gave my commuting a second purpose, and training for the ride w/ Tom and TJ, was fun.

The ride itself was incredible. I've usually been on the support side of charity events, but being a rider was a truly rewarding experience. The support was amazing, and the food was great. On the first day, climbing the last hill to the camp, I began to get all choked up. I finished first on that day which lead to numerous jokes about "winning the charity bike ride". I hit them when they least expected it...

More commuting as the price of gas seemed to endlessly rise, but more business too, which lead to having finances to race, yet working 6 days a week sapped me of my motivation to.

I did get to race The Mt Ascutney Hillclimb, which has become something of a tradition for me. I came in 24th. In 2007 I was about 20 seconds faster and finished 20th, so I was a little disappointed, but content all the same.

More commuting, and finally a week off. We took our annual Summer hiatus on Martha's Vineyard. Almost a week of riding on my new commuter, before I had to rush back to Connectcut to take care of end of the month business responsibilities.
$125 ebay find,+ parts from the bin= classic steel road bike

Cutting back to home did give me the opportunity to ride the Tour of Litchfield Hills , which proved to me a little extra weight really doesn't make that much difference (the Univega weighs more than 4 lbs more than my Cannondale).

At the end of the Summer there was only one race left to the series. I had paid $60 for a license, and hadn't raced my mtb once so I really didn't have a choice; I was going to have to take a Saturday off and test my mettle in the SS Expert class. Well, I had my ass handed to me, but I had so much fun! I can't let another season pass without racing more!

Business slowed considerably and early this year, which was good in that I really needed a break from working 6 days a week. It gave me the chance to finally make a serious attempt at fixed gear riding. I had built "The Fun Machine" up fixed/free over the Winter as a fowl weather bike, but had pretty much left it hanging on a hook. Flipping the wheel around to the fixed side gave new life to a great riding frame. I can't get enough of that bike. I've ridden it on roads, bike paths, fireroads, even singletrack. Riding it fixed opened up a new horizon for me and cycling. Maybe a more adventureous one.

Which leads me to how I ended the year. My Soma Juice is now a fixed gear, and has seen singletrack as such. That and the swept back Nitto Northstar handlebars bars have again brought a new excitement to riding (not that I ever lost any). I was originally going to put a disc brake on the rear, but with mountain gearing (about 51"s) I don't really see a need. Leg pressure can control the rear just fine (so far!).

Since 2005 I have relished every ride I've gone on, and for 2009 that is my goal. Yes, I want to race more, and yes, I want to do more charity rides (on a fixed gear!), but ultimately I just want to enjoy the ride.

1 comment:

Frank said...

Sounds like you had a good year, with some good experiences and kudos to you for riding a fixie off road! Yikes!
Ride One or Ride None!