Wait…What?? It’s the end of January already? I’m sorry, but from my perspective this month flew by. I guess I better let you know how my 2017 went, cycling wise of course.
It was actually a very big year for me. 2017 saw me ride in eight different states. Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota. Oh yea, and Ohio of course. There were some big rides and countless training rides that took me over 3300 miles on a bike for the year. That is a few pedal strokes.
I got to enjoy the great sights of mother nature. Armadillos and alligators in Florida. The many lakes and fields of Minnesota. The great Mississippi River from Minnesota through Iowa. The rolling hills and mountains of Pennsylvania. Beautiful Lake Michigan. And the great landscapes of Ohio. The rolling horse pens of Kentucky.
I got to meet many new friends that I now call family. I was able to ride for a great cause four different times as I was able to participate in four different Hope Rides for the American Cancer Society. I was able to enjoy the kindness of complete strangers whom I will probably never see again, but I will never forget.
I also had the great fortune to meet and ride for Miss Emily Gandee. I dedicated the riding season to Emily and was blessed to have “Flat” Emily with me through most of my journeys. Emily is a wonderful young lady and I am happy to report she is on her way to recovery. We had some great adventures over all of those miles and I was happy to have her as an inspiration. She also made many new friends and admirers along the way.
It was not all joy. There were days of wind and days of rain and there were days of wind and rain. There were really cold days and really hot days. There were days that I wish I was not riding, but I still had to keep going. I had my share of flat tires and breakdowns. I was dropped by my riding companions more times than I am willing to admit.
There were a few scary road moments. Riding in heavy traffic is never much fun. Getting blown over the road by passing cattle trucks also does not rank up there as a favorite activity. Getting caught in a wrong gear just as that little incline turns into a major climb will leave you breathless and have your legs screaming. Hitting potholes as you are traveling at 30 mph downhill also gets your attention. But just like the good memories, these are just part of the game that I so enjoy.
As I look back over the past year I can say that I am proud of my achievements for the year. I have been riding a bike as a hobby for over 15 years now and I would like to say that I have improved my abilities each and every year with 2017 not being an exception. I can’t imagine what my 2003 self would think of the 2017 version of me. Except, maybe, “Hey? We made it that far?? Very cool!”