Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013 … Looking Forward to 2014 ...

I have to admit: in putting together a summary of the past year, I had to look through my photos just to remember most of it. It's not that 2013 was an uneventful year -- to the contrary, it was probably one of the busiest years I've ever had on the bike. In fact, that's probably why I had trouble recalling specifics.

The short story of 2013 would go something like this: new experiences, a lot of time spent on the singlespeed, some really great race results, some really shitty race results, and a couple of great trips to ride/race in new places from Virginia to Minnesota.

The longer story?

Well, nobody likes a long story but everybody loves pictures, right? So let's tell the long story in pictures ...

January featured my first snow rides in over a year (recall the winter of 2012 was abnormally warm.)

Recovering at home after surgery to fix a deviated septum

N+1, the Niner SS version!

Bakers Dozen on a rigid SS with a broken hand? Ouch.

Bakers Dozen was a real find for me -- I loved that race!

SSAP didn't go that well my first year in the open class -- under-geared, I spun like crazy just to get  a mid-pack finish.

My Rapha Gentlemen's Ride trophy -- my day ended with a 30+ mph crash that cracked my frame.

Midnight at Marsh Creek was my first outright win of the season

Flying in Chicago for the trip to SSUSA

Winona gave us an awesome party and an epic ride

Winona, MN as a ride destination? Who'd have thunk it?

Time off in the summer gave me  chance to ride some places I don't get to ride enough, like French Creek
Iron Cross … another awesome day. Instant classic and a new can't-miss on the calendar!

Cathedral Pines started off shaky on my pre-ride when I snapped my seatpost ...

… but by the next morning, i had a replacement post and was ready to roll ...

… and it paid off as I hit my long-held goal of eight laps, good enough for 2nd in SS and 13th overall.

It was a year with a lot of saddle time, including over 3K miles on the SS!

All in all, 2013 was one of my favorite years in recent memory - lots of fun on and off the bike

One final note on the year that was before moving on to 2014: this blog is generally about my riding and racing, but no mention of 2013 would be complete for me without a mention of Joanna's year. She had a few tough years due to some injuries and a difficult work schedule (to put it mildly.) But in 2013, she put aside the recent issues and re-focused on the things she's always loved doing. A huge factor in this was her decision to sign up for personal training again at a unique cross-fit-syle gym that opened in our area about a year ago. The real turning point was her trainer -- I really can't overstate the impact his training regimens has had on her. Since the start of the year, she's steadily progressed in her workouts and fitness, re-certified as a Spinning Instructor and started leading classes at the Y (she was always a fantastic instructor so I was really glad to see her go back to that) and even discovered a new interest in gravel riding, which we'll be exploring together in '14. I felt like I had a pretty good year, but her year was phenomenal! I couldn't be more proud of her or happy for her!

So … 2014. I have a few plans for this year that pretty much start right away. My big goal for the year comes before the half way point -- the 24 Hours of Round the Clock in Spokane, WA the weekend of May 25th. I'll be spending the first five months building to that goal, so there will be lots of training between now and May. It's going to be a pretty busy year overall with lots of travel -- in addition to the Spokane trip (which might turn out to be a logistical nightmare), I'll be in Baltimore for the 8 Hours of Patapsco and in Leesburg for the Bakers Dozen in April, Chicago for my brother's bachelor party in early May, Spokane in late May, NYC in July for my brother's wedding, Copper Harbor for SSUSA in August, back to Virginia for the SM100 in September, and finally out to Long Island for CP in November. In between, I've got a few long, local drives to deal with for other events as well.  Obviously, the wedding events are a definite go, and I'm already registered for SSUSA, so I'll definitely be there. But I'm not going to fully commit to everything else just yet because I have to recall that I do this for fun and it's part-time -- after these great weekends, I still have work to go to on Monday boring. So I know it could get crazy, and I may have to sacrifice any or a even a few of these for sanity sake. But as of right now, I'm planning on lining up for all of them. And I still plan to find more time for fun rides, and I'd like to put more road miles in (which gels nicely with the training thing anyway.) Can I top the year I had in '13? Who knows, but I'm sure as hell going to try!

Here's hoping your 2013 was everything you wanted it to be, and 2014 brings even better things. Happy New Year folks, and I'll see you on the trails!


  1. 2013 was a good year for both of us. Here's to more riding (for me, on the road AND gravel) and to a wee bit more relaxing for both of us (whenever we can squeeze it in) in 2014. Cheers!