As we head into 2016, I thought I’d summarize my year in 2015. I’m not racing nearly as much as I used to. I’m riding more than in the past, but racing less. I enjoy group (and solo) rides on my road bike, the gravel grinders (all year!), mountain biking (particularly at the local trails: The Hydrocut) , and most recently, fat biking! I’ve listed a few highlights for 2015 below. Two of them are bike events and one is a swimming event:
- Swimming in a triathlon relay at Kelso in June on a relay team with my brothers. This was the second year we entered as a relay team. In 2014, we won the team category, finishing first out of four teams. This year, there were ten teams, and we finished second. I used to swim race in high school (many, many years ago), but open-water swimming is quite different. I consider this a highlight not because of the result, but because it’s way outside of my comfort zone. It’s “only” 1000 metres, but I found the start of the race very tense and nerve-racking being surrounded by arms and legs thrashing around me. It took about 200 m before I lost the claustrophobic feeling. Experienced open-water swimmers call this the “washing machine”, and I’ve talked to some who enjoy it. I nearly panicked when I couldn’t see anything and was worried about getting kicked in the head and sinking to the bottom. I did, however, manage to calm myself and finish the distance in around 22 minutes before handing off to my fast mountain biker brother who made up a lot of time as he tore up the mountain bike trails at Kelso for about 20km, before my other bro completed the relay with a solid 9 km trail run for our second place finish.
- My longest ride ever – a CX gravel grinder from Cambridge to Port Dover and back. It was on a hot day in July with some of my regular riding friends from the Waterloo Cycling Club. We rode at a relaxed pace along the rail trail, stopped by the beach for lunch in Port Dover (and a photo op by the lighthouse) and rode on the roads back to Cambridge.
- Crank the Shield. A two-day mountain bike stage race in Haliburton. In 2015, the organizers offered a short-course option, which I decided to select. What made this event epic was the downpour the night before the start of the first day. Inches of rain fell, making the trails muddy and in many places, unridable. The first day was over 60km of trails, gravel and paved roads, lots of hike-a-bike, and a couple times up a ski hill. My partner Ana-Maria and I finished in second for the mixed-team, short course category (only two teams finished but there were a few teams that didn’t finish). There were several times during that race when I was ready to DNF because I was so physically and mentally exhausted. Having a partner at times like this is invaluable, and Ana’s determination carried me to the finish. The second day was shorter (around 45 km), but still muddy and tough but we finished and made the podium (second out of two finishing teams).
My total riding distance was about where it was in 2014… about 4000 km. A lot of it was on the road, but I also did a lot of gravel grinder rides in the winter/spring/fall, and mountain biking as well (not to mention fat biking…. which was new to me in 2015). Stats below (Strava stats from veloviewer.com)
Stay tuned for 2016! It’s the year I’m turning 50, so I’ll be blogging about my 50-in-50, or 50 memorable rides this year. I hesitate to use the word “epic” because it’s over-used, but I want have 50 rides this year that are significant. This significance can be a new route, or a destination ride (coffee? peach muffins? apple fritters?), or a new distance or accomplishment, or simply a ride that was memorable in its own way. I’ve already got some ideas written down. Drop me a line if you want to join me, or if you have any ideas for memorable rides!