When one gets obsessive about annual cycling mileage, Jan. 1 marks the abrupt end of one quest and the start of another.
I made it a goal around Thanksgiving to get to 8,000 miles in 2016, and dubbed the effort Project 8K on my Twitter & Instagram feed to motivate myself.
It seemed doable, with about 350 miles to go in December, my records told me. Then I found a big mistake in my log — I had uploaded a century twice by running two Garmin GPS units on a ride. Why? I was debugging a problem with my Edge 810 bike unit and rode with my GPS watch as a backup, and forgot that it uploaded the miles on the next sync some days later.
Taking that ride out was the only honorable thing to do. But it made my goal jump to 450 miles, no small amount in December with iffy weather and holiday time with family. I started putting in a few extra miles on the weekdays and rode a 200k with the DC Randonneurs with Mary on Dec. 3, which got me closer. But then I got sick and lost four days mid-month, including a weekend.
Things looked tight, but I got some miles at the Hains Point 100 and managed a solo century on the Dec. 23, which did most of the job. Along the way I got some very nice online and in-person cheering from the BikeDC gang as I posted my progress. Thanks all!
I made it to 8K on Dec. 29, fittingly riding around Hains Point after work with Mary and our mega-miler pal Judd joining in.
Then, barely 48 hours later, I’m back at zero miles on Jan. 1. Geez! At least all the other mile/kilometer chasers were in the same boat. It was our good luck then that we had mild, dry weather on Sunday, and we took the tandem out to Adamstown, Md. for a long ride west to Shepherdstown, W.Va. and back.
I modified the Century of the Spiral Staircase to start in Adamstown to an 88-mile version that let us start a little later in the morning, and meet a local furniture dealer after the ride.
This century was one cued by tandem riders John Fauerby and Lynne Rosenbusch, whose death caused by a drunk driver on Halloween in 2015 remains hard to accept. Here’s a link to a memorial fund set up in their honor to promote the work of Bike Maryland to make the roads safer for all users.
To celebrate New Year’s Day I counted our firsts of 2017 along the way. Here are a few:
- first tandem ride of the year;
- first summit of iconic high point Gapland;
- first lunch at Blue Moon Cafe, a Shepherdstown favorite;
- first espressos at Lost Dog Espresso, another Shepherdstown favorite;
- first hauling of the tandem down the spiral staircase to the C&O Canal Towpath in Harper’s Ferry;
- first “she’s not pedaling” jibe by yet another smartaleck old guy;
- first sunset together on the bike!
On the final miles we caught up to a group of randonneurs riding a 200K permanent. They had 30 miles to go with the sun going down and were happy as clams. Check out these smiles.
Our ride also got us going in the annual Bike Arlington Freezing Saddles winter riding challenge. This is my second year and I’m again shooting for perfect attendance. This is my chance to make up for never getting the attendance ribbon in elementary school, I always stayed home sick at least once.
Good luck and tailwinds this year, readers. We’ll be looking for you!