It’s New Year’s Eve, and time to do the ritual … re-cap on the last 365 days of 2009. Gee, time sure flies by, and just to think it seemed like only yesterday. The year started off really well. I had a lot of PTO time to spend, so I had the usual new year’s and day after off, and then I took another week off, and took advantage of that by doing a bunch of rides. So I immediately got a head start on mileage and climbing, and that was cool.
I was really fortunate that my friend Lynn, who is a pretty key volunteer for the Tour of California, had an extra spot for a traveling Course Marshall. This is one of the most coveted volunteer positions for the entire event, and I got in. Woohoo. This meant I got to hop in and out of those speeding vans, followed the race from the prologue, all the way to the end in Escondido. This was an experience I will never forget, despite the fact that it rained, and rained hard the first half of the tour, and we were all soakin’ wet from it. The only other thing was we couldn’t really enjoy the race, since we were working it. Oh well, I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Bunch of my friends also were planning on doing Davis Double, and we were going to have a big showing there. So in preparations for that, I scheduled to do Primavera Century in April, and Wine Country Double Metric in May, as warm ups. Primavera was fine, and went without issues, but Wine Country was wet and raining. I was riding it with Pete, and we basically did portions of all the rides … 50, 100, 200k, and even the 25 miler. It was fun, it was silly, and it was wet. I wasn’t really riding that well, and was really glad to be over with it. In the back of my mind, with this being only 120 miles (really less than that), I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be ready for Davis. No sense in worrying about it now.
Ah, then Davis comes around. We had a fairly good sized BF contingent, so it was going pretty good. Then, get a flat, and there went my paceline. It ended up being a really hot day, temps in the triple digits. Cobb Mountain really took a lot out of me. It was steep, and wide open, with no shades. It kept going on and on … ice socks were the order of the day. When I got to Resurrection, and had no energy left, and I hear the temp there was 105 F. This was at mile 125, or something like that. I got to the top, at mile 136, and decided to sag it in. My first DNF. It was so hot, we had scenes like the pic below:
After DNF’ing Davis, I set my sights next on Eastern Sierra, in June. Getting there was an adventure itself, as every route we took was greeted with road closures, due to snow over the pass. In the end, we took a long detour, going via Lake Tahoe, before finally reaching Mammoth. Then, due to inclement weather, they had to change the route, so our initial plans of getting a 1 hour early start at 4 am was not possible. Then, on the modified route, we headed south, and we ended up with rain, sleet, and snow. When it started snowing, I turned back, especially when I saw a bunch of other riders turn back. I sagged it in, DNF’ing another double century ride. What is it with me and inclement weather on these double century rides? After DNF’ing this, I decided no more double centuries for this year.
The failed double centuries would be the bookmark … not the highlight … but the distinguishing event of the year for me. In addition to this, I ended up buying an IRO Fixie from Henry. I call it Vader …. all black. It’s a 43×16, and little did I know how tight the gearing is. I was just happy to ride a fixie, and I then used this as my primary commute bike to work. After continuing to commute with this, I started to get stronger and stronger, and my hill climbing started to improve. Eventually, the weight started coming off. Suddenly, just out of a whim, I decided to weigh myself. I had lost about 15 lbs since the last time I weighed myself. Wow!
This fitness seemed to carry over with me through the end of the year. I started getting lots of complements about my form and fitness, and I thought the first couple were just good friends saying kind words, but then everybody started saying this. I thought, wow, maybe I am getting better. I felt really flattered when Marco was mentioning how strong I was … then, what really clued me in was I was climbing with the big boys … Ramon, Donald, and I wasn’t dying.
One of the most memorable rides this year was a ride that Marco led, going over both sides of Hamilton. It ended up being a 95 mile ride, with about 13,000 feet climbing. Little did we know it was their training ride for Everest Challenge, which was to be the following week. It was an amazing ride, which featured Quimby, Kinkaid (a road not many people go on, and very smooth pavement), to the top of Hamilton, down the other side to a dive restaurant called the Junction, then climb back up Hamilton, then back to the cars. I am still amazed that I even finished that ride.
Right in the middle of all of this, our friends Marco and Ruth got married. It was such a happy day, to see these two get married … and what was cool was they rode the tandem from the church to the reception at Huddard Park, which is still a bit of a climb … and they were even doing that in a pseudo- black and white outfit. Yes, we did sacrifice a day from riding, but it was well worth it to see two of our best friends get hitched. Once again, Marco and Ruth, congradulations.
Another of our friends, Michael, became a father this year. It was one of the best kept secrets, and none of us had any clue. I guess it came pretty suddenly for him too. But what was interesting here was he actually has done more riding than we have since he has become a father. Kings Mountain, OLH, and Page Mill, all in the same day … he’ll do that in a heartbeat.
Of course, I’ve also done my normal visits down to Southern California. One of my favorite rides down there is Chantry Flats, and one time, my friend Mary took me up to the helicopter pad. Not too many people know about this, but it’s a nice extra climb giving you a view of the valley. It’s pretty awesome:
So thanks for looking back at 2009 along with me. It was a pretty interesting year, and 2010 will probably have just as many twists and turns. I’m already starting it off with a bang by changing product groups at work, so 2010 should be interesting.
Happy New Year everyone.