Our friend Don Blount is reflecting on a banner cycling year.
2014 was a big cycling year for me.
Here are my totals: 6,512.46 miles (10,481 kilometers), 191,828 feet (58,469 meters) of climbing, 401 hours, 51 minutes of riding time.
That was 1,045 mi (1,682.8 km) and 80,000 ft (24,384 m) and 70 hrs of riding time more than in 2013. I completed one organized century, and five centuries in training; three double metric centuries, including the Tour of the California Alps Death Ride, and a double century.
Yet when I was asked my most memorable ride of the year, I struggle to answer as I had a number of memorable rides
Here is the list:
- January: Climbed Mt. Diablo in Contra Costa County, Calif for the first time. This ride was 49.44 mi. (79.6 km) with 5,853 ft (1,784 m) of climbing in 3 hrs 57 mins.
- February: Pedaling Paths to Independence metric century in Linden, Calif. 64.43 miles (103.7 km), 1,115 ft (340 m), 3 hrs, 30 mins. I received my handmade, custom steel Tallerico bike a few days before this ride and this was my first significant ride on it.
- April: Tierra Bella double metric century in Gilroy, Calif. 127 mi. (204 km), 8,632 ft. (2,631 m), 8 hrs 54 mins. This was the first time I traveled with my bike to do an organized ride. This double metric would also be my biggest ride to date and I did it on the 10-year anniversary of having my right hip replaced.
- May: Lodi Sunrise Century, Lodi, Calif. 101 miles (1652.54 km), 2,391 ft (893 m), 7 hrs, 43 mins. My sister-in-law, Gina, came to California from her home in Columbus, Ohio to celebrate her birthday and ride her first century. I rode with her and it was fun to help someone achieve that goal. It was only in the previous October that I had completed my first.
- May: Sierra Century double metric century, Plymouth, Calif. 122 mi (196 km), 10,965 ft (3,342 m), 8 hrs, 41 mins. I had not ridden this course but I was feeling poorly going up a difficult climb called Slug Gulch. Once I finished that climb, another rider and I raced to get to the lunch stop before the cut off. One rest stop worker told me that I had arrived too late and could not continue. And then a friend also worked at the rest stop intervened, telling that worker that he was wrong and that I had arrived well within the cutoff. I set off, recovered and finished the double metric.
- June: Canyon Classic, Patterson, Calif. 93.34 mi. (150 km), 7,756 ft (2,364 m), 6 hrs, 50 mins. This was my first time riding to the top of Mt. Hamilton. At the lunch stop at Lick Observatory I remembered talking to this guy who was basically telling me that I could not do a double century. I remember thinking, “I will show you….”
- June: Four-pass training ride with my crazy doctor, Bear Valley, Calif. 83.04 mi. (133.64 km), 11,033 ft (3,363 m), 8 hrs, 10 mins. This would be my first time riding in the Sierras. We started in Hermit Valley, rode Ebbetts Pass, both sides of Monitor Pass then to Markleville, the other side of Ebbetts and back to Hermit Valley.
- July: Death Ride Tour of the California Alps Markleeville, Calif.124.21 mi (200 km), 15,030 ft (4,581 m), 11 hrs, 19 mins This was the hardest ride of the year. I knew I could do at least four passes but I wanted to do all five. And I did.
- October: Bass Lake Powerhouse Double Century Clovis, Calif. 201.4 mi. (324 km), 11,503 ft (3,506 m), 14 hrs 30 mins. My first double century.
Clearly, I entered a whole new world of riding in 2014.
In 2015, I am registered again for the Death Ride but I am also training for my first California Triple Crown, three double centuries within the calendar year. I was on track to do them.
But you might have heard the old proverb: Man makes plans, and God laughs.