Saturday, January 5, 2019

Bring on the new year!

It has been a bit of a struggle to write an end of year post, as must be obvious given that we've now entered the new year. Though 2018 wasn't a horrible year by any means for me personally, it's always a challenge to figure out how to sum up the prior months without sounding at least a bit trite and/or making myself somehow feel bad about what I didn't accomplish. Still, I find myself wanting to review a bit and acknowledge both the good moments and the areas that could use improvement in the coming year.
The year did not start off as great as my brain seems to want to recall, but this lack of riding is typical, I suppose, when the weather turns cold and snow is expected. However, there wasn't much snow to contend with, so I suppose this fantasy memory is more a way to mentally deal with my own failure to get motivated by blaming the weather.

February was my absolute worst month of 2018 in regard to both working out and riding. I rode to the gym twice that month (I went to the gym slightly more regularly, but didn't ride there), and that was the extent of my riding for February, sadly. Not even a single tandem ride that month, which, when pointed out to Sam, surprised even him as we both felt like we rode quite a bit during the prior winter. I was also quite sick during this time and that's something I suppose should be accounted for in my lack of activity for February. When feeling near-death, it's difficult to do much of anything (for anyone who went through the rounds of the nasty flu spreading around last year, I'm sure you can identify).

Oddly (though not surprising to me, as I've stated prior that the end of year tends to be a good time for me), December was my best ("best" in this instance being defined as longest amount of time spent doing an activity) month for both working out and riding a bike. Truly, October through December I was in my groove for the year, which gives me hope for 2019, and a glimmer of possibility that things will improve from that point. But, I am also aware that I cannot control the weather, and while I'm willing to brave the cold, I am far too klutzy to venture out on two wheels when ice is covering the roads.

I spent a good portion of the year trying to "figure out" my bike situation. Having sold off several bikes, I was at a bit of a loss as far as which direction to go to settle in on a small group of bicycles that would suit my purposes. Road rides (or dirt ones for that matter) were taken on with my trusty Hillborne for much of the year. I went through a trial with an adventure bike that I believed I could turn into a road bike, which was quite unsuccessful. I also tried out another Rivendell as a road bike and found that it was just too much a duplicate of the one I already own to be practical as a true road steed. Another trial made its way to me later in the year (I'll be writing about that at some point too, but want to spend some additional time with it before sharing more) which helped add to my road mileage for the latter part of 2018.

A mountain bike came into my life during the summer, and while a mountain bike itself is not all that surprising a purchase, the type of mountain bike and the fact that it's been a bike I've truly enjoyed was quite a shock. Riding some technical routes has been an interesting change up to my typical riding habits and hopefully will provide additional strength for all sorts of activities.

Sam and I continued to ride our Hubbuhubbuh tandem throughout the year and even added another tandem to our bikes. We still haven't decided which is our favorite (we've had good and bad rides on both), but we found ourselves doing our best to switch back and forth between the two so that neither is favored over the other. Still, the HHH wins as far as mileage is concerned for 2018 - by far, with about three times as many miles traveled.

Although I usually try to throw in some kind of race or event during the year, the only athletic event that made the list for 2018 was the Fight for Air stair climb in March. I try to throw in at least one event to keep myself in training mode, but the right event just never materialized. I had hoped we would complete one on the tandem too, but I suppose there is time for that in 2019. I suppose we did ride in an ALS fundraiser on St Patrick's Day, but that didn't quite qualify as a true athletic event in my mind.

This is the first year in many that I have felt at all capable. Which is not to say that I am in my prime -- I certainly am not -- but it is the first in several that I have felt the fire inside, that drive to do more and actually had the ability to, at least partially, execute. Whether this is actual, physical improvement to injuries or just a stronger will to push past them, I frankly don't know, but it's been nice to feel things -- strength, good pain, internal changes to my body -- that I haven't felt in some time. This feeling didn't quite get to me until about halfway through the year, but I'm glad it made it and hope that it is a start to build from and that the current year will bring further improvement.

I am doing my best to be cautious with ambitions for the new year. As has been stated in the past, I'm not one for making resolutions this time of year, but I also don't want to sit back and allow excuses or injuries to take hold. I want to set myself up for successful moments, but don't want to become overwhelmed by too much either. It's a tricky balance sometimes to find the right amount of push with an appropriate dosage of rest as well. I can easily be taken in by an all-or-nothing type of thinking, and I don't want that to be the case, especially when it comes to riding.

One of the things I'm grateful for is that riding in adulthood didn't start out as an attempt at racing, as it does for some. I enjoy being on a bicycle because I get to experience sensations that I wouldn't while driving, like smelling bread baking in a shop or seeing the first blooms in spring, and I don't want to lose that side of riding a bike with a desire to go farther or ride faster. It's always important to stop and smell the roses because it's one of the beautiful things about riding. I am continually striving to find the balance between stopping to observe moments and pushing limits, and which side of me wins out on a particular ride seems to be very unpredictable.

I have hopes to write more on the blog this year too. It's slowed down over the last few with life happenings and time just feeling as though it's at a premium. Being able to ride has taken precedence over writing about riding, certainly, and I think most of us can understand that. Still, I want to make time to share and to hear about others adventures, so perhaps the balance in this area will become better in 2019. Only time will tell.

Knowing what is coming this year is not something I can foresee, but I look forward to continuing to ride and enjoy, as I hope you do too. I'd love to hear what others have planned for 2019 as well, so please do share your goals, dreams, and aspirations for the coming year as you see fit.
From the EVL family to yours, wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year with the most fun riding you've enjoyed yet! Happy New Year! Let's make 2019 a great year!


  1. Happy new year! I’ve entered a slow-and-steady phase with my riding that makes me very happy. I commute to work by bike almost every day. Even so, about once a week I have to drive, and I’ve learned not to feel guilty about that. On weekends, my spouse and I go out on our recumbent trikes at least once. By I’ve started focusing elsewhere too. I’m walking the dog more and have started a daily yoga practice. I managed my first (very small, very brief, exceedingly awkward) handstand yesterday — crow pose. I think it will be good for my body to vary my activity more than I have in the past.

    Still, the bike is my first love. It’s what keeps my baseline physical fitness up and what makes my heart sing. Best wishes for all your adventures in the year to come!

    1. Yay for handstands! :) How great that you're starting daily yoga!!

      My little monkeys (dogs) require a lot of walking (though the lab is getting up there in age, so requires much less these days), so I can identify with spending a lot of focus in that area. My feet are a mess from the mileage we rack up each week.

      I'm glad to see you are continuing to enjoy your recumbent trikes too. Hopefully, this year is off to a great start for you and you'll continue to enjoy old activities and new! :)


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