The DCyclist’s 2015 End of the Year Blowout

The end of 2015 is upon The DCyclist again. This means it is time to look back on the year. What goals did I meet from last year? Where did I fail? Where was I bad ass? Where was I an asshole? There are all important questions. In addition, I like to set goals for the year to come. I think they’re called New Years resolutions.

The year was my most productive years in terms of overall mileage. I had set this goal last year which I though was achievable if I hadn’t been injured. This year I was able to avoid serious injury which kept me off the bike. I really hadn’t though about reaching 5,000 until about October when I looked at my mileage and thought “I can do this”. During the last 3 months of the year, I have became obsessed with mileage which has it ups and downs. First, riding bikes is about so much more than mileage. It the experience of riding, the social aspect, the challenge of a difficult climb, and being outdoors. Enough with this touchy feely crap…..

The upside to this mileage obsession is the satisfaction of achieving your goal. Crossing it off the list, if you will. I have never ridden 5,000 miles a year and it seemed like a worthy goal. It also motivated me to get out on my bike more. I often took the long way home from work for the extra miles and went on rides I normally wouldn’t. In a way, this goal helped feed all the other good things about riding my bike. Granted, there were days when I didn’t feel like riding but felt I had to simply to reach my weekly mileage. However, sometimes these days typified by a lack of motivation were some of the more surprising rides. In the end, there was no marching band, no confetti, and ticker tape parade. Just me on the side of road. Goal achieved!!! Whats next?

The face of 5,000 miles in 2015. Photo by The DCyclist

The face of 5,000 miles in 2015. Photo by The DCyclist

Here are the basic 2015 stats for all the bike nerds.

Distance: 5,034 miles

Time on Bike: 395 hours

Elevation Gained: 166,099 feet

Number of rides: 431

The highlight on riding in 2015 was my bike tour with #NoWrongPlan on the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC. It all came together very quickly to do this ride with my friend’s John and Kevin. I think we were all looking to get away and this bike ride provided the perfect opportunity. In early May, #NoWrongPlan, as it had been dubbed, left Pittsburgh. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Okiopyle State Park along the GAP Trail. Photo by The DCyclist

Okiopyle State Park along the GAP Trail. Photo by The DCyclist

Ohiopyle selfie. Photo by The DCyclist

Ohiopyle selfie. Photo by The DCyclist

To be able to lose yourself in the moment without any of the pressures of daily life were the most treasured moments. And who could forget about Meth Man. This trip has been chronicled on John’s blog, A Few Spokes Shy of a Wheel, as well as my blog. Yes, I realize I have not finished all the postings. Did I mention I rode 5,000 miles this year? What do you want from me? I have gotten I few emails from readers asking where the rest of the postings are. All I can say is “sorry”. Fear not, they are coming……I promise.

The end of the road for #NoWrongPlan. We did it!!! Photo by The DCyclist

The end of the road for #NoWrongPlan. We did it!!! Photo by The DCyclist

This year also featured a vacation to South Africa. While this was not primarily a biking vacation, my wife and I did spend a day riding mountain bikes through wine country in Stellenbosch. I know, it’s a tough life. We stopped at a few wineries along the way for tastings as well. Again, brutal.

The stress I feel right now can't be measured. Photo by Mrs. DCyclist

The stress I feel right now can’t be measured. Photo by Mrs. DCyclist

It had been a long time since I has ridden a mountain bike. Man, those things are fat bike tire fun. On our final night, we went to a winery/restaurant called Overture where I had the best meal of my life. Three courses which turned into nine, wine, and the shimmering lights of the valley below. In DC, this meal may cost well over $500 but in South Africa it was more like $100.

The DCyclist only rides tires this fat in South African. Photo by Susan Borja

The DCyclist only rides tires this fat in South African. Photo by Mrs. DCyclist

In addition to riding bikes, my wife and I climbed Table Mountain in Cape Town, went to Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe (The Zim and The Zam as it’s known), and went on safari for almost a week in Kruger National Park. It was truly a once in a lifetime trip but I am ready to go back again!!!!

The DCyclist taking in of South African wine country. Photo by Susan Borja

The DCyclist taking in of South African wine country. Photo by Mrs. DCyclist

Stellenbosh, South Africa. Photo by Susan Borja

Stellenbosch, South Africa. Photo by Mrs. DCyclist

There were fewer organized rides in 2015. I did the 50 States Ride and The Cider Ride put on by WABA. I was also scheduled to do the Seagull Century. However, a huge northeaster and the possibility of a hurricane cancelled the event. For 2016, the organizers were generous enough to roll my registration into this coming year’s event. Aside from this small handful of rides, I did no other “organized” events.

My friend Matt Moore, owner of District Cycle Works, in conjunction with my other friend Rudi, have organized Wednesday night shop rides down the C&O Canal. This ride is always great. It gives me something to look forward to in the middle of the week. Plus, they happen in the dark (at least during the winter) which is always fun on the C&O. I don’t go every week but I try to show up about once a month. They truly are peak fun.

So what should I strive for in 2016? Since I achieved 5,000 miles this year, I would like to hit 6,000 miles for next year. However, I think that is a stretch. If I can repeat my 5,000 miles plus a little extra I will be happy. I would like to do more organized rides next year. I miss the energy of large organized rides and a shot at pie. Plus, I am interested in revenge. A couple of years ago I rode the Civil War Century with my brother-in-law. About halfway through the century I utterly cracked on a climb to the point that I stopped. When I restarted  I realized I was only about 500 yards from the top. I was…..let’s just say I was unhappy. Anyway, I need some payback with that century. The Backroads Century is also on my list. I haven’t done it since it moved to its new home base in Shepherdstown. The Seagull Century, since my registration was transferred from this year, is a given and always a great time.

Finally, I may consider one of the more demanding rides. Anyone got in suggestions?

There is also a crazy idea floating around our small community of cyclists to ride the GAP/C&O in 48 hours. You never know what kind of poor choices that might lead me into.

Overall, 2015 was a great year. Thanks to everyone who was part of it. You know who you are.


3 thoughts on “The DCyclist’s 2015 End of the Year Blowout

  1. Wow, South Africa, how cool! Definitely on my travel list for some day. The Civil War Century looks interesting, although I’m no longer interested in *that* many miles. Since I still have yet to go to Gettysburg, I’m going to add that ride to my “possibly” list for this year. We want to do the GAP at some point this year, too. I’ll be bugging John for details when we start planning. : ) Cheers!

  2. Life is so much more fun on a bike. Now that you have done the GAP, you may want to look into the Erie Canal. I have done both and give the GAP a B- and the Erie Canal an A. The abundance of towns along the entire canal is the difference. I Do have to give South Africa muliple +++++ after the A though. It looks maaaaavelous.

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