My first year, after moving from strictly running to triathlon, I logged in what I thought at the time was a pretty impressive 1,800 miles (and some change). My second year I rode, ran and swam 5,300 miles – and I was pretty sure that this was about as good as a fella with a full-time career could hope for… Then I broke that with 5,600 and change the next. Last year I beat it again but I was just shy of the 10,000 km mark.
This year, that was my goal. 6,250 miles. The 10,000 km milestone…
I had 6,984 miles when I snapped that photo yesterday afternoon.
I started off with the idea that I’d do an easy ride, kind of a tour of awesomeness to cap off a really fun year. You know, don’t bother looking at the computer, just keep the head up and enjoy the view? You know how that went. Sure, I started out slow… My second mile was right at 3 minutes. My third? 2:50. Fourth? 2:40. Dammit, I just can’t help it! From there, I made a deal with the knucklehead speed demon in my melon committee and dialed it back to 19.
I stopped by the LBS to say hello to the owner, a close friend of mine and a truly spectacular guy to turn some miles with… 6,994.5 miles with 5-1/2 miles to my driveway. Finally, on that last mile, I took off my sunglasses, wrapped them around the back of my neck and sat up.
In the failing light, honest to God, I timed it to the exact mile. 7,000. On the nose.
This has been a spectacular year, but what have I got to show for it? After buying my wife a really nice Specialized Alias for Christmas last year, we were able to turn at least a few thousand miles together and she’s now a regular part of the group. I’ve spent hundreds of hours with my wife and friends staying in tip-top shape and having a fantastic time of it. I’ve been able to eat like I mean it for all of the calories I burned. More than anything though, or maybe this wraps that all up with a nice red and black bow, all of those miles gave me peace. As with my friend, Dan (from Iowa), cycling brings me closer to my Higher Power – it gives me all of the best this life has to offer, makes every relationship I have, better.
It may sound a little silly, but riding my bike makes everything that much more bright and enjoyable. All of our trips – Kentucky, Boyne City, Lansing to Mackinaw in four days… Camping with my wife (or that awesome suite they upgraded us to for free in Kentucky for the Horsey Hundred)… Going for rides with my daughters and my mother-in-law and step father-in-law…
Folks, those who have also been bitten by the cycling bug will know exactly what I mean. Cycling makes looking at life through the eyes of a child (while maintaining the responsibilities of an adult), easy. And as we all know, that’s the key to a happy existence.
And this, just a week before my 23rd sober anniversary… I picked a good month to put the plug in the jug. November is Gratitude Month. I am definitely that.