Friday, December 27, 2013

Revisiting 2013 - It was a year.

It's that time of year when best of 2013 lists and recaps of important happenings are being published across the internet and traditional media. I would be remiss if I didn't join the fray (plus it's been over a month since I wrote on this blog). So let's review our cycling year...

Since we really don't ride in the winter (remember we live in Michigan) we'll jump right ahead to the spring, in which we really didn't ride either. Spring 2013 was very wet. We had so much rain that the Grand River overflowed it's banks in a once-a-century style flood. When it wasn't raining it was hard to find routes that weren't under water. My personal mileage for the spring was about 500 miles less than it had been in 2012.

We joined the Rapid Wheelmen, a local cycling club, ostensibly so that Ian could be part of their junior race team. He competed in races in Frankenmuth and East Grand Rapids. While he didn't place well in either race his practice time was limited because of (a-hem) senioritis and getting ready to attend college this fall. As a family we participated in a few of the Rapid Wheelmen Time Trials. The Trials are a 15 mile, relatively flat, out and back race against the clock. Every time I did one of these races I confirmed to myself that I am not a racer.

Summer was great for riding. We did many rides with our JDRF team. Ian and I also rode in the Holland Hundred, although we only completed 40 miles because of other family commitments later in the day. There was a huge group of JDRF folks, both past and present, that rode the HH. It was great seeing so many different versions of the JDRF jersey.

August brought the One Day Ride Across Michigan (ODRAM). 147 miles in a single day. I'm one of the organizers so I don't "get" to ride in it. In 2013, we had the largest number of riders since we took over the ODRAM and raised almost $10,000 for JDRF.

What we train for all spring and summer is the big JDRF century ride. This year that ride was in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the first time the JDRF ride program had sponsored a ride in Nashville and it was the largest ride ever, with over 500 participants. The ride was great, leaving from Vanderbilt University and heading out along the Natchez Trace Parkway. At least the first 52 miles were great. At the turnaround point I crashed. Luckily I was the only bicycle involved. Unluckily I broke four ribs, punctured my left lung, suffered a mild concussion and partially tore the hamstring in my left leg. Plus I had a bruise on my left side the size of Rhode Island. The medical personnel on the course and at Vanderbilt Medical Center did a great job. I've had a full recovery but that crash did impact the rest of my cycling year.

In many ways autumn was worse than winter for cycling. During the winter I don't want to ride. In the autumn of 2013 I wanted to ride but couldn't. We had a gorgeous fall in west Michigan. The temperatures were moderate and there was plenty of sunshine. However, I could only sit inside and look out the windows. I was on the mend (and on medication) until mid-November. By the time I was medically able to get back on a bike the snow was starting the fall. I envied my team mates who were able to ride during the great autumn weather. And now we're back to winter. (Sigh)

Even tough I rode over 1,200 miles this year, 2013 was quite a disappointment cycling-wise. I didn't ride as much as I wanted and my longest ride was only 60 miles. I'm healed now and my bike will get fixed over the winter. So I'm hoping for a better year in 2014.

Until then, please enjoy this video recap of the 2013 West Michigan JDRF season.