It's true that I have some unrealized goals in my life, and that a number of them revolve around bicycling. Some of them will never be realized because of various factors: age, health, the need to hold down a full-time job and the desire to spend at least some of my free time with family and friends who ride bicycles little or not at all. Some of my goals will never be realized simply because I don't have the means to pursue them.
other goals, however, CAN be realized, at least in part, if I am willing to reserve the time and energy required to pursue them; and in many cases I already possess some of what I need to do so.
So here's a list of things I would like to do in 2009:
1. Ride more populaires (at least 2 or 3). I like doing these rides for several reasons -- they take only the better part of one day to complete, I can get to the start and end points of many routes by transit, and I almost always feel so good when I'm done. Plus, I've proven to myself that they're doable (I rode five of these in 2007, finishing three within the time limit). This distance is just long enough to provide a real challenge for me, and short enough that I can still feel like I'm having fun on my bike. So I'll keep doing populaires, and look for other opportunities to ride this distance both in and out of RUSA-sanctioned events.
2. Try my hand at cyclocross (Racing single-speed class, because I'd be lapped in mere seconds in any other class, including my Master's age group). This may well be the only form of racing still reasonably open to me at my age. Even with Crohn's it could still be doable with a modicum of training. The races are short -- no more than 45 minutes to an hour each -- and in Portland's unbeliveably welcoming 'cross scene no one will care if I totally suck, as long as I hang in there and finish the course. The only downside would be whatever running I'd have to do with my bike over my shoulder. Running is not so much fun. But mud is.
a.the season is short -- weekly practices begin in mid summer and the season ends for the amateurs in November.
b. As one of my regular customers told me at the Bike Craft Fair a few weeks back, "you don't really have to train for 'cross. Just commute on your bike every day and you'll have almost enough fitness right there."
c. Relatively lower costs compared to other kinds of racing. Most other kinds of racing really require you to join a team and the events tend to have higher entry fees per race. They also require you to be FAR more serious about the whole enterprise. 'Cross racing requires you to have a sense of humor and, at least at local races like Cross Crusade, check some of your ego at the gate. Also, the local scene is much friendlier and less snobby than anything I've encountered in riding road time trials (the only other kind of racing I've done as an adult).
I have a bike that will serve well for the experiment (the Kona I recently obtained). And I'm sure that friends who already race 'cross will be full of unsolicited advice as the season approaches. (Rumor has it that a few of my co-workers would like to assemble a motley crew from our shop to race 'cross as a "team" next year. We'll see -- if it happens I might surprise myself and sign on.)
2a. You'll notice that riding a 200k brevet is not on my list of goals for 2009. There are several practical reasons for this:
a. Training for a ride this long requires more time and energy than I think I will realistically have;
b. I have a partner, friends and family who all want some of my free time and I cannot give them very much of that if I am serious about training for this distance;
c. The unpredictability of my health makes this distance something of a crapshoot.
The truth is that while I had an amazing day at Verboort there is NO guarantee that I can count on having that kind of day at a longer distance, doing a ride that would take me much farther from home. I honestly don't know if I want to wear myself out in quite that way.
Does deciding NOT to train for a 200k make me weak of character? I don't know the answer to that either. Perhaps it does. Or it just means I'm being realistic.
3. Ride my bike without resorting to Trimet so much. In 2007, when I trained for GYGIG and had a serious goal, I utilized Trimet (our transit system) less often in the months leading up to the ride. In 2008 I haven't been nearly as disciplined; I DID train for Livestrong but that was really the only serious training I did. The handful of 20-plus mile rides I did in advance of Verboort built on fitness I already had from commuting, and combined with a combination of excellent factors at that ride I was able to have a great day at Verboort. But Trimet is a temptation, a thing that invites me to be lazy, a real mental challenge. And I'd like to rely on it a little less next year.
3a. Participate in -- and promote -- more kinds of utilitarian bicycling, especially with my xtracycle. Simply put, in a time when gas prices will surely go up again (see recent reports on OPEC, who plan to cut petroleum production shortly), cargo biking is the future. I want to be there for it, and in it, with more trips to farmers' markets and maybe helping out with some Bike Moves with the folks over at SHIFT (http://www.shift2bikes.org); and perhaps helping stage a few events at the shop to encourage more people to think of their bikes as real vehicles and not just toys.
3b. Learn to figure out the fine line between planned rest and exhaustion from overriding. Aka "how to plan my riding a little better so I don't burn up". This has been the hardest thing to do on my own, without regular riding buddies who know how to balance riding and rest.
3c. Learn how to deal with my frustration when the weather is simply too ridiculous outside for me to ride. This has especially been a problem this week. My total mileage for this week is less than six miles, and that's only because I was determined to ride my bike on Tuesday when the ice patches gave way to some dry road areas. I still slipped and fell on the ice, was sore for days (and bruised now, as I type this); and yet I'm still bummed and even a little angry when I read about other people riding in the snow today and I wasn't out there on my bike. It is SO hard to live in a universe where it seems like most of the other inhabitants of that universe (in this case, bikeworld) are out there riding and you're not, even when you know it's just too risky to ride. I simply don't know enough bike-crazy people who are also sane and sensible, I guess. It's frustrating.
4. Take a few S24HO's (see http://www.rivbike.com for details), alone and with friends. Quick overnight bike-camping trips that are no more than a day's ride out of the city, to a state or county park or the back forty of someone's farm, and then a nice breakfast at a cafe on the way back into town. These trips require little planning and can usually be squeezed into a weekend without eating up vacation hours. And they can be lots of fun. I'd like to do some of these, as I didn't get to do any in 2008.
5. Pare down my stash. Yup, that's right; I'd like to pare down my personal stash of parts and accessories that have just been sitting around the house, and have more room ro work in when it comes to maintaining the fleet. I have lots of stuff I'll never be able to mount on a bike, and I'm sure it can be used elsewhere. So this winter I'll be going through my slightly-too-considerable stash and paring it down significantly. Some will wind up on ebay or craigslist; some will be donated to the CCC and some will become gifts to bikey pals. Stay tuned on this one.
Fellow bike-bloggers: Feel free to respond with your own velo-lutions lists for the coming year. What didn't you do with your bike that you'd like to in 2009? What did you do with your bike that you'd like to cut back on, or do differently?
Here's a list of folks I'll encourage with this idea:
Large Fella On A Bike
Formerly Floyd Speaks
Patch (aka MikeRaz)
Spokes of a Wheel
Ready To Ride
The Fabulous Jacquie Phelan (who probably does all the riding she already wants to, and totally does it her way, but feel free to consider the question at your blog anyway)
--and any of the nice folks over at Veloquent, the collective bike blog that I occasionally contribute to
You'll notice I haven't turned each of these names into a LINK. You know, that magical thing where you run your mouse over the person's name and the name automatically "lights up" in a different color and if you click on it you'll be magically taken to their Web site. I do not know how to do that, and cannot seem to understand the instructions that friends have shared with me. I think I need a sit-down, hand-holding tutorial on this one. Which is pathetic, because yesterday I managed to perform my first-ever plumbing repair (I replaced a section of plumbing pipe under our kitchen sink and now it doesn't leak anymore, and Sweetie thinks I'm some kinda rock star for this. I'm relieved enough that it's fixed that I won't argue.)
But computers are just harder, harder, harder for me to wrap my brain around. So if you're mentioned here, take the ball and run with it over at your blog if you want.
Tag: You're it.