For the second straight year, a year of great riding was marred by the passing of a friend. I reached 5,000 miles in October but slowed towards the end due to tendonitis or a torn meniscus or both. But then found the will to suffer through a cold December to reach 6,000 miles.
In order of chronology, here are my top ten rides:
(1) Riding in Pennsylvania - Abandoned Turnpike and Ligonier - Riding with the 4K for Cancer has been fun the past three years and this year's adventure through the tunnels at Breezewood and on to Ligonier would be no exception. On both days I rode in small groups with Jamie Roberts who would die on the road in Kentucky 10 days later.
(2) Ride the Rockies (Multiple Entries) - My second time and it is a blast riding in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I missed the first day due to a wedding then extended by a day to ride over Berthoud Pass to Winter Green, Colorado, with Bradley Allen. But it was a somber ride as we had just received the news of Jamie's death.
(3) Stelvio Pass - I went to Italy with Trek Travel to ride in the Dolomites. I did not know much about these Italian climbs and I loved them all, none more than the 48 switchbacks one must navigate to climb over Stelvio Pass.
(4) Three Country Ride - Imagine a ride starting in Switzerland, going into Germany, then to France, back to Germany and ending in Switzerland. I did that in July with friend, Ben Zahler.
(5) Crater Lake and Alex - I planned to ride around Crater Lake, Oregon, and to ride with 12 year-old, Alex Shepherd. I achieved one of those. I rode around Crater Lake (it was awesome) but was at least able to visit with the Shepherd family even if we didn't ride.
(6) Home Sweet Home - I'm about as native Pennsylvanian as one can be except that my grandmother was born in Oregon in 1907 (and then moved back to Pa.). She never returned but I did, doing a 50 mile ride in and around Sweet Home, Oregon.
(7) Washington - I promised Chey Hillsgrove that if he did the 4K again I would meet him at the finish. On their next-to-last day, I met the 4K in Port Townsend, Washington, and rode 45 miles with them as part of a 70-mile day. And I went over 24,906 miles cancer-free (should that be a separate entry?).
|24,906.25 miles - Cancer-free|
(8) Mt Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb - My seventh straight year up the mountain, I came that close to not going. But I was encouraged by my daughter, Ashley. I didn't push myself, we had the worst weather in seven years, but I can't say that I really suffered. All that riding in Colorado and Italy must have been good for something. And we saw a moose. Or two.
(9) Livestrong Challenge - Great weather and great company, I didn't ride 100 miles but it wasn't about the miles. It was about riding for Jake The Hero Grecco and Alex Shepherd.
(10) Ride of Silence - I learned on June 14 that Jamie Roberts was killed and as I rode with Bradley Allen up Berthoud Pass in Colorado I thought about organizing a Ride of Silence for Jamie. That came to fruition on October 26, two days after Jamie's 25th birthday.
I am thankful for every ride, for every day of health. I don't know what 2015 holds outside trying to organize a ride for to raise money for children's cancer research. This I do know: the rides that become my "Top Ten" are rarely expected, rather something happens on the ride that makes them so memorable.
Peace and safe riding!