It wasn't the plan starting out, but I think the last day of the year ended up being one of the hardest days on the bike for the whole year. I put new parts on my Cycle Cross, and wanted to try them out.This included Salsa Woodchipper bar which gives, I think better control in off road conditions then the standard drop bars. Combine that with new Shimano Tiagra brake and shifters which add more hand room and comfort. I wear a XXL glove and this combination gives more space and hand room in the cockpit then the smaller road version allows and the ergonomics are also improved.
Also I added bigger gears in the back end going from a 26 tooth gear to 32 teeth for aging leg engines and better hill climbing. I started the morning out with testing the trannie and failed on the hard climbs, I ran out of gear, traction and horse power all at the same time.
My 'skinnie' 42 CC tires sunk down into sticky peanut butter like gravel and lime trail and roads. Standing on the pedals at 6 mph was going to be the norm for today. I figured, might as well just dig in, and get a good work out.
So I rode on, me and the Cycle Cross machine. 4 hours later I am sweating, removing clothes, and criss crossing back and forth trying to find something to ride on without sinking into the muck. Riding on the outside grassy edge often seemed the best spot I could find to keep rolling.
As you can see some of my fans often gather along my route and cheer me on....:-)
Out of fluids, I needed to swing into the small town of Farley where I knew where there was a pop machine for the Mayberry price of 75 cents a can.
It was there I made the decision to get off the gravel and dirt and ride back to home on county pavement.
An hour later it was going good, I was making good time, and thinking I would get back before lights out. Hands starting to get cold with only light glove liners on I reached into my windbreaker pocket for my
super-duper best gloves ever I packed away earlier, and ONLY HAD ONE!!!!
Sun going down, hands cold, I needed to back track and find my lost glove. Simply a stupid mistake, zipper up your pockets you are storing equipment in. Little mistakes can bring to a halt, rides that might be a year's plan and the race you worked so hard for.
Well one hour later there was my glove, laying in the curb of the first town I rode into to that 75 cent can of pop. Getting dark and not wanting to ride county highways due to fast moving vehicles and New Year's eve revelry, I headed to a combination of seldom used gravel roads and lime trail. Sticky muddy, gravel roads and trail that I decided to get off of over two hours ago.
I phone Birgit my lady and warn her I might be looking (pleading) for a "Sag" ride, cause I am running out of gas, out of daylight, and a couple of hours from home yet. I can't find a place in the road where the tires will roll, everything is like sticky muck.
Almost darkness totally drops in, the moon tries to help me out, but it is frosty fog out and hazy, and the moon cast little light. But thank you anyways Man in the Moon. Now your eyes start playing tricks on you and shadows start becoming something your afraid of. You tell yourself that that is not a wolf off to the side, but just a stump as you ride by and see that it was really a large rock. I turn on my helmet light but it is not enough to find the right spot on the road for my tires. As I am mounting my headlight, my daughter Melissa calls, chats, and tells me about her marathon training, and we shortly there after good bye each other, both knowing I have to to get going. . That picked up my spirits. I didn't want to call for a ride, I wanted to pedal for what ever it took and arrive home under my own power. I can't explain why, that is, but in some strange sense that was how I could win, by not stopping, not cutting this journey short and calling for a ride. But to keep going, finish what I started. Maybe this is primal, some strange inner sense of survival. Maybe as a human species we don't have to hunt for our food, to survive anymore, and this satisfies that drive in some other way.
And besides, I don't recall Columbus calling for a ride 3/4s across the Atlantic Ocean and bailing out when the going got tough.
Hallelujah, I arrive home, zonked, tired, thirsty, and hungry, perfect way to end the year.
Most people are saying "HAPPY NEW YEAR" to everyone. Having happiness won't change for you by me saying "Happy New Year" We are primarily a product of choices and how we choose to deal with the things that come at us. I am always inspired by those of you that get dealt some tough blows and choose not to surrender, but to persevere, and play the best game you can with the cards you were dealt.
Happy New Year everybody ......