Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in retrospect...

Wow... Long time, no blog!

Things got more than a little busy back in the summer, and I was definitely doing a lot more riding than writing about it at the time. Maybe not a bad thing, but I'll make a resolution to keep things here a little better updated in the coming year, provided connectivity permits. Sometimes I'm grateful that they even ran electricity lines out here to Scott, much less any kind of internet service.

Last year's resolutions, by the way, went pretty well. I set around four goals, and actually met most all of them:

1. Mileage: This resolution for 2008 was two-fold - to ride at least 4,000 miles, and to have zero weeks duirng the year where I didn't log a bike ride. As of last night, I had a hair over 6,600 miles logged on, and there are zero weeks in 2008 where I didn't ride. There was that one week back in Frozen February this year where I got in "only" 40 miles, but that was the low point. Just before gas prices shot out of sight last spring, I started bike commuting regularly to work, so it wasn't that much of an adjustment when $4 gas came. Now that the stuff is back down to $1.34, prices not seen in more than 8 years, I still prefer biking to riding around in the old red pickup.

2. Group rides: I did the Hotter 'n Hell 100 again this year, and came in less than 6 hours (5:52). Tour de Rock ran for 66 miles earlier in the summer, and I had the form to pull hard most of the way around, and completed that one with a 17+ mph average. And in one of the wilder one-day adventures so far this year, I did the whole Big Dam Bridge 100 course back in September. All in all I rode 4 organized century rides, but missed most of the Arky 100 (I worked one of the rest stops instead of riding), and a dose of stomach flu on Halloween kept me out of the Tour da Delta. One major deal was the "Hot Hundred" and "Hot Wheels" rides leading up to the Big Dam Bridge ride, which was a lot of fun. I'll do that again this coming summer, but will probably start a lot earlier, focused on the earlier centuries like Tour de Rock (supposed to go for a century in '09) and my perennial favorite, the Hotter 'n Hell.

3. Turning in my annual activity report to the League a couple of years ago, I did a bunch of classes and reached a bunch of folks... enough to earn one of the 102 free copies of the new "Traffic Skills 101" course books the League sent out just before Thanksgiving. And where we had a total of 5 LCIs in the state at this time last year, we now have 17! I even got to sit in on and help out a little at the first LCI training seminar held here in Arkansas back the first of December, and learned just about as much as the new folks did there.

4. The one goal I missed was the one to "ride a race somewhere." About the closest I got to this was riding the course for the CARVE Crosswind Classic back in March, but I was a spectator rather than a participant. I did eventually sign up with US Cycling for a Cat. 5 racing license, but never toed the start line with a number pinned to my butt... at least not at a race. I did some alleycat runs and am getting a little better at sprinting and breaking out the hurt stick from time to time, but riding a race is still on the "to do" list for 09.

For next year (2009), I'm making pretty much the same goals:

1. To ride like a flahute through the winter months and onward, with no weeks in 2009 where I don't ride... at least a little bit. Keep up the commuting, enjoy and enhance the mileage, my real life permitting. I resolve to ride my mountain bike more... and to bring that joy to more young folks. And to enjoy riding for the simple pleasures of riding.

2. The group ride schedule is much the same: I plan to do the HHH again in '09 and try to match my time for '09. The hundred mile course for the TdR sounds like a good goal, and that will be my early summer aimpoint, with a warm-up (at least) down at the Tour de Hoot in McGehee. At McGehee I at least intend to make it as far as the Arkansas City stop, with the old courthouse and the oatmeal cookies. I'll leave my options open for the BDB ride... I'll ride it this coming year, but plans are to forego a lot of the volunteer work I put into that this past year and take some time to enjoy the ride more. And not to have flats.

3. 2009 is a big year for the bike education programs, I'm planning on a big push in North Little Rock to not only benefit the local riders, but also push the city farther along toward Bike-Friendly Community status. With a new crop of eager young(er) LCIs in town, I will likely work more on advocacy issues, and some of the more esoteric courses.

4. I still need to ride that race... If I can hang on to Resolution #1 above, I'll challenge myself to pin on a number and ride the Crosswind Classic, provided they do that one again in March...

So, there we go... more resolutions... now the art of the deal is to stick to them.