5,000 Miles - 29 December 2014
My Bike at the Sea Level Sign - Furnace Creek, Death Valley National Park, California
This image was taken just at the end of a bicycle ride from the Furnace Creek village to Badwater, the lowest point in the 48 States. I have this image here because somewhere on the ride back from Badwater--when still below sea level--I crossed 5,000 miles bicycle riding for 2014. This time last year I wouldn't have thought in my wildest dreams I would've crossed the 5,000 mile threshold. Back when I was riding all the time 15 years ago the most I had done in a single year was 4,000 miles--at least that's what I recall because my records aren't so good.
About the time I went to Korea for a business trip couple months ago I already knew I had 4,000 miles made. I then thought to myself, "wow, if I ride a little bit longer I might be able to make 5,000 for the year." Well, back then I had to average about 120 miles per week to make the goal. That might not seem like much but 120 miles per week was about the most I'd done for any single week all year. Well, I did it with room to spare because of a few weeks at above 150 miles in the week.
If you couldn't tell, I'm patting myself on the back for making the goal. How did I get here? This year I rode three months each with more than 500 miles. One month I only rode 420 miles. But, that month I spent 9 days going to and from and working in Korea--i.e. no riding the bike. The very next month after that, I did more than 600 miles when I figured out I could make 5,000 for the year.
The cool part about all this riding is I got to visit a few really cool places on my bike, some I've frequented before but never on the bike. First was Taos back in March. Next was Monument Valley. Just last month I rode the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Most recently, the ride where I passed 5,000 for the year, I was riding in Death Valley National Park making my way back from Badwater. What I feel it's been a real privilege having seen what I've seen and been healthy enough to experience it mostly on my terms.
No, I'm not fast. I doubt I ever will be a fast rider. In fact, I probably am looking at being slower instead of faster in my future years. That's the nature of life, isn't it? I'm more than 50 so such progress is inevitable. Still, we do the best we can with the gifts we're given. Can't do any more than that, can we? At least, that's what I tell myself.
Next year I'm not so sure I want to set a goal higher than the 5,000 miles I got this year. I hesitate because the pursuit of the goal might make the journey less fun than it was this year. Truly, it was a blast huffing and puffing all 5,000 miles--even that time when I low slided through a turn and got a healthy dose of road rash. I certainly don't want to do anything that makes working out and living life less enjoyable.
I think it's a great time to be out there on a bike. I hope 2015 is just as fun and exciting as 2014 was.
Happy New Year!