The difference 8 years makes…

Before I get into this post too far, I need to point something out.  Miles are not everything!

Unless you are a cyclist, this may not mean much, so let me try to explain.  I keep track of my miles, because I am a math geek and like numbers.  I really like knows how far I travel on any given ride (even the 1.5 mile ride to the store today), how far I travel each year and since 2008 when I started riding.  Its fun for me, and it helps me make sure I am on track for big rides each year.

Much more important than the miles  are the experiences, adventures and thoughts, you have during these miles, not to mention the stuff you see while riding.  I love all of these.

All this being said, I hit 3000 miles for the year last week, and that just made me smileTake a close look as this picture.

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Here is our hero less than a year before he ‘became’ a cyclist, riding in hiking books, with a baseball cap under the helmet, and wearing REI garages sales gloves (OK I still have the gloves!) This was my REI Novara bike.  I had that bike for 10 years.  Long enough that the tires starting getting dry rot.

In those 10 years, all my rides combined, totaled just over 3000 miles.  Why? because back then I was trying to earn the name Mountainstroh by trying to climb Mt Rainier. Sadly, I just never made it to the top. (Here I am at 12,500 feet, disappointment cleaver, the highest I have ever been.  The body just does not go higher, it shuts down)

Rainier

After my last attempt in July, the decision was made, I needed a new ‘thing’.  I was, and am, deathly afraid of getting old and fat.  I needed  something that would challenge me, and keep me working out. From the ice and snow of a mountain, came the decision to ride!  Christmas of 2007, I got the new bike!

The end of my first century, notice the thumbs up!

The end of my first century, notice the thumbs up!

OK, lets check, new bike yes… but really, tube socks and white sneakers???  It did get me through my fist century ride, The Flying Wheels Summer Century.  As well as my first Seattle to Portland.end of stp

Can’t seem them, but yes still tennis shoes…

And the complete Oregon coast from Astoria to Crescent City, CA

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As much as I loved to hike, and reach a summit, and as much as I tried to be a runner, it turns out that the bike was the right place for me! At the end of 2008, I had 3622 miles, but more importantly, I saw things like this from the bike!

Yaquina Head Light House, Newport

Yaquina Head Light House, Newport

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Nurse Log outside Tillamook, OR

Nurse Log outside Tillamook, OR


I had thoughts of more and more miles every year! However, things happen.  In 2009 Michelle and I, who had been friends forever, started dating and getting serious.  In 2010, we were married.

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Even though we loved to be together, she made sure she got me on the bike as much as possible, but 2009 had 1975 miles, 2010 had 1346, 2011 ended at 1554.

Michelle, though, started hearing me complain more and more about getting chubby.  Lack of miles and her good food made the Levis start to be tight! She started pushing me to pick more rides each year, and we started making them part of vacations!

Since then I’ve ridden Seattle to Portland in one day, not once, but twice!  The second time we recovered at Canon Beach and just sat

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We’ve been to Crater Lake and spent the first day discovering it together, the second I rode!

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

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Last year. we had the week in Lincoln City after the Reach the Beach!

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This year, was also the RAMROD, a local for me, but we made Michelle’s Halfathon in Santa Rosa our extra event this year.

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With her extra push, I have been above 300o miles ever since. I am also geared a bit better now!  No more tube socks!

tired

More importantly though, again with Michelle’s help, I am flat enjoying myself even more.  I stop for more pictures, and, with the help of this blog (which she encouraged me to do!) , I pay closer attention to what I see.  The miles are still important, because if I don’t do them I can’t finish the big rides I enjoy every year, but the true accomplishments are the joy and memories the riding gives me!

Like the wind!

 

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8 Responses to The difference 8 years makes…

  1. sarburch says:

    Yeah for joys and memories! And yeah for that Michelle of yours! She’s managed to coach you into quite the man! Please give her a pat on the back. Job, well done, Michelle! And, Tony, you too. 🙂

  2. rebecak says:

    Love, love, love this!!

  3. I am hoping you will dial it down a bit (because I am afraid you are going to hurt yourself by pushing for too many miles!) and just ride for the enjoyment!

    • But I have the most fun when I ride the farthest :). However I am done with 200 miles in one day, and no way am I doing RAMROD again.

      Shoot my injuries seem to happen when I am OFF the bike 🙂

      But I promise to be careful

  4. Mentally doing high fives, punching the air and other stuff I should be to old for. Well done! Only started really cycling seriously when I retired, wasn’t even on the horizon! Great isn’t it!

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