In my off cycling life, I am a corporate trainer. I am the Claims Cowboy, training the new claims department hires at the Mighty P, a Pacific Northwest Insurance company. I like to say I am molding The Mighty P’s youth in MY image, but that scares people!)
When I was a young trainer, I had someone tell me some valuable advice: When it comes to teaching, steal unmercifully. Meaning, if you are in a class and see a technique or a game or activity that works well, steal it, use it and make it yours!
I have found this applies to blogging as well! If I see something someone does, and I like it, I pounce! This is one of them.
One of the blogs I follow is the Bohemian Lifestyle. Earlier this week, she posted one picture or video per month to help remember the year with the most important event of that month. I thought I’d give it a try, though I doubt I will limit it to one per month!
Sadly, the year started in the worst possible way. Just a couple of weeks into it I lost a great friend and one of the best bosses I ever had Claire Korman. I was in Spokane training when it happened. She was recovering from major complications after heart surgery. She seemed to be doing better, when suddenly it was over.
We all know 2016 has not been a good year in terms of people who died. But, on my ride last night it hit me. She has been able to meet David Bowie, George Michael and Carrie Fisher. As a child of the 80s and a science fiction fan from WAY back, her heaven has gotten better as the year went on.
This month found me, on many weekend days, in Starbucks enjoying coffee and reading (yes I know it is a tough gig!) Michelle was in training for the Corvallis Half Marathon. I would drive her to a starting point at the distance she required, and meet her at the end. I tracked her with her phone, and as she got closer, I would start walking to meet her with ice tea! Team work in action!
Of course no February is complete without the Chilly Hilly! 3000 of my best friends and I boarded the ferry to Bainbridge and rode 33 miles of hills in the cold, rain and wind! The perfect way to kick off the Northwest Cycling season!
AND, as a pre anniversary get away, we went to the Willows lodge for a weekend of relaxing, reading, message (for Michelle) room service and wine! PERFECT as always!
March is of course the month REI dividends come out, and with mine I got the GoPro!! I am no expert, far from it, but I have truly gotten some amazing shots and some pretty darn cool video using it. It came along for all the adventures for the rest of the year. Thanks, as always, to Michelle who keeps telling me to buy the stuff I want! She is married to a cheap SOB!
In addition, March ended the rainiest Seattle winter ever! And yes, being Seattle that means a LOT of water fell on us!!!
Two big events happened in April. The first and most important was our 6th Anniversary! And what do we do for the day of the anniversary, we did a 10 K across the brand new 520 floating bridge! 6 miles was nuthin for her, but it was my longest walk in years. Pretty sure I slowed her down!
Later that month, these three friends from college came together to help Kim (on the left) kick off her 50 miles for 50 (she turned 50 last December) It was unseasonably hot, and these ladies rocked it! (I did my first ever ‘riding herd’ on the bike keeping tabs on all three and taking photos, it was fun!)
May was just plain fun! Michelle and I went to Portland so I could ride with Joe Kurmaskie, the Metal Cowboy, to celebrate his new book being released ( A Guide to Falling Down in Public Seriously, if you haven’t read it, click on the title and get an autographed copy from Joe, VERY worth it!)
Afterwards Michelle and I tool off for most of a week in Cannon Beach OR. We relaxed, walked on the beach, I did a long ride along the coast, ate some great food and, even though Michelle was suffering with dental surgery recovery, we had a great time! Nothing helps recovery like Tillamook Ice Cream for lunch!!
I also took my bike with me to teach in Spokane. In doing so, I added a new state, Idaho, to the list of states I have ridden in. It was a gorgeous after work ride to Post Falls. Spokane has done an excellent job with the Centennial trail! ALMOST makes me want to have to go there again this summer…. almost.
June was a month… The Manchild graduated! Not only from High School, but with a AA from Highline Community College at the same time. He was accepted in Western Washington University, following in his big brothers foot steps. His big brother was accepted into the University of Washington Grad School for Genome Studies. We have 2 smart kids!
The boys and I did something we hadn’t done in years, a guys day trip! We hopped the ferry and went into Olympic National Park to Hurricane Ridge. It was fun hanging out with the both of them before they started getting VERY busy in their own lives.
This was the summer of adventure! The Manchild, Michelle and I went zip-lining together on Camano Island. It was a blast! Later, Michelle and I road tripped to Crystal Mountain to take the gondola to the highest elevation restaurant in the state. It really is fun doing things as a family, but I love the adventures Michelle and I have, just the two of us, even more!
This was also the month of the ride where I had to be rescued. Rookie mistake, I did not have what I needed to change a tire… I started pushing the bike 8 miles back to the ferry across the Hood Canal Bridge. Luckily, Aaron, another cyclist saw me. He crossed the bridge, turned around and came back to help me! That man rocks!
This was the last month before the Manchild went off to school. I decided, again with Michelle’s urging, he and I should go somewhere. So off to Ocean Shores it was! I learned that weekend I should NEVER be in charge of picking a hotel…
We ate a lot, saw a whale, walked on the beach, played putt-putt golf, and played chess. It was the most time he and I had spent together, just the two of us, in years! AND we didn’t get on each others nerves!
This was also the month of the only big organized ride I did this year, the RSVP. Two days. 180 miles from Seattle to Vancouver BC! I am lucky. When I ride herd on Michelle’s half marathons, I ride about 15 miles total. When she takes care of me, she has to drive FOREVER! I love seeing her at the finish line waiting for me!
We spent a couple days in Vancouver afterwards to relax and have fun. It was a good get away and a fun ride! The border guard coming back though said. “You made her come all the way up here to get you?? I woulda made you ride back as well!”
There are SO many pictures I could have shared here, I held back. But this was the Oregon coast. Rob and I started in Astoria and pedaled, ALWAYS SOUTH, to Crescent City California! Michelle and Kim were our excellent and beautiful sherpas. Each evening the hotel room was checked into, the cars unpacked and they rode herd on us to make sure we ate and got to bed early. This was 8 days of gorgeous views, long climbs (double humps!) excellent downhills and just plain fun. Rob had never done anything like this, and he rocked it!
That wasn’t the only thing though. Michelle and I were there to see Kim reach her 50th mile and Rob’s daughter Kourtney do her first half marathon! We time the end of the bike trip to give us plenty of time to be there for them. Damn proud of these ladies!
October was all about the weather! The rains kicked in hard and the rivers reached flood stage. Michelle and I road tripped to Snoqualmie Falls to check them out at high water! The roar is amazing! I love going there at high water.
Then, an epic windstorm was forecasted to hit. The Mighty P went into battlemode, getting everyone ready to help when it hit! Michelle and I knew we would be called on to help as well, so the day the storm was to hit in the evening, we took off for supplies!
We hit Woodinville for wine. The ladies at Chandlers were ready with flashlights, emergency power and plenty of wine! We can home loaded for bear! AND, it never hit. It was fun though! We ended up having an excellent weekend together just hanging out, oh and sipping wine!
Hands down, the best part of the November was Thanksgiving at Langley. We took off Tuesday at noon, and spent Wednesday and Thanksgiving just hanging out. We walked around the town, had great food and wine (there is a pattern here I am noticing). Thanksgiving was all day snacks. It was a fun, relaxing, and romantic time and our first ever Thanksgiving with just the two of us!
December rolled around with a twist, I had to make a trip to Nashville for work. It added a new state to my travel list, but sadly I couldn’t wrangle a bike ride. I had dreaded going, and spending a week with coworkers, but in the end it wasn’t near as bad as I thought.
Michelle and I started a new tradition! We spent the night at the Westin Hotel before the day of the Jingle Bell run. Yep there was wine and food, and a holiday carousel! Love it!
Finally, we gathered the help of others to give a needy kid a new bike! It was honestly my most Christmassy Christmas since I was a kid. This next photo was the best part of Christmas day when Michelle put on her Hello Kitty jams she got from Abby.
Yep, 2016 was a hard year for many reasons. But doing this post showed me that there were MANY good times as well!
I love you Michelle, thanks for a great year!