Sunday, December 29, 2013

Looking Forward

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
whispering 'it will be happier'...” 
-Alfred Tennyson

It has been a good year.  A really good year.  I sit hear as the temps drop to -12, with only two days left of 2013 and take stock.  This year has been full of kind, loving friends--both old and new, almost 10,000 miles on my bikes, exploration of my surroundings and soul, and peace.

As I switch my schedule books over for the new year, I am giddy with what is to come.  The weekends are already filling up with amazing bike events and I have to slow myself down so they don't rush by to quickly.  So far these are the rides which have made their way into my book--mostly in pen, some in pencil (don't laugh, I'm old school).  

March kicks off the season with a rescheduled trip to Mallorca, Spain for some mountain riding.  Hauling my ass up 15-20 switchbacks seems nice as I sit here eating scones and drinking beer, however, in two months you may hear me cursing from a few thousand miles away.  At least the scenery will be nice while I pass out on the side of the road.

April brings a birthday ride with a good friend to Milwaukee.  We will essentially be doing two centuries back to back.  I had done this alone last year, but not this early.  At least one good friend and birthday celebrations will fuel me along the way.  I'm just so grateful I have cool women who are just as crazy as me!

April also brings the start of gravel road season.  Dairy Roubaix was my first gravel experience last year and I've been looking forward to it ever since.  The Schillings do such an amazing job with this event and I can't wait to see everyone again.

May is what I'll deem my crazy month.  I'm hoping to do the Bear 100 gravel ride, an event I was quite happy not to do last year since it was freezing rain and snow and everyone I knew suffered terribly from frozen hands and feet.  I can only hope for better conditions this year--otherwise, I'll have to believe misery loves company.  

May 1st is what everyone in Milwaukee knows as RW24 sign up day.  This is an event in itself and I plan to be there even earlier this year, hoping to get one of the coveted spots.

Finally, May is the start of the Triple Crown  with it's first ride being the hardest, the Arcadia Brute.  I, along with a few thousand others, will huff and puff my way up the coulees near the Wisconsin/Minnesota border.  I plan on starting this series with either the 100km or 150km.  There is not one ounce of desire in my body or mind to take on the 200km.

June is my month to work on speed.  Although I plan on hitting several rides with the Capital Brewery Cycling Club earlier in the season, my thought it to work on upping my pace with them, and by riding with the Mad City Velo crew, just so I don't fall apart on faster group rides.  Last year I realized I was really strong on long rides if I kept the pace around 17-18mph but turned into a pile of mush if the pace was held above 20mph.  Although I don't want to race again, it would feel great not to have someone feel the need to "bridge" me when I do ride paceline.  We'll see how this goes.  I haven't stepped into this territory for years.  

July and August bring my kind of weather.  Hot, sticky and fluid.  I love this stuff and thrive in it.  These months also bring some of the best events of the year, the second and third installments of the Triple Crown--Kickapoo Kicker and Dairyland Dare--as well as RW24 itself.  Add sitting on the back deck after long rides, drinking beer with friends, and there is a large part of me that wishes it could be July and August year round.  

When September finally rolls around, and oh I don't event want to think of this, I'll be off for at least one more gravel event, Skull-N-Bones 100.  I'm not going to jinx myself and say I'll be doing Heck of the North this year in hopes I'll actually make it.  We'll just have to see how that one plays out.

None of these rides would be possible to plan for without the help of the ride organizers and countless volunteers.  I must also thank my friends for planting so many great seeds and dragging me into their crazy world.  You all rock!  Here's to another year of play and self discovery!

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