Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: The View from the Dorkiscope

As we prepare to throw out the 2009 calendars (adieu, Ms. December!) and peruse the detritus of calendar stock at the local Walgreen's for 2010 (I'm going with the "I Can Has Cheeseburger Please Cat"), we often succumb to our basic human nature and reflect fondly on the feasts, foibles, and f--k-ups of the year gone by. In this way we revert to our simian ancestry and act like chimpanzees flinging poop at our enemies and chewing the faces off of our adopted human mothers, although the poop we fling is metaphorical and much more smelly, and the loss of face is orientally philosophical, but can be arrested by judicious injections of blow-fish poison.

End-of-year reflections, however, are like the view that cyclists capture in the little mirror we stick on our helmet or hang off the arm of our glasses. It's a small piece of the whole, usually irrelevant to the world at large, and makes us look like uber-dorks. But, like the view from that jiggling dorkiscope, a quick look will give us an idea of what's coming up -- typically a clueless Hummer who is not ceding a single inch of their God-given road -- while a long look leaves us tumbling into the ditch of despair.

Here, then, is my glance into the Dorkiscope of 2009:

January was cold. We rode a couple of permanents, and I turned 50. After 31 days, it ended. Yippee.

February was not quite as cold, but windy. We rode the Murfreesboro 200K and a couple more permanents, and I started training for the races of April (or maybe this was when Max Watzz first manifested himself).

March had more race training, a couple more permanents, and my first crash of the year. I hate any year when I have to number my bike crashes.

April was when the training paid off. My teams won the Heart of the South 500 and the Nashville Super 80. RandoGirl emerged, thanks in part to her training for the Nashville Super 80. The weather turned better.

May was wet. RandoGirl and I did 3-State-3-Mountain in the rain, and the Little River Century started wet but turned better. The RandoDaughter graduated high school, and that was good. The month ended with me helping support the 600K here, but still finding time in the middle of it to ride a 200K permanent.

June we went to Ireland. We had a great time, but didn't bike much. (Maybe we had a good time because we didn't bike much.) We came back to a very hot Tennessee, where I melted on the Cherohala Challenge and rode with a TNABA athlete on the Harpeth River Ride. (It's weird to look back at how hot it was then, when it's so cold now -- it almost makes you miss upper-90-degree temperatures.) We also had a great time watching Kevin Kaiser show the RAAM racers what a randonneur can do.

July we cheered for Lance at the Tour, rode a couple more permanents, and basically enjoyed some great weather.

August had more permanents. RandoGirl and I bought a new tandem, and the RandoDaughter went off to college.

September started with an excellent Bundrick's Revenge 200K, followed by some nice weather, followed by some wet weather, and concluded with a mostly laid-back Six Gaps.

October was great. RandoGirl and I did a fast Sequatchie Valley Century, then I rode 250 miles at the Little River 24-Hour Challenge before crawling into the van to sleep. RandoGirl and I finished October with a 550-mile self-supported tour down the Natchez Parkway -- a vacation that was so much fun that within a week of our return I began planning a week-long tour down the Oregon coast. Maybe in 2011 ...

November saw my second crash of the year. I still managed to enjoy a couple of permanents, in spite of the quickly cooling temperatures and missing skin in places.

December ends today. I hit 10,000 miles on the first Saturday, and then rode only 600 more miles during the rest of the month. Fortunately, 150 miles a month is enough to keep the legs strong ... hopefully.

What's the plan for 2010? I'm going to let Max Watzz out a bit more. In order to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011, I'll need to do a full series (200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K) this year, and probably a fleche in April and our 1000K in September. In October, RandoGirl and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary with a cycling trip in Sicily -- fewer miles than the Trace trip, better food and lodging, and hopefully just as much fun.

I hope that you and yours have had as great a 2009 (with fewer crashes), and will enjoy an even better 2010. As always, thanks for reading, and may all your rides be safe, beautiful, and longer than you used to think you could go.


  1. as always i'm inspired by yer madness ... keep it up in 2010 ... fewer crashes, por favor ... happy new year, man ... mr. ree

  2. Love your postings Mr. Rando.

  3. er should I say MASTER Rando!