Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Great Year of Bicycling

As 2008 draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on my accomplishments over the last 12 months. It has truly been a wonderful year. It started with me setting some ambitious goals, and finished with me exceeding them.

My principle goal for the year was the Death Ride in July. This initially seemed like a lofty target. But from the moment of decision, I devoted myself to methodically training for it. I did plenty of research by reading reports and descriptions, plus I talked with several Death Ride veterans about it. The training culminated with my test ride of the actual course one month before the event. The end result was that I would complete it comfortably and with no problems.

(This whole process allowed me to reflect on the topic of setting and achieving goals. I will write a separate essay on my philosophy on this.)

The other idea I had for the year was to attempt a double century. Covering 200 miles in a single day seemed beyond my reach considering my conditioning and experience one year ago.

I decided to attempt the Davis Double, which is a relatively local, medium difficulty double century in May (before the Death Ride). Although I did plenty of research, I did no specific training for it. Before it, the longest distance I had ridden was 120 miles.

This was a distinctly different approach than my Death Ride training. The reason for this was that my goal was to successfully finish the Death Ride, but merely to attempt to finish the Davis Double. Although I would make every attempt to finish it, I would not be disappointed if I could not. My goal was simply to test my limits.

As it turned out, the double century was within my capabilities. This year's Davis Double would be considered a difficult double century due to the 100°F plus temperatures. I struggled, but I finished. And what a feeling of accomplishment I had!

With the confidence of knowing I could do a double century, I decided I should make an attempt at achieving a California Triple Crown (finishing three California double centuries in a single year).

After the Death Ride, the next double century I could ride in the local area was the Mt. Tam Double in August. This was rated as a very difficult ride, so my goal again was to attempt to finish. Again, I surprised myself by finishing, although I struggled to do it within the time limit.

With that accomplishment, my goal was to definitely achieve the triple crown. I did the Knoxville Double in September. This time I would have been disappointed had I not finished. It was not totally easy, but I did it. And was overjoyed that I could share the "triple crown winner" designation with 472 other people this year.

Besides the rides I mentioned, I did a couple other centuries (Mt. Hamilton Challenge, Giro di Peninsula) and my first brevet (Chualar 200K). I also used my newly acquired breakaway bicycle on my travels to Seattle and Austin. Besides the organized rides, I did plenty of rides with friends, and many good ones solo.

Besides my drive and determination, the other key to my successful 2008 was the love and support of my family and friends. I thought of you all when my lungs were on fire and my legs were begging for rest, and each of you were in my heart each time I crossed the finish line. With you behind me, no ride could be a failure.

I have not yet set my goals for 2009. My time will be much more restricted, so the possibilities are limited. I will definitely do more centuries since I should still be in shape for those. I would like to do another ride in the Sierra (Climb to Kaiser). If things work out, I may attempt another triple crown.

1 comment:

ravi said...

congrats on a very good year ! A triple crown and the death ride is a nice feather in that crown !