We're into the final few days of 2011. As I get older, it seems that the years seem to pass more and more quickly. I think I am turning into my grandmother :). It's natural at this time of year, to look back and reflect on the past twelve months - the good, the bad and the in between. Here are a few highlights:
With all the snow we had in the winter, Mike and I put in A LOT of hours on the skate skis, as well as some time on the cruisers in the woods. It was awesome to do something different from all the riding. It did, however, mean that we spent even LESS time in Bethel - the conditions were so good in MA, it just didn't make sense for us to make the drive up to ME most weekends. We also discovered biathlon - which I have fallen completely in love with!
We celebrated Opie and Ellie's first birthday, and one year adoption. All the celebrating was followed by an admonishment from the vet, and a diet plan for the poor kitties. They continue to wreak havoc - unfurling toilet paper, chewing on boxes, eating donuts out of the box (not kidding), and chewing the Christmas decorations. It's a darned good thing they are so cute!
I fell out of and back into and back out of love with road racing. While I scaled back on the total number of races, I had some success, some fun, and some disappointment. 2012 is likely to see even less road racing for me.
I continued to see improvement at the weekly TT. In fact, this season I hit a PR of 23:03 for our 9.75 mile course, making me the 5th fastest woman to race the course. I was ecstatic at first, but then realized that I need just 4 seconds to get into the elusive 22 minute range. Worse, I THEN realized that I need 22 seconds to become the third fastest woman... Goals. It's all about goals :) Good thing that Santa brought us some wind tunnel time.
Mike started a Junior Development team this year, and I helped. I think this is one of the greatest accomplishments of the year, at least for me. What started out as 2-3 kids who wanted nothing more than to ride together, turned into a team of 10 who trained together weekly, raced together and have really bonded. Despite some issues staying upright (and two concussions), the team had a very successful year on the road, and then transitioned to 'cross - something NONE of the kids had done before! Thanks to generous donations from NEBC members and Mike's time and know-how, we managed to get 5 bikes out to the kids and they raced full seasons, falling in love with the sport that Mike and I love so much. I'm very much looking forward to next season with the team, and hoping we can all manage to keep the rubber side down.
I ended my tenure as president of NEBC. Since 2005 I have been the Women's 3/4 team captain, a BOD member and president. It was time for me to move aside for someone new to bring their ideas to the table. Part of me was sad to let go of something that I poured a lot of time, energy and passion into, but it was the right decision.
We added a new room to the house - a three season sun room. We're really excited about being able to use the room next year - it got a bit too chilly for us to use it this year after it was finished.
And then there was the 'cross season. I had some highs and some lows during a "scaled back" season of 22 races. The lows included some less than stellar performances in the Verge races this season (the competition was tough, and my head wasn't in the game). While it was fun to see my friends every weekend, I just couldn't motivate myself in those races. I did have some success in the smaller races, including my best performances of the year in Canton and Plymouth (despite nearly crashing spectacularly).
The biggest success for me, however, came in racing my SS CX bike. I had a win and a couple of other podiums in the Zanconato SSCX series, and ended up winning the women's series outright at the Ice Weasels (despite being told by someone that I was taking the race too seriously). The series win was followed up the next weekend at the New England Regional Championships where I took the Women's SS CX title. The season was long (we started racing CX in August this year, and went all the way through the weekend before Christmas), and again, part of me is sad that it is over - I miss my friends from CX, and in a way, the routine of racing every weekend. Again, looking ahead to next year.
I am really looking forward to 2012 - lots of goals to achieve and adventures to be had. For the past couple of years, I have really not been excited about racing my bike, but now, with the season just barely put to rest, I am looking forward to and planning for the year ahead with great anticipation - the training, the racing, the camaraderie of my fellow cyclists, and the time spent with my favorite riding partner. I'm hoping for great things, but more importantly, fun times.