Monday, December 30, 2013

The End

I am a voracious reader, but still am sad and even melancholy to a degree when I reach the end of a good novel. I'm always left wondering what happened to the characters next, even if the author managed to tie everything up well before the ending.

As we end 2013, I am, as always, left wondering where the heck the year went. I am also melancholy over the year gone by, but able to revel in the adventures we had. It, has, without a doubt, been one of the best years ever. Here are a few of the highlights.
Day 1 Worlds - MUD!
  • We went to Louisville where Mike managed to best the worst racing conditions I have EVER seen, and finish very strong in an ice/mud bog. The trip was full of challenges besides the conditions, but we weathered it together, and managed with a little help from our friends.
  • Mike "retired" from the corporate world at the same time as we were leaving for Worlds. It was the best decision ever. He is much happier now - working on home projects, some projects for friends and following his real passions (which, by the way, NEVER included software development). I told him that he isn't allowed to go back to work in a corporate environment - ever :)
  • We went to Allentown, PA to compete at MTB Nationals in July. It was the hottest week of the season, with temps over 100 degrees, and full on humidity. I rode a course that scared the pants off of me, and watched in wonder as Mike fought back from not one but two mechanicals early in the race to still land on the podium. His determination inspires me to never give up, and to always give every endeavor my very best.
Playing bikes with friends at Winding Trails
  • We focused more on MTB racing this summer. I had mixed results early in the season, but ended the season much stronger, managing to win the state championships as well as coming away with a Root 66 Series victory. I was inspired to see so many more women out racing this season - at one race there were 19 Cat 1 women out! I truly hope to see the sport grow even more for the women in the coming year. The competition is strong, and it is always great fun to be out playing bikes with my friends on the weekends.
  • I did ONE road race this season. Bikeway Source/Bell Lap Racing was fielding a master's 45+ team at the Purgatory road race, and I was convinced to line up with the master's men and give it a go. All was well for the first 3/4 of a lap, and then it was TT/chase mode for me. Those old guys? Yeah - they're stinking FAST!
  • We started and grew a new race team this season. While we started small with Mike and I and a few racers from Bell Lap Racing, we have now grown to a team of about 20, including a U23 contingent, some new women, and a slew of FOGs (fast old guys). I am really excited about the team in the coming year - we're planning some world domination :)
  • Mike and I bought a small, rustic camp in Kirby, VT - a scant 8.5 miles to the Kingdom Trails office! We had been looking at properties in the Northeast Kingdom for awhile, and had even had an offer accepted on a two bedroom log home (that fell through due to the sellers, which turned out to be a blessing). After deciding we weren't going to look anymore, the perfect listing fell into our laps. We have already spent one vacation there, and have plans for many more adventures on the nearby dirt roads and trails.
  • We had an awesome visit with my parents and niece this summer, with them visiting all three of our houses! I took Faith on a hike up Mount Will in Bethel - despite her wondering just how far we were going, and if we were there yet, she did awesome, and we had a great time together. We also got to spend more time with my mom and dad later in the year, and it was so incredible to share our CX experience with them at the MRC Lancaster race, followed by a day of sight-seeing in Salem, MA.
  • We rode in the inaugural Dirty 40 race on Labor Day weekend (using the new camp as home base). A 60 mile bike race in the northern most section of Vermont, with 40 miles of dirt roads. It was well run, and one of the most fun "races" I did all season (of course, the boys will say it was the hardest race of the year!). We had so much fun we are already signed up for the race this year, as well as the new Spring version in April.

  • Cross season started in August and went full tilt every weekend through mid December. I had one of my best seasons ever, landing on the podium at Gloucester (WHAT?!?!?!?), finishing 3rd in the Verge Women's 3/4 35+ series and winning the Zanconato SS series. The best results, however, came for me at the Regional Championships. Despite an issue with my neck (I literally couldn't turn my head, and had an emergency chiropractor appointment the day before), I managed on Saturday to fight for and hold a lead in the Women's 45+ race. The following day, with temps in the frigid zone (and a head that still wouldn't turn), I managed a second win, this time in the Women's SSCX race. Both races had me besting my MTB nemesis (and new teammate!), Sue Lynch - not a small feat! Mike had an awesome season as well, with Verge wins, awesome competition in the Men's 45 + races, and the overall Zanconato SS series win as well. 
  • I was overcome this year in particular, with the notion of what a family we have in the cycling/racing community. Through the good and the bad, wins and losses, week in and week out, whatever the weather, the MTB and CX community is strong and vehemently loyal. I am lucky to call so many friends, and even luckier to consider the community at large as an extended family.
  • We bought fat bikes. Yup - and we spent the entire Christmas vacation riding them in every weather condition imaginable - mashed potatoes, ice, rain and finally, on Christmas Eve, stellar conditions on the local snowmobile trails. I foresee many more of these adventures in our future!

And sharing all of the adventures, was Mike. None of this chapter would have happened without his support and encouragement. He inspires me to be the best I can be, always. I watch him work hard, and revel in his success as a result. I am proud of him, always. We really are a team in every sense of the word.

A year of change. A year of great accomplishment. A year of adventure. Maybe now you can understand, just a little bit, the melancholy I am feeling with the year drawing to a close. The good news is that our story isn't ending - we are just turning the page to a new chapter.

Happy New Year to all of my family and friends. May 2014 bring you happiness and adventures a plenty.