It has been quite a year. We capped it in style, off the bike and on the beach, spending a few days in Miami and roaming around the warm Florida sun wherever our fancy took us. This trip was for rest and respite, not for riding, yet given all the tumult that I’ve dealt with in 2013, I’ve still accomplished quite a bit.
Believe it or not, I spent more time in 2013 off the bike than on. My layoff early in the year was for three months, and it has now been four months since I last touched wheel to pavement. Between these rest periods, I spent my time wisely, making sure to get the most out of my mileage and still accomplish some of my goals. The numbers were not as impressive as last year. I squeaked out just over 2,000 miles, but I made them count.
Since this year has been so different than previous years, I’m going to wrap it up differently. Rather than ranking my favorite rides and climbs, I’m just going to fondly remember my favorite moments on or off the bike.
Top ten lists are cliché, so this one is going to 11.
A relaxing solo ride on this popular Greenville trail may seem mundane to many of my upstate readers, but I had a great time riding easily around the city, getting my riding legs back.
This one is bittersweet because my injuries prevented me from getting too familiar with the new bike. It’s still a great feeling to add to the stable, and it’s still here, awaiting the adventures to come.
I had a great time at this extremely well organized century with my good friend Jack. If I were making a ride list, this would probably make the top just because of the passion that Robert brought to the event. Of all new to me rides in 2013, this is the one I would recommend to others.
A blistery and overcast day it might have been, but it was also the first century of the year. Having good company who waited on my weakened fitness made it all the better. As it turned out, this would be a stepping stone for bigger and better things.
This turned out to be my last century of the year, and the last mountain(s) that I would climb. We were confused all day with the turns, but it was a nice riding day with Laurie, a new friend.
The goal was to get some riding into this trip, but insanely hot temperatures above 115 and some rental bike issues changed those plans. Instead we did stuff that you should do in Vegas, like eat lots of food, drink beer, and walk endlessly. The only thing we didn’t do was gamble. It turned out to be some good quality time with my wife and family.
5. Lounging in Florida
There was no blog post about this one because, well, I just didn’t feel like it. We headed to South Beach to recuperate and that’s what we did. This was for relaxation, not for work, and that included the blog and other distractions. I came back refreshed and ready for the New Year.
This is one of my favorite rides, and I was glad to return, but the way it happened this year turned out to be a funny story. Spooked by the weather, I hadn’t planned to go. A cold woke me up in the middle of the night and, on a whim, I made the trip anyway, riding 100 miles in what turned out to be dry weather.
The second of Neil’s annual trips was a blast, even if I wasn’t altogether ready for heavy riding. I still managed to get in a few hills, including a repeat of the Assault on the Carolinas route. This limited spinning prepared me for the next entry.
After such a long layoff, it was a marvel and a thrill to even finish this event. It may have been more than an hour slower than last year, and I had to clench my teeth some to tough it out through some pain, but I succeeded. Of all three Mitchell successes, this was the most rewarding.
Who would have thunk that my favorite event of the year would be me watching other people ride across (arguably) the most scenic byway in the USA? At times I enjoyed the quiet and solitude, and at others I enjoyed supporting and enjoying the experience through others. One day I’ll be back under my own power. Hopefully next year.
Have a Happy New Year everybody! Thanks for sharing this year with me.