2014: A Great Year Off the Bike

This past year was not about riding. It was about recovering. As long-time readers know, I have faced a number of physical challenges over the last couple of years. For a time, I had no idea what the problem was. It was not until surgery this past January that I learned about my injury. I continued to learn things throughout the year about how my body, and how my post-surgery hip.

Chilling before surgery.

Prior to having surgery in January.

What I didn’t do much was ride my bike. As I began to heal from surgery and progress with physical therapy, I gave riding a try during the summer. While I still had plenty of memory in my muscles and had retained some fitness, I wasn’t quite ready. My hip had not healed enough. I shut it down and it has been over six months since I was last on the bike.

My cycling stats are not too impressive:

6 rides
142 miles

And that’s about it. ‘Nuff said.


Given how much I love cycling, you would think that 2014 would be a terrible year. I’ll admit that it took some adjustment and was not easy, but I settled into a routine. Some great things happened for me, and oddly enough, 2014 ended up being one of the best years of my life. I’ve only talked about some of those things on this blog, because most have little to nothing to do with cycling. Forgetting about my lack of cycling, here is why 2014 was such a great year:

jeopardy

The best part of the year happened in February in my third week after surgery. My wife had been trying out for Jeopardy for nearly two years. She finally got the call to appear in early January. Her episodes would tape in February. The worst part was the timing. I was going to have surgery on January 31st, and initially I wasn’t even sure whether I could attend. My doctor helped me with that part. I attended and watched her triumph in one game, and then come in second place for the next game. I was so proud of her and it was the experience of a lifetime, even if the experience was physically painful and clouded by painkillers. I’ll still never forget it.

The tough part was not being able to say anything for about five months. I wrote this “VICTORY” post ahead of time, and scheduled it to publish after her episode had aired. We had a fantastic viewing party where many of our friends and family celebrated with us. She received a good bit of media coverage, which was something new to us, but it died down. I was extremely proud of her, and let her use this platform to talk about her experience.


Lady Liberty

We celebrated with a trip to New York City, which believe it or not was my first trip to the city. The trip consisted mostly of us doing tourist things, eating, drinking, and having a great time. Not only did we have a great time, but this was the first major breakthrough in my injury recovery. At first I was nervous that I would not be mobile enough to enjoy the city. You really have to walk to enjoy New York. I gave it a go and had trouble early on, and then almost miraculously, I felt fine. We walked, walked some more, and then continued walking.


The next major event was something that I’ve never really talked about here. Some would find it surprising that I’ve been a part-time student for the entire lifetime of this blog. As I touched on during some of my autobiographical posts earlier this year, I had some professional distractions. I had a company, sold it, and then landed a good job in a new career years later. This is hard to believe, but I have been in college, off-and-on, for 21 years.

I began this year close to graduating, but figured it would be sometime in mid-2015. Surgery turned out to be a blessing because I had a lot of free time during the first part of the year. I was able to occupy my time by taking remote or online classes in the spring semester. My professors were all understanding, and they gave me a breather for the first few weeks. Even though I wasn’t at my sharpest, I still managed to do well in those classes, and by the end of the semester, I was within sniffing distance of graduating. All I needed was one class.

I waited for a class that I would like, and that ended up being a Fall graduate class about a subject that I enjoyed. The class was difficult and consumed a lot of my time, while a busy year at work consumed the rest. This was part of the reason posting slowed here at SteepClimbs (and also because I was not riding).

Even though the last few months were among the busiest of my academic career, I finished and graduated just a couple weeks ago.

That's me on the left.

That’s me on the left.

The picture above was a selfie taken with 2,800 other graduates. The graduating class went up to the green light that you can see above my cap. The bearded smiling guy on the right gave me a photobomb, but he was a good sport. He could have done much worse!

Graduating itself was pretty awesome, but even better was being able to walk without assistance or pain. I had made a lot of progress during the year and it felt great. I walked to the podium with a wide smile on my face as I shook hands with the school president and dean.


Hilton Marina1

Hilton Marina2

We celebrated graduation with a trip to South Florida. The pictures above were from this past Saturday morning. I woke up early to see an incredible sunrise. Our hotel overlooked the Fort Lauderdale Harbor. The cruise ships were all returning from sea and they added to the gorgeous view.


My physical challenges are not completely out of the way. I’m still recovering from the injury. It looked initially like this would be a 12-month recovery, but it will most likely be a 12-16 month recovery. It is far better than it was, and most days I have no problem, but it is sensitive to cold weather. That was one of the reasons we went down south for a vacation. The warm weather makes a huge difference. While there, we walked again, just like in New York City. We probably walked about 50 miles in total and the hip felt great.


Even though I’ve been recovering from a rough hip injury, it has been a fantastic year!

To summarize all that happened to me:

  • Got my hip fixed.
  • Became a Jeopardy husband.
  • Graduated college.
  • Traveled North (New York City)
  • Traveled South (Florida)
  • Traveled West (Los Angeles)
  • Traveled East (Charleston, Hilton Head)

It is difficult to predict what will happen in 2015. I know that some great things will happen. I’m on pace to hopefully be fully recovered when the weather warms up in the spring. That should allow me to return to the bike once and for all, and then slowly rebuild my fitness. We already have plans to return to New York City in June, and hopefully I’ll be able to ride there a little bit.

Without school occupying my time, I’ll be able to dedicate myself more to fitness and continued rehabilitation. I’ve already joined a New Years Plank Challenge, which should help get my core back in shape. I’ll continue walking and might even try running as long as the weather and my hip allows.

There’s a good chance I’ll climb again in 2015.

As for my New Years resolution? I tend to aim high, and my goal would be something like this:

Independence Pass triumphant!

It could happen, right? If not this year, then the next. I’ll be surely and slowly working toward that goal, and one day I will get there.

Thanks for following along. Thanks for all of the words of encouragement and support. I hope you all had a tremendous 2014 and will have an even better 2015.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

12 responses to “2014: A Great Year Off the Bike

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