Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Day should be December 22

But whatever. We have to pick some day to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another. Since we rock the Gregorian calendar, it makes a certain amount of practical sense to end the year at the end of the 12th month.

Vicki on New Years Eve 2015

To me it makes more sense to start when the sun's light, like a seed, begins to grow. The end and simultaneously the beginning of the year is immediately at the solstice.

It's natural at this time to remember the past and consider the future. But it's also a time when, at least for those of us who live more than 37.0000° N, the reduced photo period and chillier temperatures can have an effect on one's state of being. I think a focus on looking forward might be more effective around the vernal equinox. Let's all spend winter drinking whiskey and fat biking.

But what evs, for now I'm feeling like doing a little 2015 Greatest Hits. Monthwise. Lotsa pikturs.


I got a Kona Wo fatbike at the end of 2014. In January 2015, at least according to what kind of pictures I was taking, my life was about going snow-biking with my dog. She likes it, I like it. Everybody wins.

up poncha road
Up the Poncha Creek Road

up marshall road
A sunny day up the Marshall Pass Road near O'Haver


My parents have been living in the Coachella Valley of California in the cold months for 20 years. In that time I've taken part with my Dad in an event called the Tour de Palm Springs probably 15 or more times. We did it the first year they put it on, and it became something of a tradition that I would visit in February and we would do the ride. Dad introduced me to distance riding back in the 70s when I was just a little kid--we did century rides. My first was in 1974 when I was 10.

This year my folks have changed their living arrangements and no longer live in the Coachella Valley. I probably will never ride that event again.

Tour de Palm start
The start, ~7 AM Valentine's Day 2015

Snow Bikeen
And then some late February snow-biking back home!


2015 was a rebuilding year for me. 2014 was frankly a shit show. A motorcycle accident in May cost me dearly in terms of health. And confidence. And it had to be the same year I turned 50. It felt like I'd gone through a gate; youth on one side, middle age on the other. And the AARP sent me an invitation to join!

In March of 2015 I got a glimmer of excitement about getting my body strong again. The snow-biking had helped me stay a little fitter than a typical winter. I was fat, sure. But at least I could get my heart beating fast without wanting to vomit. So I started making plans and goals, and I started working a little harder.

Poncha Pass
Not so many pictures from March. This is what it was about.


In April I kept after it. A typical weekend day would see me walking or riding with Vicki for an hour or two then riding by myself for 4+. Not a lot of pictures! Growing my endurance base, and enjoying the feeling that you get from building a broken body back into a capable body.



As the leaves started popping and the snow started to recede up the mountainsides, I was clawing my way up. Up toward the Divide. I was aching to ride all the way from my house to the Continental Divide. If I heard a rumor that a trail was dry or close to it, I would get up there and see for myself. Every glimpse of a place I never visited in 2014 was a treat. I was insatiable.

Rainbow MethodistRainbow Trail, Methodist. May 2nd. Barely clear. But clear enough.

tree down
Cleared a lot of trees this Spring. I was into it! So nice to be part of the world of trails again!


The Salida Big Friggin' Loop is a race/ride I've been putting on for several years. Due to a comedy of errors, I had never finished it. That was one of the things in March that I decided. Gol-dammer, gonna ride that gol-dang SBFL. I did that. I finished that. Then I got to the Divide. June was a winner month for me. Almost everything I did outside in June was joyful.

on the Divide
On the Continental Divide again at last. About to descend back down to Salida.

Silver Creek Trail
Silver Creek Trail with happy dandelions.


Summer was rich and green. Colors were saturated. A wet spring and early summer. Hard on the bike parts but easy on the eyes. As soon as the high country would allow it, my bike and I got up there. 

rainbow wet
Rainbow after rain squall.

rainbow lush
Silver Creek Trail with spring color

canyon creek
Canyon Creek, way up high. July 12 and still snow drifts.

Then at the very end of July, Thursday the 30th. I made an ITT attempt on the VT125 course. I failed, miserably. With a huge smile on my face. It was awesome. The best experience of my year. The best. Thank you universe.


The overnight adventure I undertook at the end of July released me. Since March I had been exploring and visiting places, but with big miles. I would often hire somebody to look after Vicki on a weekend day so I could ride 8+ hours. Once I had proven to myself that I was back, that my body could do whatever I asked if I worked hard, I was satisfied. I felt free to plan my weekends around fun. No longer compelled to have so much time in the saddle for the sake of fitness.

The first weekend in August, I took my dog to hike the West Maroon trail to Frigid Air Pass. So beautiful, and especially so as part of a wet summer.

columbine at dawn
Columbine with morning dew

west maroon trail
Vicki on the West Maroon trail

on frigid air pass
Vicki and I on Frigid Air Pass

I visited my parents in Michigan. It was nice. I so rarely see my home state, and it's always nice to spend a long weekend with my wonderful parents.



I rode in the West Elk Classic in September.

west elk roll out
Chilly morning, fast rollout. I am at the far right in my gray rain jacket.

west elk
Such a beautiful day, what a great event!

September has come to be a busy month for me. I help with the Vapor Trail 125, and this year again helped with the Salida Bike Fest. Then it was time to start scouting for elk! We had an amazingly long, mild, warm autumn. I wasn't too busy to enjoy it myself from time to time.

silver creek color
Same meadow on Silver Creek as one of the previous pictures, from when it was green.

more silver creek color
Glorious color


I rode a lap of the 12 Hours of Penitence, then crashed and remembered why I don't do lap races any more.

Snacks and a beer, after I am promoted to spectator!

Elk hunting was a bust. It was in the 70s at 9000 feet during my whole season. Vicki and I did a lot of homework, but the weather that made the autumn so enjoyable for biking and hiking made it a difficult elk season. Guess that was good news for the elk!

Certainly was a lovely, golden October.

sangre wilderness
Up in the Sangre de Christo Wilderness looking for elk poo


Mother nature continued to encourage the dog and I to explore outside. We hiked way up Dead Horse Gulch one day.

dead horse

Trail riding was stellar the whole month of November

n backbone
North Backbone

Cottonwood got some new linkages this year. What an excellent ride it has become!

For the Thanksgiving holiday, Vicki and I traveled east and north to visit my sister and her family in Wisconsin. Moist and mild.

Badger Trail
A moist rail-trail in southern Wisconsin


The final month of this year turned wintry right away. Vicki rejoiced, the fatbike came out of the shadows in the back of the garage. Boo-yah! I've had trouble with winter in years past. Mainly the trouble has been me hating it. But Vicki has really helped. Seeing her enjoy it has made me more enthusiastic about getting her out there. And when I wasn't watching, it seems that I started enjoying it too!

fsck summer

tracked up

It's been a good year. Not that there haven't been some problems and bummers. There have. But it's balanced. Keep looking for the good and sometimes you'll find the good.

Here's to everybody finding the good in this next trip around the sun!