January was ok, I get in a little riding and then take the second week off to go work in California with my brother. Come back and just kind of ride around for mid distance 3-4 hour rides. I don’t really go anywhere but its ok and fun. My cold weather gear is really nice for this year. Handwarmers on my shoes and in my gloves keep things toasty. The chainstay on my DX cracked sometime in 2015 but I don’t notice until the last week of the month. I have a Double Cross Disc frame just sitting there so it’s an ok swap. DCD takes a bit to dial in but eventually I like it ok.
I’m just unmotivated and not feeling like much this month. I’ve signed up for Currahee and Southern Cross so I have events, just have that February drop that seems to happen every year. I have a good time riding a 1987 Le Tour I got on craiglist. It feels fast and carefree and reminds me of 2011/2012. Currahee goes ok but I do not like the DCD for gravel, it feels stiff and harsh. I resolve to ride my MTB for Southern Cross. Later I realize the carbon fork from the DX I was using does not work well with the frame, the DCD is awesome with the stock steel fork. I had planned a complicated schedule for Currahee so my girlfriend could pick me up and eat with me at the post-race meal. I have some mental breakdown issues and wipe everything out and just go by myself. She shows up anyway and we get to eat and have fun together afterward so it’s ok. I also took a wrong turn at Currahee due to marking issues but it’s no matter as I was way out of competition anyway.
I do my first MTB rides since October or November of 2015 and am blown away by how fun it is. I feel nice and ready for Southern Cross. My mom takes me and explores Dahlonega while I race. She gets some awesome pictures and we have fun. I do a group ride on my 650b machine and find it invigorating but awkward as my bike does not fit in. I also find an iphone and return it after a funny phone call. I race 3 times in 3 weeks and the third race is the Green Gobbler. The course is rough and weather is unseasonably hot but it’s a great race. I am fit and fast and place well for myself. I also misread the timer as it was staggered for the 6 hour race and probably could have done another lap but oh well.
I’m just riding my mountain bike and 650b bike. Anxiety about track cycling but I never go down to race. I do end up doing 3 races this month. Blankets Creek dirty thirty is very fun but a super hard course – rocky and rooty and not good for 26” tires I think. But next is Shake ‘n’ Brake and it’s a load of fun. I kick ass on my MTB but take a wrong turn AGAIN due to course marking issues and lose out on a really good placing. This turn cost me 15-25 minutes and a “podium” oh well, still fun. Final is the Raider 48 which is less race and more ride but still very fun. I break a spoke and have shitty shifting issues all day but my girlfriend comes with and we eat at 2Dog Café in Gainesville and it’s so good. A rider on the raider 48 comes by as I get to my car after the race and tells me my blog is interesting and he reads it a lot. This is cool.
A guy in a purple/blue accord from New York acts like a dickhead. I do the Dirty Spokes 3 hours of Ft Yargo and see mountain bikers act like dickheads there too. I lose my saddlebag and everything inside of it. I am unmotivated to prepare for the adventure riding season I built up in my head. I can’t get into riding long distances when it takes so long to get to new roads. My relationship splinters into a million pieces and does not ever recover. This month is hard in every way.
I get a 29er mountain bike and it is a blast. I convert my 26” to drop bars and it’s a blast. I sell all my excess bike junk and craigslist projects and the $600 I get is a blast. I sold all my stuff because I decided to use my employee discount and buy a diamondback gravel bike, I am very excited. I decide to drive to the Budweiser plant and ride from there it’s a blast. There are so many new roads there and places to climb, I see awesome things and stray kitty breaks my heart but it’s such a good ride and so freeing to come back to the car beat and exhausted in a parking lot full of other cyclists. I become enamored with publix sandwiches. Ultimate 5-grain double meat is the best. My crankarm breaks at 5 in the morning 8 miles into a 120+ mile ride after driving 45 minutes to the Bud plant. I go a little crazy and drive all the way to my mom’s house for the replacement crankset that’s there and then back to my apartment to install and then back to the Bud plant to ride my original route. I get two hours in and am mentally and emotionally exhausted. It’s so hot and dry I turn around and head back. It’s an ok ride by 4+ hours of driving and 4+ hours of riding is awful.
I am destroyed. July 1st I go on the hardest ride I’ve ever done. 4 hours of fun 4 hours of terror. I walk so much, the hills of Cohutta are amazing and not passable for me at this time on the lowest gear I brought. I get giardiasis and this affects me much longer than I realize. I ride in Cohutta twice more this month and each ride is amazing and very difficult due to the giardiasis. I think I am better but the parasite saps your strength for weeks after the symptoms disappear. Regardless I think about this area often and yearn to go back. I get my new Diamondback Haanjo Comp and it’s really nice! I go on a 100 mile ride that is shockingly hard (giardiasis again) but so beautiful, more sandwiches from publix and continually worse relationship issues. I ride my fixed gear once for a short ride and it’s pretty awesome.
I spend the first week in Arizona on vacation, it’s very fun and relaxing. The flight back is buffeted by severe turbulence and this affects me for weeks after. I ride my fixed gear a bit, my gravel bike a bit but never get into anything longer than a couple hours. Adventure ride season ended back in July I guess. I skip Savage CX and this is a smart move as I am in no way ready for this. I do race the red clay ramble, I slept poor all week and argued with my girlfriend and have the poorest race I’ve ever done. Felt totally worthless and embarrassed by my showing.
Everything crystallizes in my mind. I decide to leave my relationship and start riding a bit better. I discover early morning riding again after I wake with my girlfriend when she has a 4am call to go to inventory for her job. I have an amazing adventure before work and ride early in the darkness several days in a row. I become enamored with sourdough pretzels and protein milkshakes (for months before too).
I move out and live alone again. It takes a week to adjust and get back on the bike but when I do things are going great. I set up my double cross disc as a gravel racer with the HED wheelset from my Diamondback and find it to be an amazing ride. I take it to Sope Creek and have a blast. I go on a date and have a blast, I have coffee and lattes and make a mess in my apartment. I stop eating so much and relax everything. I lose a little weight and sleep poorly.
Sac o’ Suds and Standard Deluxe are amazing events and I enjoy them immensely. I exercise poor judgment and work on my bike too much the day before each event and have issues with a slipping seatpost, still the rides are good and I learn a lot about myself. I become enamored with starbucks mocha double shots and make a choice to be more social that does not pan out. I get compliments on my strava pictures and rides. Most of my riding is on my cross bike or drop-bar MTB at Sope Creek in a v-neck t-shirt, cutoff shorts and marpat cap my mom made me. I am really happy with my riding. On Thanksgiving I put together my fixed gear conversion of a 1987 Schwinn Le Tour and have a great ride.
December starts with rain, flat tires and hand tools from the side of the road. I relearn how to ride in the rain and have fun. I cut out the chamois from some kits and feel more comfortable on the bike, it’s easy to ride forever when you’re not hurting. Still in Sope Creek wearing v-necks and cutoffs but sometimes with a pullover. It’s starting to cool by mid-month and I like the weather this year. I have some issues with my Haanjo Comp but it’s an easy fix and kind of funny. Watch for those trash ponds! I end the year with 16 hours of night riding in a row. It’s refreshing, I nap all day and once the sun sets I am invigorated and feel like I can ride for hours. I’m fueled by Sourdough pretzels and seem much more resistant to the cold weather than years past.