Eight thousand is a big amount, no matter how you slice it. Select any number of items — anything on our dear planet — and that's a lot. But I'm making reference to miles. Although I didn't even manage to put a quarter of that figure on my vehicle throughout the just completed year, I did my utmost to achieve it while riding my bicycle.
So did I do it? Did I actually pedal my legs off to obtain 8,000 miles for the 2023 season? The answer is yes, but it wasn't easy.
Obviously, during the month of December, the biggest unknown during my mileage chase centered around the weather. As it turned out, it was both a blessing and a curse. With just one snowstorm, the roads remained relatively clear; permitting me to pile up the miles. However, the Pine Tree State did endure a massive quantity of rain. To the point that large areas of our valley — along with portions of my hometown of Hallowell — were flooded.
Thus, in the final week of my quest and being committed to reaching my goal, a swimsuit seemed more appropriate than a cycling kit. It entailed three rides in the pouring rain — two at 44 miles and one at 22 miles. Then, on the last day of 2023, I spent just over eight hours on my two-wheeled machine for the closing 105 miles. Temperatures were in the low 30s, but at least the sun was shining.
So, here are the finishing facts for the twelfth month of the year:
— I rode my bicycle 22 out of December's 31 days, consequently missing nine days.
— I utilized three bikes, my Specialized fat bike, my Specialized Crux gravel beast, and my 2017 Trek Domane road machine.
— I cycled a total of 649 miles.
And for the entire 2023 cycling season, here's what happened: (I feel like calling for a drum roll, please!)
— I climbed aboard a bicycle 311 times, thus only missing 54 days throughout the year. The best ever in my "avid" cycling career.
— I actually ended up with 8,001 miles. A total of 880 more miles than I had in 2022 — 7,121 — which was my previous best. In the last three years, I've pedaled more than 22,000 miles — all outdoors.
Quite a year, indeed. Along with the mileage milestone, other highlights for 2023 included capturing another gold medal for cycling in the Maine Senior Games; purchasing two new bicycles, my Trek Checkpoint and Trek Domane; completing three century rides, the most in a single year; and, probably the most important one, staying safe. Hopefully, the same will be true in 2024.
One last thing. Remember the big surprise? The one involving cobbles and Belgium? All will be revealed in next week's blog posting. Thanks!