Okay. It’s time. I need to move on. I need to focus on the crazy way 2017 has already started off. 2016 was fantastic. 2016 was unreal. 2016 was everything I could have asked for and more. 2016 was also the first year I sat down and typed out some cycling related goals. I’m so excited to finally force myself to sit down and take the time to reflect on those goals. Let’s get it going!!
Goal 1 – Don’t lose an endurance race in 2016.
No. No. No. My intent here wasnt “If you ain’t first you’re last”! My meaning here was that for the for vast majority of us, the race is simply the challenge of finishing the event. Finish. Finish the damn race no matter what the day throws at you. I’m very proud to announce that for the very first season of riding I accomplished this. LandRun100, Gravelleurs Raid, Maizies, Dirty Kanza200, Elrods Cirque, 24 Hours of Cumming Relay, Gravel Worlds, Rebecca’s Private Idaho and Lap the Lakes. All completed. All ridden hard. Very proud of this feat.
Goal 2 – Ride a sub 7 hour time in a 100 mile gravel race.
I really wanted this for a personal goal. Sure, its an arbitrary number totally dependent upon weather, terrain, equipment and any other number of factors but that’s the point. I simply wanted to hit this mark. I finally accomplished this at Elrods Cirque in Winfield, KS two weeks before the Dirty Kanza 200. My legs began to fail about mile 85 I remember and I saw a few friends pass me on the way to town but still a good day.
Goal 3 – Race the Sun at the DirtyKanza200 and win the challenge.
No sugar coating this and no excuses. I failed. The 2016 version of the DK200 was a deeply personal day for me. After having stopped to help a friend shortly into the second leg my mind was elsewhere for awhile. My body tried to quit on me after mile 128 and I had a very painful and slow next 12 miles. I had no thoughts of quitting only thoughts of how much longer until my body comes back around. About 10 miles from Checkpoint 3 I felt the Flint Hills loosen their grasp and begin to release me. Coming out of Checkpoint 3 and headed home I felt full strength but no chance of beating the Sun. I still finished with my best time ever at the DK200 and made a LOT of new friends that weekend. There’s always 2017.
Goal 4 – Be a better community volunteer.
A non-cycling goal that I probably put down realistically because I felt guilty of people thinking I was too into cycling. I don’t feel this way any longer. I’m comfortable with myself, my commitment to my family, my commitment to my friends, my community and my love of cycling. I do volunteer on the Granada Theatre Board and The Flint Hills Optimist Club. I’m coming off my 6th and final year on the Emporia Friends of the Zoo Board. I’m still working with the Zoo on another big project over the next few years. I volunteer when needed at various local fundraising auctions and my daughters school activities. I have a hard time saying “no” to anyone truly needing help. I wish there were more hours in the day. I love this community we live in.
Goal 5 – Adventure more with my family.
My family and I had a blast this past year exploring. I rode the Lunar Kanza with my wife, Kerri and my daughter Reagan. The ride was tough and there was some sweat shed but looking back we had a blast and Kerri is already thinking of new ways to light up the bikes in 2017. Hiking was done in Colorado as well as our local trails. A couple 5k’s were walked/jogged and 2017 will be even better. Kerri has entered the LandRun50 and is patiently waiting for a Beargrease to become available for purchase. Awesome.
I’m going to call 2016 a “WIN”!! I had no idea a year ago cycling would become an even bigger part of my life and my family’s life. I started co-hosting a webshow called “This is Gravel” on Matt Fowlers Gravel Guru site. My kids have been involved. Kerri’s been involved. The “Casual Cyclist” was born on Facebook and Instagram, haha. I had no idea a year ago I would host an International Dirty Kanza 200 rider for the DK weekend. My family was honored to have Paul Errington stay with us from the UK. Paul is the founder of The Dirty Reiver gravel race in the UK. A tremendous gentleman and a new friend for our family. in 2016 I was once again a team member to Team Mulreadys and look forward to 2017 being even better. I love the group of friends I have and ride bikes with. I was able to volunteer and help fellow team member Nicole Blakemore teach “bikes” to a new Cycling Club at the local middle school and look forward to carrying those lessons into 2017. I had no idea in 2016 friends would start up a new bike shop called Gravel City Adventure and Supply and fulfill one of their personal dreams. In doing so they brought Adam Blake to town and another new friendship was developed. Amazing year and these are just a few things.
2016 was truly a big year for me and my family in cycling. 2016 was truly a big year for cycling in Emporia KS. I love this community we live in and can’t wait to see what 2017 brings us all.
Now…let’s move on to 2017, shall we?