The Silver Lining

The Silver Lining

I remember the conversation vividly. I was walking through the sunshine with my daughter. She was telling me that she would graduate in the year 2020. She was young, perhaps in second or third grade, making her eight, maybe nine years old. Our conversation would have occurred in 2010 or 2011. As we walked along we talked with excitement about what a cool sounding year it was… 2020. That conversation is the first time I can recall having any thoughts about 2020; how dramatically different the reality of 2020 turned out to be compared to what we both envisioned that sunny afternoon. Like so many others have done, I could list all the negative things that 2020 delivered, but I don’t want to give it any more energy than it has already taken. Instead, I want to focus on the positive things that 2020 delivered.

Family time – Sierra came home in March for what we thought would be a week’s spring break. She ended up staying until August when she departed for her Freshman year of college. That six month window of time gave us back some of the family time that we lost when she moved away in 2017 to pursue her hockey dreams. I’ll be forever grateful for it.

High School Graduation – While the ceremony itself was anti-climatic after being postponed more than once, the fact that she walked across a stage with with Salutatorian cords made Motoman and I so proud. Maintaining high grades during a pandemic wasn’t easy.

Construction – With nothing better to do during the lockdown in March and April, we turned to home improvement projects. We now have an additional bedroom in our house, which freed up space for a dedicated office in our small house. We’re still arm-wrestling to see who gets the office most days.

Cooking – No one will ever call me a great cook; but no one in my family went hungry. I got to try lots of new recipes. In fact, I found a very similar recipe for one of my favorite dishes available at an over-priced restaurant in Applewood.

Saddle Time – While I didn’t reach my cycling distance goal for the year, I did get some fun riding in at places like Crested Butte. I also was able to spend more time exploring the hiking trails within steps of my front door. I spent more time on the motorcycle riding tracks and trails with my family. As a result of all this riding and skills development, I’m now confident enough to try riding an even bigger, more powerful dirt bike.

Job Transition – I’m so excited to have accepted a position last fall with a company in an industry I’m passionate about. Working has never felt less like work!

For me, one of the most humbling lessons of 2020 was that I don’t have as much control as I thought I did. I can’t replace the people and experiences my family lost this year, but I can control my perspective on the losses. Usually this is the time of year when I reflect on the bike races I competed in the prior year and set goals for the future.  This year, I don’t have any races to reflect on, which feels different, but ok.  For 2021 I want to focus more on activities that a future version of myself will be grateful for. This includes things like more yoga, better eating, catching air on the motorcycle, and being open to new activities. Sometimes just a slight shift in perspective is all it takes to find the silver lining.

Roll Massif: Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park – a race review

Roll Massif: Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park – a race review

Roll Massif represents a collection of cycling events in Colorado.  They appear to have become the race/event director for several of the longer cycling events bike enthusiasts have come to know and love, as well as creating a couple of new events of their own.  One of those new events was the Sunrise to Sunset Winter Park Race on August 10, 2019.

Until this event, I had never done a twelve hour endurance event.  The idea of riding a bike for twelve hours was intimidating.  However, doing the race as a member of a team of up to five people would be something I could handle.  I invited a couple of colleagues to join me and Team Chocoholics was created!  We registered as a coed team of three.  I managed to get in one quasi pre-ride of the course a week before the race.  My training regimen consisted of sneaking in a handful of bike rides over the summer and, of course, consuming chocolate.

The night before race day, the team decided that I would take the first lap; I guess that was my reward for the crazy idea of racing.  I was reminded numerous times to have low expectations and that we were doing this for fun. It seems my teammates had training regimens similar to mine!   The race was held in the heart of Winter Park at Rendezvous Event Center.  We set up our tent and prepared to spend the day with our newest friends.

Each lap was about 9.5 miles long with ~1100 feet of elevation gain.  The first 3 miles were climbing, the next 2 miles were descending, the remaining 4 miles were rolling, but mostly flat and down.  The course was very well marked and volunteers marshaled at each road crossing, offering encouragement as you went by.  The course was fast & flowy singletrack sprinkled with some tree roots, puddles, and rocks.  It meandered from clearcut meadows through dense forrest.  We experienced sun, rain, lightening, and even some hail throughout the day.

Each member of team Chocoholics completed three laps, which was key to winning first place in the 3 person coed category.  Our total racing time was 11:34, just 45 minutes more than our second place competitor.  Interestingly enough, our lap times ranged from 1:08 to 1:29.  Considering that the three of us had never ridden together, our skill sets were very complementary to one another.

The race registration fee included a BBQ dinner at the Rendezvous Event Center, which was a fantastic way to end the day.  We were exhausted by the time the race was over and having a hot meal right at the race venue before awards was a bonus.  A band setup and played music during the last lap, which was also nice.  The Rendezvous Event Center has fully equipped bathrooms, which you may not appreciate until you experience a full portapottie in the afternoon of a hot summer day.

Overall, this was one of the better races I’ve participated in.  Congratulations to @RollMassif for putting on a top notch event on the first try!

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