As cyclists we may measure time a bit more observantly than some. Sure, we follow the course of a year the same as everyone else. But each year is another season spent on the bike. Each year is a self-contained string of high points, misses. It’s the way we mark each year that gives us our perspective.
It comes up in the way we talk about our riding with other cyclists. Even for those of us who no longer race (if we ever did) it’s not uncommon to mark previous years in the course of conversation.
I’m ahead of where I was this time last year.
It’s been five years since I could climb that in the big ring.
I’m always lousy in January.
The odd feature of this life is that we can get lost in the routines of training. Base miles in the fall and winter, intervals and early races in the spring, riding hard all summer long. We don’t always look up to make sure we’re keeping it fresh.
But eventually we mark so many years we hit one of those personal milestones. Thank God for friends. While I let my birthday slip quietly by last month, a friend is celebrating his 50th birthday. As is true with the gift of cycling, he doesn’t look it. To celebrate, we rounded up an 18-strong group to break our routine and do something a little different.
As is typical of many Sundays, we climbed one of the canyon roads in Malibu but this time dropped into the San Fernando Valley to climb Dirt Mulholland which I mentioned in my recent post when I went for a ride with Spencer from Ritte Racing. From the Valley, Mulholland is a six-mile climb with a few respites, though it’s all work.
Stepping out of the routine can help reminds us of the bigger picture, celebrating life in the unusual even as we’ve worked celebrate it by establishing routines to make the most of the time we have.
There’s nothing particularly remarkable about riding a dirt road, but it’s something we don’t usually do and it was a way to mark the occasion, and a way to entice friends who aren’t local to come up for a ride we’ve promised each other to do annually.
Here’s to marking occasions with a special ride.