Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Rewind

Ross equipped for new five mile commute.

2015 proved to be a year of challenges and changes, starting with a milestone job shift in January to full-time employment after 15 glorious years of freedom as a part-time worker, part time woman with wanderlust.

February's brutal cold kept me off my bike, but not our 13 year old hearty son, who rode to school all winter, amazing his parents. It took all my willpower to let him out the door when it was -15F and he chose sneakers for footwear.

By March, I was back riding in sunshine, learning a new commute, had fun with MG's Errandonnee, made plans to pedal all of my city's 95 miles of public streets, and had an epiphany with Rivendell's Clementine, steering my touring thoughts down the step-through bike line (hey Surly - hop on the bandwagon!).

Family rides on Acadia National Park's carriage roads.

My father died in April, knocking the wind from my sails. Over the next few months I relied on what normally heals me: heading outdoors, riding beside Lake Champlain, exploring new places: riding Acadia National Park's carriage trails and the Charles River Trail, and keeping busy, in this instance, sticking with my Burlington Streets Challenge. I've also learned to be kind to myself, allowing the blog writing to ebb and flow.

My son rides a narrow ramp at Sunny Hollow.
On the family front, I instigated a mountain bike ride with our youngest boy at Sunny Hollow, plus a ferry ride/Ausable Chasm fun day, and insisted all four of us accompany me on a couple Burlington Streets rides, one of which benefited our oldest son who ended up buying a recliner at a garage sale, proving that you never know what will happen on a simple bike ride. I was also heartened by our normally sedentary 16-year-old son setting off on an unexpected riding adventure with a friend. Later in the year we enjoyed fat biking on nearby trails.

Stopping for a break at a Quebec cemetery.

In September I went on a much needed bike overnight, touring Quebec's vineyards and apple orchards and felt rejuvenated, just in time for fall foliage rides and Coffeeneuring exploits. By November, I'd completed both challenges and celebrated five years of blogging. Then I was ready for a dip into night riding, purchased a powerful headlight and surprised myself by immensely enjoying weeks of commuting in darkness, becoming a full fledged night rider.

Coffeeneuring #7 on a beach.

It's the end of December and we have several inches of snow on the ground. Today, I rode the bus to work. The sting of losing someone who's been very inspirational to me is beginning to fade, as happy memories slowly replace sad ones, like a time years ago, when my husband (then boyfriend) and I had left Vermont on our bicycles, touring southward along the East Coast before heading west across the country. My father had promised to "come pick us up if we ever got tired". I know he truly meant it, but those very words assured I would never give Dad the satisfaction of rescuing his daughter. Of course I'll always miss my father, however he lives on inside me. It was, and still is, a good ride.

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for this lovely reflection. Best wishes for the year ahead.

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    1. Thanks Kendra. Best wishes to you too!

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  2. Annie,

    I have enjoyed reading all of your reflections, ideas, and adventures throughout this year.

    Grieving a loss is never an easy thing to do. Those losses always leave a bit of a hole and it's hard to imagine life without a parent or someone close to us. It sounds as though you have some wonderful memories.

    Looking forward to continuing to read about your adventures in 2016. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    1. Thanks, G.E. Here's looking ahead to great cycling times in 2016.

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  3. Hi Annie, I loved reading your summary, and following your blog throughout the year. Even though I don't regularly comment, I am a regular reader of your blog. That said, I did not know about your father's death this year. I'm sorry. I'm glad to read that your happy memories are gradually replacing sad ones. That is so hopeful. Wishing you good times in 2016.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts. I contemplated whether to mention my father's death on this blog, but concluded that it was important because of how cycling centers and motivates me like nothing else.

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  4. I enjoyed the look back and am looking forward to what 2016 has in-store for you (or what you have in-store for it). Sorry to hear of the passing of your Father.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Randy...and watch out 2016, here we all come!

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  5. I've enjoyed reading your blog through the year. Your's and others like it helped me get through a significant back surgery and back on the bike. Hope that Clementine finds it's way into your fold in 2016. I put together a Sam Hillborne this past June as a post surgery reward and I love it. Can't manage the drop bar "racer" I rode before the back issues. But the Sam is perfect, with Albatross bars higher than the saddle. May you have a wonderful 2016.

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    1. I'm glad to know you are back to riding...and a happy new year to you.

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  6. Annie, Thanks for persevering another year to give me an enjoyable look into your cycling world.
    What is it about riding a bike that helps us cope with the sadness and struggles of life? How fortunate we are to have discovered the simple joy of a bike ride.
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

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    1. Yes, the simple joy of riding bike. Well said! And my Ross is wearing those wonderful pedals...thanks again. Happy 2016.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your cycling life with us. The decision to share your grief must have been a hard one. Everyone grieves differently. It hit our household this year as well. My wife's mother passed away in April. It has been a devastating blow to my wife. Her mother was her source of joy in life. It can't be replaced. I find it interesting to watch her grieving. She has helped hundreds of other people through the process in her line of work as a Hospice Social Worker. Ye when she is faced with a lose, all those years of giving expert advice and counsel in no way lessens her own grieving. It's something so personal and she has to go through it on her own terms.

    Take care of yourself. Ask for support when you feel you need it.

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    1. My thoughts go out to your wife and also to you for being there for her. and yes, I'm learning that everyone grieves differently and there is no magic moment when the hurt goes away. Thank goodness for bike rides.

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