2020 on Two Wheels
Nothing like waiting until the last day of the year to put together the year end posts! I lost a lot of motivation for writing this year because all my thoughts and activities felt frivolous in light of current events. Still, I love doing the wrap-up and seeing what the year in photos looked like from my eyeballs so here we go.
January – We Ride Gravel Now!
Felkerino wanted to do something in addition to randonneuring that would still stretch our legs and skills. We built our 2020 plans around exploring gravel and kicked off 2020 on the beautiful back roads of Loudoun County, Virginia.
February – We Even Race Gravel Now!
To help keep our gravel stoke strong, we signed up for the 50-Mile Monster Cross race outside of Chesterfield, Virginia. We were one of two tandems that participated, with Evelyn and Jeff being the other team – and the one that rose to the top of the tandem podium.
It was exhilarating fun and a thrill to try something new to us. I even found out later that I had placed in my age group. Little did we know that this would conclude all our gravel events. As my neighbor Dylan said, “That was it. That was THE race!” Good thing we all showed up.
March – We All Stay Home
March 13 was my last day in the office for the year. It was silent and strange in the city. I stuck to a schedule by getting out the door by bike with Felkerino in the morning. We would ride a little and then I would stop wherever I was at 8:30 for a virtual team huddle.
For much of March, I took the meeting here in Rawlins Park, and then I would ride home to complete my work day. It helped to get out in the morning. These outings kept my nervous energy somewhat moderated, especially since I would usually spend the rest of the day sitting inside.
The blossoms and greenery were incredible this year. I don’t think I have ever seen spring, summer, and fall color so vibrant.
April – It’s Oh So Quiet
With much of downtown closed and most office workers at home, quiet descended on the city. The up side of this meant that spaces generally off limits to pedestrians and runners were accessible.
This is Felkerino riding down Rock Creek Parkway on a Saturday afternoon. No way that would happen on a regular day in D.C.
I am sorry about the devastation that the coronavirus has brought, but I enjoyed spending time in spaces that vehicles usually “own,” and wish we could find our way to less dependence on cars in our world.
May – We Still Ride Gravel
It took a while, but we figured out how to do rides with remote starts. Don’t go too far from home, carry all your food and liquid, and ride shorter so you aren’t too far from your starting point and so you don’t need to refuel.
We headed back to the roads in Loudoun County. It was a nice reprieve from being indoors in the city and felt good to have the sun shine on our faces.
June – Rides From Home
Remote starts remained infrequent. Instead, we chose the ride-from-home route. It was much easier logistically and with no ride goals we just kind of rode as far or short as we wanted.
During this ride, we headed out of the city passing through Black Lives Matter Plaza, which had been formally named earlier that week, I believe.
It was a remarkable scene, with people converging on the area and putting up signs on the fencing outside the White House Plaza.
Who should we see there, but Joe Flood?! This was exciting, as our interactions with others from March through June were limited. Plus, Joe is always good company. We chatted for a bit, and then he headed off to play soccer and we continued our ride.
July – Night Ride
I love long days of summer and how the temps stay so pleasant even after the sun goes down. It’s perfect for night riding.
I hardly rode at night this year, due to ________ (insert lots of reasons here). One night, though, Felkerino had an errand he needed to do in Virginia and invited me along.
We returned home after dark. Independence Avenue was empty so we zoomed down it like we owned the town. Bliss.
August – Day Rides
Felkerino and I kept up our carry your own food and water routine, and took a few extra days off in August so we could do some day rides outside of town. We figured out how long our food and water would last (basically a century) and built ride distances around that, as well as quiet roads.
I really enjoyed stopping at an inviting park or church. Why did we wait so long to do this? It’s definitely a step up from gas station fare, and the seating is far more inviting.
September – Always Be Coffeeneuring
With a few local spots offering takeaway coffee, we worked on our Always Be Coffeeneuring game. I believe that all our randonneuring prepared us for this type of coffeeneuring, as we are extremely adept at turning any space into a dining spot. This photo is at Swings in Del Rey, Virginia, one of our preferred local spots.
October – We’re Randonneurs Again
Randonneurs USA determined that brevets could resume at the discretion of the local club/administrator. This, combined with a good forecast and cabin fever, led to our impromptu participation in the Northern Virginia Randonneurs 400K.
My legs felt amazing and I was just so happy to be outside riding tandem with Felkerino into the sunrise and continuing to pedal after the sun was long gone. It was a great day.
This photo was taken about 25 or so miles from the finish. We had paused to rest the legs and prepare for the final miles in. Temperatures were cool but pleasant. Reflectives on, taillights going. We waited for the train knowing that a pre-midnight finish was well within reach. Oh randonneuring, sometimes you’re so fun.
November – The Coffeeneuring Challenge, One Good Thing
I’m saving most of my thoughts about this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge for a separate post, but it really was one good thing for me and I hope many others in 2020. Doug of Umbrella Works did beautiful work on the patch design as well as the socks, Sock Guy made some great socks, and Falls Creek Outfitters came through on excellent execution of Doug’s design. I even had an intern help me pack up all the grand patch prizes (see photo below).
I loved seeing all the rides happening outside and all the local shops people visited. People found all sorts of ways to get out and ride their bikes to coffee. Families completed the challenge together.
It was amazing. I was so inspired by coffeeneuring that I fit in a ride on the last day of the challenge to celebrate the one good best thing that coffeeneuring was to me this year. Felkerino accompanied me. It was cold and windy. I drank rooibos tea on the curb and let it warm me from the inside out.
I’m sneaking in one additional photo for November because we also participated in a 200K on the Saturday after the election. The course took us from the Eastern Shore in Maryland into Delaware.
The weather was perfect, and riding within the morning fog and then seeing it evaporate before our eyes with the rising sun made for some visually stunning moments. We were actually in Delaware when the election was called. What a day.
December – Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
One of my goals for 2020 was to secure a share in a CSA, and I finally found one with a pickup close enough to make it happen.
My pickup was in Eastern Market.
The CSA, combined with my commitment to reduce consumption of refined sugar and other foods, has been life changing. I ate better than I ever have and learned to cook new foods. I’m still an extremely mediocre cook, but I love having fresh produce as part of my daily life and supporting the local food system.
For much of the year, I would walk over to retrieve my CSA; it’s a four-mile round trip. The shorter days and lower temperatures made it a more palatable affair to ride my bike instead.
I’m finishing off the year with less than 4,500 miles, but I lost interest in mileage targets early in 2020. Instead I focused on staying healthy and using the bike as a way to spend time with Felkerino, run errands, and to keep anxiety, fears, and sadness at bay. I look forward to less fraught times.