We’re down to the wire, but with a sliver of time remaining I’m putting out a year-end wrap-up in photos. Much of 2022 happened outside the picture frames. Studies. Work. Other stuff. Stuff I can’t really photograph.
Still, these roundups help me mark time, reflect on what has passed as well as what caught my eye, and consider possibilities ahead. I hope you enjoy this photo highlight reel.
Snowfall in early January meant I just had to get out and run in it. I love snow runs in the city. The traffic vanishes and the snowfall makes the outdoors so peaceful. That was a fun run.
C and I continued our epic Mall walks throughout the year, meeting up whenever schedules allowed. This is how the pros fit the entire Washington Monument in their photo.
Construction continued nearby at The Wharf in Southwest D.C. Despite my mixed feelings about this project, some of the construction is quite striking, and it’s been interesting to watch it take shape and change the skyline by the water.
The areas around the New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge continued to come together bit by bit. Rebar became a new fascination of mine. Pedestrians and cyclists could cross the bridge but instead of going under South Capitol via the former pedestrian path, we were obligated to cross South Capitol at a traffic light.
Cars barrel through and, even with the new traffic circles on either side of the bridge, this is a dangerous crossing for people. I looked forward to seeing the progress continue so we would not have to keep using this temporary and somewhat unsafe interim solution.
This is my birthday month! I ran a personal best (PR) at the DC Rock ‘n Roll Half-Marathon, it was so exciting. I had never really done any structured training for a running event and I was amazed by the results, finishing at 1:46:22. This was more than 13 minutes faster than my previous PR. Yeah!
I asked Felkerino to take my photo at the finishing area by the RFK Stadium signage. I love the fonts on the various signs there. RFK isn’t afraid of a
serif script font! This run has always finished at RFK, and since the stadium is coming down I wanted a memory of being there that day.
Long rides time! I was determined not to let grad school keep me from some fun in my life. As my friend Joe Flood wrote in his annual round-up… YOLO. Riding the brevets was one of my main YOLO moments of 2022.
Okay, not as exciting as what others might choose, but I did feel angry about what Covid had taken from all of us and I wanted some mini adventures around school and work. So thanks in large part to Felkerino’s planning, we made the brevets happen.
We rode our tandem into sunrise, sunset, and spent hours riding in some sublime darkness. We enjoyed the company of fellow riders this year after riding largely alone since 2020.
I can’t do it on the regular like some manage to pull off, but I do like my spring fling with the brevets when schedules allow. YOLO!
May was not great! First, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) overturned Roe v. Wade.
Then the decision was made to seal off SCOTUS with riot fences, which I’m pretty sure gave all District residents flashbacks to post-January 6 days. It didn’t feel like progress, that’s for sure.
Good thing we had our bikes to distract us from the burning world. We left town to take on Unbound Gravel 200 in Emporia, Kansas, and ended up finishing just ahead of the only other tandem team that took on the 200-mile distance.
It was good to experience Unbound once, I think, but it was a lot of effort for a one-day ride. There was also a fair amount of mud that we had to trudge through, and I did not enjoy carrying our tandem over a mile of mud. I’m more of a non-mud bike rider.
This was a pretty low-key month. We had a break from school, and I was getting my energy back from having come down with Covid at the end of June. Fever, swallowing shards of glass, total lack of energy. It was no joke.
Once I started testing negative and feeling more energetic, Felkerino and I went for sunny short rides. I suggested a trip to Kenilworth Gardens to see the lotuses and you guys, Felkerino had never seen them before!
I was so happy we went to take in their beauty. We rode over on the early side of a weekend morning, as I remembered someone from the National Park Service saying that is the best time to see the lotuses. Apparently, they don’t like the midday sun so much.
We had hoped to bike tour in July, but my bout with Covid and resulting loss of fitness made that impossible. Fortunately we were able to relaunch in August. We rode from our front door up to State College via Lancaster County, over to Kutztown, and then Pittsburgh. After a rest day in Pittsburgh, we rode a mix of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail and roads back to our front door.
It was incredible! I discovered that August bike touring is the best and confirmed that I really love exploring Pennsylvania.
August was a time of great abundance in the area, and we basically rode from farm stand to farm stand eating cherry tomatoes and peaches. The roads were also quiet, perhaps because everyone was getting into back to school mode.
The photo above is from a stop in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, a place with a torrid history rooted in anthracite coal mining and the Molly Maguires (or Mollies). I had read about them when I worked at the U.S. Department of Labor so it was surreal to be traveling over the area where their history unfolded. I left fairly certain it was haunted.
Back to the books for me in September. So long summer, I hardly knew ye! As a last summer-like act, I joined Felkerino for his 600K training ride into the Maryland and Pennsylvania hills.
It was another great ride that saturated my eyes with early fall color and misty sunrises. My photos from this 600K are largely terrible, but I told myself that I was going to focus on the ride itself and not the photos so much, and that’s what happened.
Later in the monh, I stopped by one of the free D.C. health clinics for a Covid booster. This particular clinic used to be an Anthropologie. Going to a former Anthropologie for a booster, stopping by the library for free Covid tests. These are the times we’re living in.
I’m grateful that DC made efforts to vaccinate and provide tests to anyone who wanted them, and I hope it continues.
For the fifth time I took on the Freedom’s Run Marathon out of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. I rode the train out to Brunswick with my bike in order to save me some pedaling miles. This was exciting and also scary considering the giant gap between the platform and train car that I had to haul my bike over.
The run was hard! My first in-person marathon since 2019, and coming on the heels of a week that included both a midterm and a final exam, I had forgotten a lot of the mental challenges that accompany that distance. Thankfully, Freedom’s Run was able to remind me of them in very clear detail. I had hoped to break 4:30 on this event, but had to be happy with a 4:33:09. Still a PR, but not my dream time. My dream will just have to wait a little longer.
Felkerino rode out to cheer me on and to accompany me on the ride home the next day. We shared a spectacular 68 miles down the C&O back to DC. I love the C&O in fall.
November was all about the leaves on the trees. Every five minutes they seemed to change, and I wanted to be out there for all of it. All of it!
Every day a new tree would become a star in my eyes and I’d try to capture its beauty, often with my bike somewhere in view. I was generally not successful, but it was fulfilling to try.
After the leaves fell, their carpet shone and took on another form of fleeting vibrance. Again, I tried my luck in documenting that a few times with fellow epic Mall walker C. We had a few successes, I’d say.
And then it was over. The leaves turned brown and scattered, and the trees’ long limbs now remain bare until we start again in spring.
This starkness against the slanting winter sun also has its beauty, and I was particularly aware of it during a walk through the Northside Slopes in Pittsburgh with Felkerino and his rando-buddy Steven.
The pedestrian underpass for the New Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge was completed. We can run and ride under it into and out of Anacostia Park without crossing South Capitol. Oh happy day!
Wow what a year of pushing. I don’t know where I’m going but I’m pushing all the same. December marked the end of the fall semester and after my 7:40 p.m. Thursday final (the only worse time slot being Friday at 7:40p.m., I’d say) I took a drizzly celebratory ride home in the rain.
This is a photo looking out from Duques Hall, where many of the business classes at George Washington University are held. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m the only person in my program who rides a bike. Where’s my award?! Just kidding. It’s a point of pride and transportation cycling provides me the ultimate satisfaction.
Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone who shared moments with me this year. And special thanks to Felkerino for being my Number 1. Onward.
Here’s to a happy 2023, Mary! Like you, I got COVID this year and it ruined some travel plans for me (namely, a trip to SoCal in November.) It was a mild case, but even the mild cases seem to take a bit out of us. Glad to hear that you are better.
And by the way, that’s a script font on that RFK sign, not serif. 😉
HNY, glad you pulled this together as it made for a very enjoyable read. Curious about your route to Pittsburgh on your tour. Is your route visible somewhere?
Nicely done Mary. I enjoy your round up and your photos. Here in the PNW we are just now getting to seasonal weather after weeks of freezing temps with snow and ice. Ride on and be safe.
Thank you for this journal of photos and words! It is inspiring!
I always enjoy your annual recap with your lovely photos. Happy New Year and best wishes for health & happiness this year!
Onward, indeed. I, too, enjoy the recap–both the pics and the prose–and hope you continue to have many more wonderful adventures in the coming year. Underpasses are the absolute best, and I go out of my way to use the one they built here in Moscow, Idaho, USA a few years ago…if my route doesn’t go that way I make sure it does because I want to use the infrastructure they’ve gone to so much trouble to install…and I hope they install more. We could use at least two more, in my estimation. Best to you and Felkerino in 2023, Mary.