Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 In The Rear-View Mirror

Another eventful year on the bike, 2014 has been, though you probably wouldn't know it just reading the blog. I'm afraid when it comes to blogging I've trans-speciated into a sloth rather than a smorg!
The Smorgmobile; before & now
First off, the hardy all aluminum Smorgmobile experienced both Death and Transfiguration this year. The long-suffering steed was loudly neighing its way up steep slopes for months before the culprit crack was found on the inside the stem. Giant provides a life-time warranty for the fork & frame on its new bikes, of course, so a new fork was sent for... but because the 2012 Giant Defy 5 model had gone obsolete they couldn't find a fork that would fit the old frame. And so, this is why you should buy your bike from a bike shop rather than from a Walmart or a Target, Giant sent a new frame as well! All was swell until the parts arrived and we found that the new frame wouldn't fit the old cranks... Bwahaha. It took nearly 3 weeks, but by the time the dust settled my steed had gone from all aluxx to a nicer hybrid of lighter aluxx frame with carbon composite fork... with new cables to boot (since those were what we changed first when trying to diagnosis the creaking). It's almost a whole new bike!

A few of my escapees...
A few good cycling friends that had put up with my steepie-aholic tendency on our rides had left town for various reasons, unfortunately. We miss ya', Tim & Sue, Colin & Cynthia, Melissa, Lauren, and Jose! Hope the riding is flatter where you are...

I've also made many new friends on bike who have proven themselves more patient than Mother Teresa (you kinda need that to ride with me regularly without going insane). I'm afraid I won't name names or this will turn into something resembling an Oscar acceptance speech, and we really can't have that on this blog! It suffices to say that they are so addicting to ride with that I think I've done fewer solo adventure rides this year than I did group rides. How un-smaughly is that???

The fact that I've been riding with friends a lot rather than just soloing all the time doesn't mean that my local cycling ogres hit list went untouched, however. The meanest ogre on the list (a back way up to Muth Valley from Lakeside) came off on a solo ride, along with things like Montana Serena, Alpine Trails, Arouba Rd, Gomez Creek and Alta Loma Dr... But I was in good company when I went to battle with chain-stretchers like Cuyamaca Lookout Rd, Rios Canyon Rd and the hideousness that is just about all the roads up the south side of Dictionary Hill.

I've also made many bike commuting friends, a few of whom were instrumental in organizing commuter bike trains in Uptown area, and some successfully advocated for two car-free CicloSDias events this year. And then there are Sam Ollinger and the crew at BikeSD who tirelessly lobbied for many new bike infrastructures in town. Thanks a bunch, guys and gals, for making such fabulous differences!

A special mention to a few superb fighters who endlessly inspired me in their battle with health and the bike; Hugo, who went toothless for four months while his dentist messed with his denture (Hugo had fallen off the 5th floor of a building he was constructing in the 80's, see, and he left most of his teeth along with all the tail of his vertebrae at the crash site) and then decided to spend his birthday cycling the Great Western Loop with me... from City Heights! Then there is the Vzrd, twice the survivor of stage 4 malignant melanoma that claimed a lot of her lungs. She was bent on completing the totally sadistic Savage Man Triathlon this year, so we spent many months together beating up on the steepest walls on Dictionary Hill and Mt Helix to prepare for it. Heather B, Carlsbad's resident beast on the bike, had to give up riding (and hard core hiking) for months as her endometriosis took its time getting diagnosed and treated.

There are a few more friends who have been battling injuries on and off, and one who is proving herself tougher than any granite mountain as she helps her husband fight valiantly with adult onset ALS. I have been lucky in that my lupus hasn't been acting up much these last few years, so I've gotten more prone to whining than before. But every time I start to get going about how my right arm is still messed up a year after that last downhill crash, etc, I think of these guys and gals and how much worse they were/are having it, and that instantly puts the whiny inner-smorg back in its place.

I'm so glad I don't have Rocky Ln on my hit list anymore. Whew!
Anyhow, a new year is just around the corner and there is much to look forward to on the cycling front! Here is what remains of my local 'hit list' I hope to lure a few bike buddies to go ride up with:

- Cuyamaca Lookout Rd
- North Peak Rd
- Sherilton Valley Rd
- Morena - Stokes Valley Rd
- Snuz Mountain Rd
- Muth Valley Rd
- Rocky Ln
  Rice Rd (Rattlesnake Mtn)
- Montana Serena
- The Crow's Nest
- Barrett Smith Rd (off Hwy 94 east of Barrett Junction)
- Isla Vista (Jamul)
- Maria St steep block (Dictionary Hill)
- Rainbow Hgts - Rainbow Crest Rd - Mt Olympus Valley Rds (in Rainbow)
- Stewart Crest Rd (north side of Monserate Mtn)
- Red Mountain Hgts Dr (Fallbrook)
- Alta Loma Rd (Jamul)
- Shogo Mtn Rd (De Luz Heights)
- Lyons Peak Rd... is very iffy. Even park rangers can't access that road nowadays.

Happy Holidays everyone!