Down but Not out

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It would probably be an understatement if I said I can’t wait for 2016 to end. I know that I shouldn’t start this post off with some negativity, but sometimes you have to speak your mind. This year certainly had some great days, so maybe I have just focused too much on the negative side.  I have never put much emphasis on New Years, and to be honest I plan on being in bed by midnight anyways. So I don’t have these expectations of it being a “new year, new me” on Jan 1. But I do plan on making changes, with the big one being a new job that I start at next week. The majority of my frustration was due to work, so I have hopes that this new company will be the answer. All I know is I lived a bit of a cruise control life for the past few years which made me realize that if I want changes I will have to make them myself.

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I will say that life has been a huge motivator for my cycling/swimming/running. I have hit PRs for all 3 over the past few months. I typically ride Percy Warner a few times a week during the summer and thought I had hit my lap time peak in 2015. It took a few months of suffering, but I finally hit that milestone in June and was able to improve on that two more times.  Starting to sound like an analyst (it is my job after all) but I increased my miles on the bike by 67% this year.

The hills of Percy Warner are alive to sound of me riding in pain

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The plan is to start riding in the crit races in 2017 or try a sprint Triathlon (maybe both?). I used to think that competition would ruin riding for me, but now I look at it as a challenge and a way to push me. I felt like I hit the limits of what I could personally push myself to this year, and I know riding with others will allow me to go to that level I think isn’t possible.

[Click on pictures if you would like to see them larger]

I also was able to spend a weekend with my second family. My parents and I went to go see our good family friends, the family that I lived with during my internship in Columbus, OH. They now live outside of Charlotte on the lake, and it was one of the best trips I have had in years. Their wine cellar had nothing to do with this……

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Lake, wine, and dogs. Where do I sign up?

Plus who wouldn’t have fun getting to hang out with these kids?

One of the highlights of my year was volunteering for another Ride for Reading delivery. Typically I do a few of these a year, but due to work I was only able to help with one. It is always an eye opening experience into how blessed I am. It is heartbreaking knowing that many of these kids do not have the same childhood that I had, but it also great seeing the excitement on their faces when they get to pick out some books.

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I surprisingly was in no mood for the holiday season. Typically I jam Christmas music non-stop and can’t wait. This year was different, but that didn’t stop me from grabbing my camera to take some pics. If there is one constant in my life, it is the joy that taking pictures gives me. It is my backup to cycling, and regretfully cycling doesn’t happen often in the winter. Cue camera.

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The holidays started out spending time with some family friends. Each year we meet up to play some games and do dirty santa. As you can tell from above, Alex and I came away looking good with 2 bottles of wine and the TN wine stopper.

I typically don’t play the game, as I would much rather take pictures or watch everyone slowly turn against one another as the games roll on.

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A week or so before Christmas we were able to see some of our cousins. It was an eye opening experience to what having 4 kids would be like. If I am honest it didn’t sell me on the idea haha. But it was fun getting to play with them for the afternoon. I am biased, and I only say this to build myself up, but I am pretty sure I was Hudson’s favorite.

As for Christmas shopping, outside of a few presents, most was spent going to Kroger to buy gift cards. I didn’t put much effort into the shopping this year, which sucks because I HATE giving gift cards. They feel like such a cop out. The weather was a bit unforgiving for a few days, so I decided to finally hook the bicycle trainer up to continue the love/hate relationship I have with it. When I think of misery, I picture riding my bike on a trainer.

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That afternoon everybody went to my parent’s house to watch the Titans continue along the path of mediocrity, followed by one of the best meals I have had in awhile. Dad grilled out some steaks, and then we had some of my favorite wine to go along with it.

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How could anyone not enjoy a night at a place like this?

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Then a few nights ago I felt like giving the car some attention. As some of you may know, I have put lights on my roof rack for years. It has lost some appeal since the car isn’t modded like my first one, but I still enjoy seeing the laughs it gives me on the road.

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I wish you all a Happy New Year, and I thank you for checking out my blog. Maybe one day I will update this more than twice a year. (Probably not though)

A Part of My Heart

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Saturday started out with suffering. Now this wasn’t as bad as that sounds. A few days ago I went for a bike ride and at the beginning I either wasn’t there mentally, or my legs were failing. Whatever the reason was; I was having a hard time riding at my normal pace. It was a struggle that had me beginning to think it was going to be a short and wasted morning on the bike.

Thanks to a song playing on my phone I was able to focus on something else. I was reminded about my time spent at The Bike Pedlar, specifically the people there.  During the next two hours of my ride all I could do was think about the people that changed me while I worked at the shop. I believe I have talked about how important riding is to me, but I have never went into how important the people that caused that are.They were and continue to be the foundation for why cycling is such a big part of my life.

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These people impacted my life in a way that I probably will never be able to comprehend. Yes they prevented me from being fat, lazy, and probably unhappy, but they also opened my eyes to a world I was not seeing.

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It is probably ridiculous to quote the Captain from the movie Wall-e, but I think it best explains what these people did for me. In that movie the Captain of the ship says “I don’t want to survive, I want to live”. And I think that is exactly what these people have given me the opportunity to do. The bike has given me the ability to experience the world, ok maybe not the world, but greater Nashville area haha. I have had so many lasting memories on the bike,and many of them are with my old co-workers at the shop. I will never forget the Friday night group rides by Ride615, or the bike rides into work during the snowstorms.

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I am sure it sounds depressing in me saying that many of these people are not in my life anymore. As with all things, life moves on and we all have to start new chapters. With that being said, these people may not physically be in my life, but they will always hold a place in my heart. They truly changed me in a way they might not even realize. Some of them I wasn’t even that close to, but that didn’t diminish the impact they had on me.

My old office will always hold a special place in my heart.I learned how to work on bikes, how to be a better rider, but even more I was able to spend it with a great group of people.

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