2017 is nearly entirely in the rearview mirror and it’s time to take a quick glimpse back. Sending Christmas cards is a holiday tradition and something that I’ll totally get behind in due time, were it not for a certain event that took place on November 18th that highlights my entire year. Ah heck, my entire life — our wedding day. Sending wedding thank you notes from is no small feat and to send a Christmas card as well as Christmas thank you notes struck me as a lot. Which is all leading up to say that come holiday season 2018 I reckon we’ll be sending holiday cards with cute photos in holiday attire or at least a snowy and/or two-wheeled background, but in the meantime this iamtedking.com blog post will summarize the year that is now coming to a close.
My sweet (then girlfriend, not yet fiancé, and now wife) Laura and I brought in the new year from Calabasas, CA at the ever awesome Pedalers Fork. We started the year with a mega group mountain bike ride and finished with chef Sam Baxter‘s magnificent taco feed. I promise this is not an attempt to gross you out with the first photo of cow tongue, but lengua tacos are etherial and Sam is an artist.
From there it was off to Arizona to get out of dodge. See, this little thing called the atmospheric river was about to deluge water onto California in near biblical proportions for the subsequent three months so seeking dry sounded wise.
Some events with friends in Scottsdale and Tucson segued to visit to the Okidoke Corral with buds Seamus and Chris.
Back to California, it was mysteriously dry for three days the entire month which just so happened to coincide with The Coast Ride. A mighty fine tradition, since I first arrived to California in January of 2016 and immediately hopped on that train the first weekend in town, I was happy to partner with the inGamba peloton and mosey on south. It also just happened to be frigid, hence the hyperfunctional neckwear. San Francisco to Santa Barbara in three long days.
From there it was time to embrace that river falling from the sky and seek cold temperatures to embrace it. Off to Lake Tahoe we went to test out the new sticks. They’re fat under foot and fast in the woods.
From there up to Sonoma and the kickstart of the Grasshoppers.
And from there I took up an offer from my dear friend Timmy Duggan to ski at Deer Valley. Because the option to ski at Deer Valley isn’t something you pass up on, especially when you have new skis. It was bluebird and righteously fast.
A quick overnight stay in California then had us off to Hawaii for a glorious week.
Now in mid-February, that month saw a few days of sun and having never ridden Annadel in Santa Rosa, it was time to check out some of Sonoma’s finest mountain biking. Loamy, flowy, green, and lush. Hello California in February.
Don’t think that it’s all sun and warmth. Here’s the next day on Mt. Tamalpais. Please note, that background waterfall isn’t normally a waterfall at all.
Mid-February on the calendar means it time to make the annual pilgrimage to Paso Robles for the inGamba family trip. Paso is a hidden gem. Nearly equidistantly far from San Francisco and Los Angeles, it’s as difficult to get to as it is stunning. On again, off again, the sun was now back out, but again downright brisk. It was as scenic…
…as it was treacherous. Honestly, is it any wonder that California now burning down? Record setting rain (and road washouts) followed by Californian sun results in record setting kindling. 👊 California.
A few trips all over Northern California ensued — Sonoma, the South Bay, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and others. From there it was onto Austin and SXSW. Let there be no question, the rain was on a mission in 2017 so I got poured on in Texas too. Thankfully the roads are scenic and authentic, the SRAM Open The Road Crew is top notch at hospitality and a visit to the world famous Franklin Barbecue will warm you up in a hurry.
A Southern California, SoCal to the layperson, trip ensued with visits to Orange County and San Dimas. The former was for a 100km race cleverly called Hunkr (hundred kilometer race) and the latter was for something called the Ted KING of the Mountain. Then Los Angeles and a swing through my beloved Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas.
That was the better part of March, so when April rolled around we had some amazing trips up our sleeve. Laura made her way to 2nd place in the hallowed SoNoMas mountain bike race, aptly taking place in Sonoma, and I found myself on the top step. I won a bottle of hot sauce so that was outstanding. More MTBing the next day because it’s California in the spring and therefore it’s plush and lush!
Then onto Portugal with inGamba. João is a Portuguese native so it’s about as authentic trip as it comes. Complete with stunning architecture, historical buildings, and mid-summer heat.
And upon returning home it was time to immediately split for a condensed coast ride. Namely, ride from San Francisco to Monterey with a big festive crew of pro riders, pro chefs, and industry notables in order make it in time for Sea Otter.
Late April meant the first annual CampoVelo in Napa. Teaming up with more famous chefs, bike riders, and general cool folks, that was an excellent way to draw the month to a close.
In early May we found ourselves in Arizona. After visiting the good folks at Bicycle Haus it was off to the Chino Grinder in Chino, Arizona to be exact. These two photos are a good indication of how the weekend went.
On a much more somber note, this was also the time of 2017 when New Hampshire native, professional cyclist, and all around incredible guy Chad Young passed away after a traumatic accident in a bike race. I made the trip home to be with family, mine and his as well as the New England cycling community.
It was also a good time to ride bikes with the up and coming Portsmouth High School team which is developing talent — and fun — in the seacoast area. It’s so cool to see.
Cycling in America reaches a high point in May with the Tour of California. Festivities kick off well in advance with the Friend’s of João ride benefitting World Bicycle Relief from Mill Valley, CA. It also presents a where’s Waldo of Bay Area cycling dignitaries.
Then Tour of California was lots of fun with various sponsors. SRAM’s Open The Road was in high gear in Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Barbara, and Morro Bay, as was the VIP tent with terrific wall art.
Then onto San Diego for the Belgian Waffle Ride and some untimely flat tires. Still a really fun mega trip around the state.
It was high time to go skiing so off to Squaw Valley and some late season turns with Antonio.
Then my bikes got a thorough wrenching thanks to the great folks at Beeline Bikes before heading to Shaver Lake.
That’s right, with Memorial Day on the calendar and our buddy Nate turning 35, it was a good reason to pack up the van and hit the open road to scenic and homey Shaver Lake.
June. Ahh, June. It was a whirlwind with trips to Kansas for a flat tire riddled Dirty Kanza, New England before shuttling off to Italy for an inGamba trip to the northern lakes region and with Cannondale for a super special bike launch on Lake Como. Then back to New England for a wedding in Maine, and the kickoff of the 2nd annual #tourXnewengland, which had us in every northeastern state besides Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Sheesh, I’m getting tired writing all this and it’s only early July. I’m going to do a little speed reading to expedite this process.
Lake Tahoe for a mountain bike race, home by way of my first criterium in about 5 years, then Maine which rhymes with Spain, although we then went to France for the Haute Route Pyrenees. Back to Marin where Laura and I were engaged(!) and that set off lots of fun greater Bay Area activities — like dawn patrol with champagne at 6am. Ketchum, Idaho was a big highlight for Rebecca’s Private Idaho over Labor Day Weekend. I get that Ketchum is hard to get to, but that’s part of it’s charm. It’s so isolated and so stunning that I want to go back tomorrow! Then to Seattle, and Vancouver for the Whistler Gran Fondo and back to Seattle, Oakridge, OR, and finally home sweet home.
September segued to October with stops in Truckee, Marin, and Quincy, CA, then wedding practice and planning in Boulder, the King Challenge in New Hampshire, Girona with inGamba, and some frenetic wedding planning last minute before our wedding on November 18 and a mini-moon to Aspen!
To round out the year, we hit up the big island of Hawaii, Seattle for Christmas with Laura’s family, a quick trip with SRAM to Chicago, then Santa Cruz plus Occidental on back to back days. It’s now New Years eve, the dawn of 2018 and we’re home sweet home resting up after a lot on the radar over the past 265 days. But I’m excited as ever to see where next year will take us.
Bring on the new year!