Distance makes the heart grow fonder. I'm a firm believer it's distance as measured both in space and especially time that provide many memories with a warm, fuzzy sheen. Memories skew towards the positive the longer time passes. The crummy parts ebb to the wayside, the positive parts become that much more memorable, and things are (generally) seen with rose colored glasses as they tic further and further into the past.Tell me then, what happens when a recent event is already great? Like, truly truly fantastic! It's curious when people say that was the best ____ of my life! The best sandwich, the best ski run, the best book, the best day. By the reasoning above, to proclaim the best of anything that you're experiencing now is trumping something of the recent past must make that experience now absolutely exceptional so as to supersede those glossed up memories of the past.So it's with the the tiniest bit of apprehension -- just in case I'm overstepping my memory bounds of an even better weekend that I'm somehow forgetting about -- I declare that I just closed out the best weekend of my life. And okay okay, if not the best, it was definitely a podium finisher in the top three. With a good mix of everything, it went like so:Friday morning's forecasted drizzle turned out to be more of the biblical rain that's been hitting California hard lately. I joined the Strava morning ride, which required me to be up and out the door by 6am. A soggy wet and windy crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge to meet the start and then an immediate crossing back north to tackle Hawk Hill.image1(1) Being that I was then locked out of the office until 8:30am and at this point it was only about 7:30am, I decided that this weekend really needed a morning do(ugh)nut. A ride to San Rafael ensued, where an old fashioned maple do(ugh)nut awaited my arrival. Being that it is now 8:30am, I've ridden a while, and dined, it's clearly time to start the day.image1(2) Back to the office, and it was off to work work work (yes, in fact I do work. Not just found on a bike all day, you've heard of UnTapped, yes? That's an entrepreneurial business of mine and it's with your stalwart support that I get to call it a job, wheeling and dealing in maple syrup. Please support, please purchase, please tell your friends and local bike/ski/run/coffee shops to do the same.). By mid-afternoon on this damp Friday I ducked out and made my way north to Sebastapol.There was an absolutely stunning house rented in celebration of a birthday weekend. Coincidentally it was in celebration of someone else's birthday, but given that their birthday is not for another week, yet their schedule "required" them to be here this week, I got to double up and bring my celebratory day of my birth to the weekend festivities. A magnificent home cooked meal took place highlighted most notably with the brown butter. Much like maple syrup, brown butter makes everything better. In this case, brown butter pasta. The house by now had swelled to 25 people, some old friends, some new, and it was a rocking and rolling good time late into the night....which made waking up Saturday morning before dawn the tiniest bit difficult, but knowing what lay ahead made it worth it. I hopped in my car and drove over hill and dale, through Freestone and Petaluma, down to the quaint little hamlet of Fairfax. Home to the birth of mountain biking, it was fitting to be part of the NICA year end awards ride. With teams and award recipients coming in from all around the country, it was a group of a hundred or so super pumped high school cyclists, families, volunteers, coaches, and people who make cycling great.IMG_5905IMG_5899Not just that, I've ridden Mount Tam hundreds and hundreds of times, but always on a road bike. This monumental birthday weekend was the first time I've mountain biked it, so that was fantastic. The entire day was dedicated to NICA, not just the morning jam session, so after zipping home and cleaning up, it was off to the NICA awards gala. I love the word gala. I'm not entirely sure what a gala is, as compared to say a dressed up dinner party, or a cocktail party or a black tie party, but I've decided that I'm going to attend more galas in my day. This event wasn't actually called the "NICA awards gala", but in an effort to attend more galas, I've redubbed it as so.To see the passion, the excitement, the endless curiosity these kids have is so so so inspiring. To see the dedication imparted by the volunteers and coaches, to see the shared love of the bike that the parents can share with their kids, it's collectively everything that's right about the sport. The entire day Saturday painted an ear to ear smile on my face and put my stoke level around 10.4.*A post-gala drive back to Sebastapol took place whereupon late night shenanigans occurred, primarily in the form of ice cream, peanut butter pretzels, and bourbon. A full four hours of sleep was next so that my birthday could be rung in with style! "Style" arrived at 5:50am with the morning wake up beacon of a coffee grinder rousing the house to a slow, groggy life. Not only were we going to celebrate nearly every minute of this monumental day (mind you, it's not only my birthday, but also Jackie Robinson, Justin Timberlake, and Nolan Ryan's), but we're going to watch the cyclocross world championships live at 6am. Again, on four hours of sleep.Lots of heavy eyes watched the race, followed by freshly leavened waffles, and a maple on maple on maple cake. That is maple cake with maple cream frosting and another level of maple cake atop that. Trust me, 8:30am cake is sometimes the best cake.FullSizeRender And then the icing on that cake was the post-breakfast cake bike ride. Rounding up all 25 of us is never an easy task, but by 9:01am we were pedaling. The flowing roads around Occidental rise to King Ridge which is a very very happy blast from my past. These are roads I tackled ten years ago as a neo-pro training in cycling mecca Santa Rosa. It climbs and climbs and climbs so that when you finally reach the top, you feel like you're in heaven.IMG_5944FullSizeRender_2You get to kick it with friendly cows which celebrate your arrival with an aggressive round of mooing.FullSizeRender_1Hardly a cloud in the sky, the wind was wild, the roads were stunning, and the smiles went on for miles. Then when we wrapped it all up, the recovery food was cheese purchased right next door from Cowgirl Creamery and we ate it smack in the middle of the road. (Okay, we were off the road in the parking lane, but that is pavement.) Street cheese is the eponymous name.IMG_5940January 31, 2016: from cooking to hosting to riding to high fives to hugs to birthday cards and birthday wishes to tweets to FB posts to phone calls and texts, thank you everyone who made it over the top. This memory will live long into the future with the rosiest colored glasses.*My stoke scale goes from 0-10, so 10.4 is pretty high.