2012 and beyond

“the days are long and the years are short” – Gretchen Rubin

I know, I know that was rather corny way to start this post but looking back at the year it really does seem true as a cyclist and as a parent. Looking back as a cyclist it’s been quite an amazing year with a ton of ups and downs with the downs really being pretty focused on one incident. So here’s my little year in review and what’s to come in the very near future. 

The down(s) – Though I can think of worse things to have happened having a mild heart episode on Easter would have to fall as a downer this year. Officially the hospital called it a mild heart attack with a clot large enough that they had to do an angioplasty and insert a stent while they were at it. How it happened is pretty normal but why it happened is still a bit of a mystery as I don’t have family history or any of the other medical issues or habits that would result in an episode but none the less it happened. So it’s taken a bit of time to get back to “normal” whatever that is but with the help of great Doctors I’ve been able to do everything I did prior so in the end though it’s classified as a downer it’s turned into a success. You know lemon to lemonade type of thing.

After that things only got better as one could guess. I might have pushed the boundaries of what I should have been doing at least on the bike side however I stayed within the guidelines of my Doctor and Physical Therapist finding myself promoting the Raleigh brand at the Hilly Billy Roubaix this year. Deciding after some time that riding it was also a good idea I signed up for the Single Speed category which looking back was a bit of a giant leap all considering, 70 miles with over 7,000′ of climbing the end of June (2.5 months of recovery from heart attack). Well long and short of that one, it was an amazing ride despite the couple of flats I got on the gravel roads, the poor choice of gear ratio, and the lack of a disc brake at least up front. I ended up not finishing the “race” but made it past the beer stop to the 3rd official stop before calling it a day. Would I do it again, you betcha, however next time I might actually listen better to what Gunnar has to say about bike setup. 

Raleigh Rider Brandon Halleen ripping it up!

Next up was a crazy month of July where it doesn’t seem like I was in my home state much. There was a couple family trips in there, one to Wisconsin and one to the Outer Banks which were excellent! Then there was a work trip out to Utah for the 2012 Raleigh kickoff and Dealer Camp. Getting to ride the latest/greatest in and of itself it a great time but then to add in the amazing area of which we were riding only made it that much better. To have a route to ride that included a 2,000′ climb to what felt like the top of the world (basically 9,000′) was amazing. Now add to that a CX race in July and it’s tough to get much better for a work event. I didn’t really have the gas to do anything special but to have ridden it was good enough by me. 

riding at roughly 9,000′

 

 

racing CX in Utah in July…

yep still “racing”

After that trip there was a little time to “relax” and get back to work before the next cycling event which happened to be the MS150 which is an event Raleigh has been backing for a couple of years now. This year was as good as previous years with the inclusion of some of our local Raleigh riders and Drew the Demo Driver. Good times were had on those long flat miles.

victory is ours…:)

As there were a ton more things in there the next big event once again involved getting on a plane and this time headed West to Las Vegas for Dirt Demo and Interbike. For me this was an amazing year at Interbike as I got to actually ride my bike more than just around the demo area to get some food. There was a great morning ride down to the Hoover Dam before the demo officially opened which was amazing. I was a little disappointed in myself that I had never done that ride but this year just seemed right. After a solid day of working in the sun I was asked to do a ride with the Ride 2 Recovery folks. Though I can’t say I ever had a ride from the Vegas strip to Dirt Demo on my bucket lists of rides it ended up amazing! Not only was the ride cool but getting to ride with some very inspiring Vets who were using cycling as a means to recover was incredible. It was great listening to all the various stories from all the riders! Next up was CrossVegas. I had really high hopes to finish at least at the 50% of the field mark however doing the race a day after doing 50 or so miles in the heat the day before made it a rough task at least for me. I ended up “racing” a couple of laps before waving the white flag and taking in some much needed handups.

part of the group halfway through the ride

As Vegas wound down it was time to get back to work AND get ready for another CX season in Ohio! Overall I think it was a great season and this year we saw a “ton” more riders competing in the Single Speed category which was great to see especially since we were able to put together a new NE Ohio team, the Gates/Raleigh team. It was extremely cool getting to ride not only some awesome Raleigh SSCX bikes but also getting to experience the Gates Belt Drive on a CX bike. I’m 100% sold and look forward to getting on the bike even more this year. Well as we ended the season all the Gates/Raleigh Team Cleveland riders managed to place in the top ten with Brandon taking 2nd in the series! An amazing job for sure as I had mentioned the competition had definitely increased this year. There was a ton of great CX so really too much to go into much detail here. Needless to say we’re looking forward to the 2013 season. I really want to Thank all the folks who made the 2012 Gates/Raleigh team happen and all our great sponsors, Gates Belt Drive, Raleigh, Century Cycles, FSA, TRP, Crank Brothers, and Easton.  

Looking forward there are a ton of great events on the calendar for the year and we’ll see what I’m able to fit in and when. First there is the SSCX Derby on Thursday January 31st at 7pm which if you have a SSCX bike you better be there…even if you don’t its going to be an amazing time. This will then be followed by CX Worlds which should be a great experiment on day long consumption. After that it looks like the Tour of Battenkill should rule the roost. Last year Team Raleigh showed up from across the pond so it will be interesting to see if we get to see them again this year. From there who knows but I’m sure great times will be had. 

In the meantime I’m enjoying the holidays, getting out on a Fat Bike when I can enjoying the snow, and hoping to get out on the Nordic Skis a bit at Chapin Forest. Since Wisconsin I’ve only been able to get out a couple times a year because of either a busy schedule or lack of snow. With roughly 7″ of freshly fallen snow on the ground right now it’s looking like I might be able to get out…well in-between sledding runs with the kids. 

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