A Reflection on 2012, and Biking Goals for 2013
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On January 27, 2012, I was enduring the final Friday of my life at Lockheed Martin. After the weekend, I would fill out final paper work, turn in pagers, and purge my office of those final few things that had made it home for the better part of a decade. I would literally skip out the door of B157 for the last time. I would not be able to suppress laughter, finally free.
Throughout my engineering career, I had been a classic ENTJ (Myers-Briggs). I had used my intuition and reliance on facts to seek out the truth. In the process, I had forged out what my then-boss might have called a mediocre career. He would have never so brash as to actually it to me. In the final months of that career, I had listened to my heart. It wasn’t time to leave It was a time to do things I wanted to do.
Changes came, almost immediately. Gone was the tension and pressure of work. Gone was the schizophrenic separation of work and home. Gone was the sublimation of everything to the greater glory of Lockheed Martin.
A partially finished canvas sat in the Family Room. A background had been roughed in, growing over time. Splashed on it were family, friends, and a fuzzy future. Using my new found time, I mixed the paints, and took up the brush. I began filling in my relationship with Marian, my wife of, then 32 years. My daughter came into sharper focus. And my son, David, took shape. Added in were four trips to Wyoming, relocating my father to assisted living, and an unexpected World Series win for the Giants.
The transition was amazingly easy. The start of my day shifted from a 0545 start each morning, to getting up when I was ready. That turned out to usually be about 0800. I’ve set the alarm clock about a half dozen times. I had time to watch Silent Sunday Night’s on TCM. If I chose, I could watch movies all day long, but haven’t found the time to do that. And I culled out almost all of my work clothes, wearing a tie four times for the rest of the year. I gathered my family, did a show and tell of numerous Lockheed Martin awards gathered up over the years. They sit in a box in the attic, no longer relevant. And it was done.
Our biggest experiment was learning to adventure. We took the audacious step of translating our mountain biking into touring. Our existing bikes were unsuitable. We had no proper gear for camping. And we picked one of the more difficult tours, the Pacific Coast Highway. With no clear idea if we were able, we took a train to Seattle, and rode the inland route as far as Cathalmet. After enduring two weeks of rain, we turned back to our pickup point at Kelso. A few weeks later, we traveled to Astoria, and biked down almost all of the Oregon Coast to Gold Beach. Our son, David, made the long drive from San Jose to pick us up each time.
We learned much about ourselves. I confirmed that Marian is tougher and more stubborn than I am. Nor are we aren’t thirty-somethings. Our best distances will usually be about 40-60 miles. I finally began to learn the difference between a journey and a destination. I still need to accept, with better grace, the interruptions of life on our tours. We wanted to do more, but were denied for the rest of the year.
Late in the year, we began looking to the next biking season. Those who know me, realize I have little use for New Years resolutions. I am a goal-oriented person. However, I am not a slave to the tradition of frantically coming up with a list for an arbitrary date on a calendar. New Year’s resolutions are seldom attained. Pressure immediately builds. The way becomes hard. The goals seem less desirable. By the end of January, most resolutions have been abandoned. By the end of February, the resolutions have been repressed. As certain as night follows day, those guilty memories will surface in December.
We came back from a Wyoming Christmas, intent on preparations for a Mountain Biking trip to Moab in mid-March. I immediately fell ill to the flu plague sweeping the country. My vaccine failed to protect me. A mishap befell Marian, and we did not begin training until 21 January. We jotted down what we want to do in 2013, and our dance card is pretty full. We hope to accomplish the following:
- 3000 bike miles for the year
- 400 bike hours for the year
- Go to Moab in mid March for a week – Mountain bike our son, David, and my brother-in-law, Jim (we will only be 8 weeks into our 23 week preparation sequence)
- Go to Klamath Fall, before Summer and ride the Rails to Trails out and back. If we time it, we may try to attend some plays in Ashland Oregon.
- Ride over Mount Hamilton to Livermore sometime during our 23 training sequence
- Ride the Alleghany Gap from either Pittsburgh to Washington DC, or the other way. With the weather conditions on the East Coast, we will probably do this ride either in late Spring, or early Fall. As part of that trip, we would like to visit Marian’s Uncle Bud. We hope to have an opportunity to take in some the Nation’s Capital, and the Antietam and Gettysburg Battlefields. We’ve offered this trip up to our siblings, with the possibility of meeting them at one or more of the locations.
- Do at least one more segment of the PCH this year. The remaining are Crescent City to San Jose, San Jose to Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara to the Mexican Border
And, what of 2014? We have cast our eyes to Europe. The North German Plain flows in an arc from Le Havre to Warsaw, near the North Sea and the Baltic, with few hills and no mountains. And, finally, we will knock on the door of my long suffering sister-in-law, Cathy, and her husband, Ian. As we stand there, with our bikes, on the front step in Bambury, it remains to see who will be the more surprised. Us or them?
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