Farewell to 2021

Another interesting year has come and gone (nearly). Covid continues its unwanted presence in new variants – delta and now omicron. Just wonder how much of the Greek alphabet will be introduced to the general public. Fortunately, the immediate family has remained free of the virus with all of us being fully vaccinated and boosted. Although the missus is currently recovering from flu symptoms (test came back negative). Could take a lengthy detour and provide comments to the Covid situation – testing, variants, non-vaxers, mask mandates, etc. but not appropriate here. Let’s stay focused on what matters: cycling and food (in whichever order you prefer).

Spent time at our southern retreat in Nov and Dec, with the Missus and without. Really becoming less and less tolerable of the cold and would greatly prefer to winter down south. Used to prefer cycling outdoors in almost any temperature as long as the roads were clear over spending time in the garage making puddles on the floor during a Zwift or TrainerRoad workout. Not so much anymore; done with having frozen water bottles – not to mention feet and fingers. Latest change to the indoor setup was moving inside down to the basement. The Missus is now able to park her car in the garage for the first time since we bought the house back in 1997. She’s very happy that her windshield scraping days have ended. The basement isn’t too bad – more temperate than the garage which has its pluses and minuses. Purchased 2 4’ x 10’ 3/8” pre-cut heavy duty rubber rolls (each weighs 88 pounds) and a Kickr Headwind fan. Shipping charges on the rolls were half the price of two rolls – hefty indeed! The Headwind is overpriced (same as the stand/table) but does an excellent job, on 100%, of preventing puddles. We’ll see how it performs on rides longer than 2 hours. May have to procure another and set it behind the trainer for a simultaneous head and tail wind.

No new routes during the first stint in the Sunshine State but able to ride outside everyday without any snivel gear. Covered 419 miles and almost 2,700 ft of elevation (don’t laugh, it’s Florida) over 8 days.

FL pics from the bike:

Nothing overly exciting on the food front although did make my first loaves of brioche bread. Apparently, the best breads are those that take 2 days – various rise times and temperatures before baking.  Also made roasted garlic Tuscan bread.  Did have fried gator along with a flight of craft beers at Keel and Curley Winery not to mention several standard meals and a Friday stop at the roadside hotdog vendor and two different trips for milkshakes at Parkesdale Farm Market; they do more than just strawberry in off-season.

In between Sunshine state trips was mostly Zwift rides with a few exceptions; a cold and windy Black Friday ride with several other hardier local riders and a 6-hour solo venture on Skyline Drive of 94.5 miles and over 10K feet of climbing.

Back to sun and flats for an 18-day solo trip. Discovered several new routes headed east, southeast, and southwest. Beginning initial exposure to 200k and 300K rides in preparation for the Grand Randonees in May 2022. A total of 1,112 miles with 5 rides exceeding 100 miles including two 200K and one 300K rides. The 200K rides weren’t too bad as many hilly centuries take about the same time (6 hours) as a flat ~125 miles. The flat 300K was the longest (distance) ride to date: 186 miles in 9 ¼ hours, at 20.2 mph and nearly 6800 KJ. The feet were the biggest problem; not really hot-foot type sensation but more of a neuropathy-like tingling. Regardless, long day in the saddle but still have another 100K to go for Day 1 of the Treasure Cove. Luckily I know someone very knowledgeable about training plans who’s generous with his time and created a training regimen that will definitely contribute to a successful experience.

FL pics from neighborhood walks:

The Missus and girl child once again tag-teamed to make a treasure trove of Christmas cookies. This year they added two new ones: ginger molasses (very good) and GF red velvet (not so much), and; modified one, fudge, for a definite improvement. Not that previous years’ versions were bad, they were extremely challenging to remove from the bakeware and were nearly 2 inches thick. Every bite was a mouthful that wasn’t the easiest to chew.

Ended the 2021 cycling calendar by completing the Rapha Festive 500 with 630 Km over 8 days from Dec 24 – 31. Actually completed the 500 Km with just using the 6 outdoor rides thus meeting the traditional standard not including virtual rides – so take the Si!May 2022 be a better normal as it will certainly bring new baking experiences: received a cast iron Dutch oven, proofing baskets and the book Flour Water Salt Yeast: The fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by Ken Forkish.

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