Monday, December 31, 2012

2012--3 Big Tours, 1 Big Change, Many New Friends

As I sit awaiting the final moments of 2012, I am reflecting back on all that I accomplished these last 12 months. Uh oh, I feel a recap coming on...well, alright, here goes...

Big Tour #1 was, of course, New Zealand. I realized my dream of doing a bike tour of New Zealand to celebrate my half century mark. I spent two weeks touring the North Island with Leandra. We had a fantastic time and I think we would both list the highlight being the Black Abyss Waitomo Cave Tour. We spent 5 hours underground, abseiling, zip-lining (called Flying Fox in NZ), and tubing down an underground river while gazing at glow worms. It was an amazing adventure! In Wellington we spent a couple of days touring the Capitol city of New Zealand before going our separate ways--Leandra (unfortunately--that dang job) home, and me on to the South Island.

I spent 3 wonderful weeks touring from Picton to Queenstown along the West Coast of the South Island. I met great people, Dick and Pauline, who I saw three times, and Gerald, my Austrian hero, who gave me a ride out of the pouring rain to Fox Glacier. I'd have to say my South Island highlight would be my Heli-Hike on Fox Glacier. Taking a helicopter up to the glacier and then spending 2 hours hiking around and into the various ice features was worth every NZ dollar! I also had a fantastic adventure jet boating up the Dart River in Aspiring National Park. Between all these adventures was some of the most scenic biking I have ever done.

Upon returning home, I had just three months before my next tour of 13 days around the Olympic Peninsula with my good friends Christian from Germany and Carol from Tacoma. We called our little tour group the "C-Bikekateers". Carol and I rode from my house to Port Townsend where we met up with Christian (he flew to Vancouver, BC) and continued our tour around the Peninsula. We stayed in Sequim with some great friends of Carol's--Sue and Lee, and got to go kayaking in the waters near Dungeness Spit and the Dungeness River (it's really hard to paddle upriver). In Port Angeles, we stayed with Sue's son and girlfriend, Casey and Brigid. Christian and I took a day and rode up to Hurricane Ridge (it was 4 1/2 hours up and 45 minutes down--Woo Hoo!). Of course it rained a number of days, but we survived it (a rainy day at Lake Quinault was spent lounging in the lodge instead of riding around the lake--awwww, too bad...not!).

Three days after I returned from the Peninsula, Lorraine and I did the STP in one day. It was a long long day, but we both got our 1-Day Finisher patches!

Lorraine, Annette, and I squeezed in a week at Lorraine's cabin near the end of July. Although the river was too high and too cold to float, we managed to put in a number of hours by the pool as well as a few nice bike rides.

In mid-August I was off again on Betsy, my Bike Friday folding bike. This time to do the Canada part of the Pacific Coast Bike Route (and then some). This was definitely a multi-model tour with a train ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC and 19 separate boat rides out of 21 days. I did the Sunshine Coast and visited both sides of Vancouver Island. A highlight was a 5 hour ride on the passenger freighter, MV Frances Barkley, from Port Alberni to Ucluelet through the Broken Island Group. The scenery was spectacular and I even saw a couple of whales!

I returned to Washington via the San Juan Islands. On Orcas Island I rode to the top of Mt. Constitution where I scattered a small amount of my mother's ashes. It was a good feeling to have been able to honor her wishes.

I spent September pretending that I didn't have a car. I had actually been keeping track of the miles I had driven since January 1st. My goal was to drive less than 5000 miles for 2012. By September, I had driven just 1700 miles. So, I sold my van to my dad. It's been great!

In October, I saw a Facebook post about a Women's Meet-the-Team ride. I asked if I could come, and that was the beginning of my latest adventure. There is truth to the statement, "Never say never!" I said I would never race. Well...I joined the OOA Racing Team and, starting in March of 2013, I will be doing just that. I think the racing will be exciting and all that, but what has been the best part is all the new cycling friends I've made through this endeavor. I ridden more miles with more people (and had more fun) in the last 3 months than I ever have (except maybe the STPs). I have also worked harder to keep up than ever before! There are some crazy-fast cyclists, and I'm not just talking about the guys!

I also got to ride with the Go Get It Gals, Taryn, Michele, and Peggy. We had a blast riding in Peggy's home territory around Mossyrock. Sometimes I can't believe how lucky I am to get to have so much fun! Our latest GGG adventure was a snow day at White Pass. I tried my hand (or feet?) at snowshoeing and had a blast!

I finished out 2012 with a challenge to ride my bike 500 km in 8 days. I accomplished it in 6 days of riding (took Day 6 off to go snowshoeing and finished on Day 7).

As for 2013, I'm looking forward to racing, touring (Austin, TX to Memphis, TN--actually Little Rock AR), and hanging out with the Go Get It Gals (Taryn, Michele, Peggy, and whoever else has the GGG Spirit!)! I think it's going to be another amazing year of ADVENTURE!!!

Happy New Year to ALL my friends, old and new!

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