2015, It’s a Wrap!

Out on the road today I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.
A little voice inside my head said:
Don’t look back, you can never look back.

Ah, sorry Mr Henley, where’s the fun in that. Those days are NOT gone forever, and I should NOT let’em go…so here’s a look back at Twenty-Fifteen.

Let’s start of with the really big picture. Strava, everyones favorite social cycling app, released its End of Year Insights data report, and the numbers are beyond impressive. Worldwide, the ride-tracking service’s users logged 115,788,472 rides in 2015, accruing a total of 2,591,134,087 miles….2.6 BILLION miles!!!! Holy crap! Ok, maybe not as many miles as McDonald hamburgers sold…

historical footnote…McDonald’s executives announce in 1994 that they would stop counting hamburgers served because the count had surpassed the 99 Billion Hamburger mark. Thereafter all the operators changed their signs to read “BILLIONS AND BILLIONS SERVED”.

…but it’s still a crap-ton of miles, and those weren’t all easy miles either as riders climbed 133 Billion vertical feet…more than enough to burn off those Big Macs and fries!

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Here in the good old US of A, Strava cyclists logged 26,320,103 individual rides racking up 539,112,239 miles along the way with 25.6 billion vertical feet of elevation.

The average ride distance for men was 23 miles, while women averaged 20 miles. Average ride times also differed, as men’s 1 hour, 54 minutes average ride put them in the saddle a bit longer than women, who averaged 1 hour, 38 minutes in comparison. Women recorded an average speed of 12.7 mph per ride, with men registering 14.6 mph.

Louisiana was the fastest state, with an average speed of 15.2 mph, while we Floridian’s topped the rankings for longest average ride at 24.2 miles. Vermont residents surprisingly out climbed Colorado and California cyclists, averaging 1,460 vertical feet, gained per ride.

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The most popular day to ride was Saturday, July 11, while Sausalito, California, was home to the most popular segment in the U.S. with 15,327 attempts on the “7-11 Bump”segment, near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Here in my little corner of the world, I spent 340 hours and 38 minutes in the saddle for a total of 6,031.4 miles…lower than my norm, but I made up for it with 118,717 feet of elevation, which ain’t too shabby considering I didn’t ride outside of “pan flat” Florida. My running totals were, well, they just were awol, as I continue to look for excuses to avoid the endless thumping, but one of my resolutions this year is to run more….definitely more than the feeble 63.9 miles I ran in 2015.

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As I mentioned, all my riding was in Florida, the vast majority of which was on our paved, non-motorized trails like the Withlacoochee Trail, Suncoast Trail and Flatwoods Park, or up in the “Mountains of Florida”, near and around San Antonio. Many of my miles were solo rides, due to my irregular hours, but the comeraderie of group riding did not escape me, as I spent many hours in the saddle with friends both new and old.

The highlights were numerous, as pretty much any ride, no matter the conditions is always special, but a few really stood out, like the Hamster Wheel 200 down in Port Charlotte, dozens of century rides with Grupetto USA, Assaulting Solomon’s Castle, KOM busting and riding through floods out at Flatwoods, the Hilly Hundred up in Brooksville, doing laps on the Skyview roller coaster, riding with Tarzan to break the HAM’R record, and of course, the dreaded Horrible Hundred, arguably Florida’s toughest cycling event.

A rather big personal achievement queitly fell this year as I “rode around the world” on The Mistress. I’ve never logged that many miles (24,901 miles) on a single bike before. It took a few years, but it was very satisfying, even if it occurred while riding in the pouring rain. One of these days I’m going to merge the data from my current and previous bikes and log apps, to get a true all-time report. I’ve got loads of data split up between Strava, Garmin Connect, Cyclemeter, Dailymile, Ritmo and Training Peaks…if only there was a global import command.

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Equipment wise, I’ve made a couple of upgrades on The Mistress, the biggest being (finally) changing out my cassette from the 11-23 to a much more climbing friendly 11-28. Our “Florida Mountains” may not be very high, but they are very steep and punchy, so the extra teeth out back were very welcomed. I’ve got some big out of state climbing rides penciled in this year, so I’ll be ditching the standard chain ring up front to a much more climbing friendly compact. The only other upgrades have been the addition new ceramic bearings…The Mistress is really dialed in, after all, there is not much you can add to a “super bike”…now if I could only say the same about the engine!

What really made 2015 an exceptional cycling year was spending time with all my cycling friends, both new and old. Whether it was a club ride, a hammer fest at an event, a training ride, or a casual ride out in the country, every ride was memorable, and I look forward to making many more memories with you in 2016.

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