A Last Hurrah

December is here!  Although I didn’t hit every goal I set this year, I am happy with my results.  I went for all of them and got most of them.  But, the year isn’t over.  I still have a couple more milestones to make this month interesting.

Coming into the week, I was 66,000 feet away from 700,000 for the year.  Looking at my past months I noticed I had done 72k in a month once, so I figured 700k isn’t out of the question.  Let’s go for it!  I was also just shy of 8,000 miles for 2015.  After revising the number I wanted to reach from 9,000 to 8,500 a couple months ago, I’m pretty confident I’ll hit that.
So, climbing is on the menu!
I started off easy and joined Jacob for a Roxy ride Tuesday.  If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that I know not to ride the trails on Roxyanne when they’re muddy.  It hadn’t rained for a few days so we thought we’d give it a try.
Manzanita trail started out great.  Tacky but not sticky.  Halfway up, we realized we’ll never learn.  Bit by the Roxy Mud Monster again!
We worked our way back down to the road before climbing all the way to the peak.  Dang!  That road never gets less steep!  It’s hard enough to walk up it.  Riding a bike takes perseverance to say the least.
I ended the ride with a respectable 2,400 feet.
Wednesday, I met up with Jacob and Shawn after work for another climbing session in Jacksonville.  We stuck mainly to roads, but after reaching Arrowhead Peak, we dropped back down making sure we hit Atsahu and Rail for good measure.
Another 2,300 feet under my belt for the day.
 
Having ridden at least one century every month for the last 23 months straight, Saturday was the day to make it 24 in a row.  I also wanted to climb at least 10,000 feet at the same time.
I started out at 7:30 and headed straight for Griffin Creek and Anderson Butte for a quick couple thousand feet.
I was thankful the frigid temps we’d been having had left and it wasn’t unbearably cold, even at the higher elevations, throughout the day.
After cautiously blasting back down the mountain, I headed for Woodrat.  Even with gravel and moisture covering half the road, the descent from Woodrat to Buncom is still a blast (although I prefer riding it when it’s much warmer!)
 
Next up was Cantrall Road and Negro Ben Peak.  The snow that we had to ride through last weekend was nowhere in sight and as I finished the 2,200′ climb, I was considering hiding my jacket on the side of the road since I was nice and toasty by then.
I dropped back down the steep descent and made my way toward Ruch and Jville Hill. 
With a climb up Tami Lane and Old Military Road I was about 1,600 feet away from 10k but still 40 miles from 100.  It was time to rack up a few easy miles so I hit the Greenway back to Medford and started up Hillcrest for my final bit of climbing.
 

Out of water (familiar story?) and fighting a nasty headwind for the last 20 miles of the ride, I was ready to be done for a while before I actually finished.
 
Nine hours after starting I had 100 miles and 10,200′.  Mission accomplished.
Although my legs felt like they could go on strike at any moment, I somehow talked them into a little more climbing on Sunday morning.
 
All I did was some of the Beekman, Beebe, and Britt trails, but managed to eek out another 1,700′.
 
Time for a day off!!  
This week I was able to reach 8,000 miles and 650,000 feet.  Coincidentally, since I started keeping track of my miles back in August of 2012, I just surpassed 25,000 total this week as well!!  Wow.  That seems like a lot when all I’m ever really doing is trying to have fun on a bike!  
Miles fly when you’re having fun.  Yeah….that was corny.
Aaron

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