A Look Back at 2013

It’s already February and I neglected to use the month of January to take stock of 2013. Now that I am laid up with back spasms I thought I’d give this a go. In no particular order here’s my top ten of 2013.


  1. Thanks for the Diploma, Hil. My daughter Lily graduated from Maret ending our family’s seven years at the school. It’s an astoundingly well run place and we will miss the many characters we encountered on a regular basis. The graduation speaker was Hillary Clinton. There is no truth to the rumor that Lily will be her running mate, but Hil and Lil would be a great sounding ticket.
  2. Hey Bulldog. Lily started college at Butler University. She wanted to get away from the east coast and go somewhere warm. She got it half right. Indianapolis is a tad west of the Gulf Stream. Brrr. She’s adapting to college well though
  3. Heaven, Thy Name Is Rosario’s.  Lily’s college decision came down to a choice between Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas or Butler. Last spring, we flew down to San Antonio and checked out Trinity. It’s a fine school. Nearly everyone who graduates gets a job…in Texas. That was a bit too much of a commitment for Lily. While there, we found the bestest Tex Mex restaurant in the known universe. It’s called Rosario’s and it’s a mile south of the Riverwalk tourist nest. If you go anywhere near San Antonio, check it out. YUMMY!
  4. I Can Quit Now. After 30 years, I am now eligible to retire from the federal government. It has been an up and down ride but one of these days, I will take Uncle Sam up on his offer of a very long paid vacation. Sadly, it won’t end well.
  5. Knocking Wood. Mrs. Rootchopper went through hell in 2011 (thunderclap headache and getting run over by an SUV) and 2012 (cancer surgery and radiation therapy), ultimately leading to losing her ability to enjoy food or even eat solids and lost 50 pounds.  Her sense of taste mostly returned and she returned to a healthy weight in 2013. Lord willing, she will never have to gag down another bottle of Ensure.
  6. Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Lily and I attended a DC high school baseball championship semifinal game at Nationals Park. Maret won the game and, later, the city championship. My son Eamonn and I went to a Nats game and laid waste to “Take on Me”. We went to see another Nats game at which Lily became close personal friends with William Howard Taft. The only reason I don’t go to more Nats games is that they happen to fall on days when the biking weather is great. (So I’ll just have to ride to the games in 2014, right?)
  7. Back to Back Again. In 2012, Lisa and I did most of the 50 States ride as well as the Backroads metric century together on the same weekend. Let’s just say it was a tough couple of days in the saddle. Since she dropped out of the 50 states before finishing, I agreed to a return engagement. We rode the entire 50-States ride together in 2013 except for the last 3 miles when we became separated in a downpour amid a construction zone. We both finished. The next day, I went back to Backroads and did the metric with new bike friends Kristen and Elizabeth. It was a great ride with excellent riding companions, but I am going to be a little less aggressive with event rides in the future.
  8. Blood and Chatter and Pumpkins, Oh My. I did a slew of event rides during the year. . In April I rode the Monument to Monument ride. It was a bit of a miserable experience seeing as how my lungs didn’t want to function, but the other riders tolerated my slow speed. During the ride I met Mike, an affable rider who can talk the paint off a bike frame.  John Roche organized another Hoppy 100 ride. He even arranged for us to rescue a cyclist who had crashed on the South Capitol Street bridge. Riding and drinking are fun but add blood to the mix and you’re really talking about a good time. During the 50-States ride Mike reappeared and gave me a rousing welcome when I pulled into the rest stop at his house in Tacoma Park. He later organized a ride to the Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport. The ride and the museum were terrific. Bob (Don’t Call Me Rachel) and Jeremy Cannon and I ride the Great Pumpkin ride in October. We were joined by John Roche. We were thankful that no blood was spilled. I also did the Vasa ride in March and WABA’s new cider ride in December. Twas cold. Both times.DSCN2231
  9. A Lighter Engine. After many attempts, I finally decided to get serious about the SEC diet. SEC stands for stop eating crap. It works remarkably well. I lost 25 pounds in four months. Sadly, my hill climbing still sucks. So if you are riding with me this year, have mercy.
  10. Friday Coffee Club and #BikeDC. Increasingly, cycling is becoming a social activity for me. This started back in 2006 when, after meeting during the 50-States ride, Charmaine got me riding with the Bike Friday Club of DC. I added rides with Shane and Jeff, friends that I met during the 2007 50-States ride. I met Mary at the 2010 50-States ride. And the snowball really started to pick up steam. Then she co-founded Friday Coffee Club. Bike riding around here is an introvert’s nightmare. And a whole lot of fun.



5 thoughts on “A Look Back at 2013

  1. Just thought I’d let you know that there’s some bike doin’s in your area of the county. Repaving Sherwood Hall Lane to 4 lanes instead of the 2 — no bike lanes? Yikes! Some of your local colleague cyclists are mobilizing. Hope your back allows you to speak up. Community meeting on February 11th at 7:30 p.m. at the Gum Springs Community Center to discuss the Sherwood Hall Lane pavement markings and will try to have a copy of the conceptual design for our review.

    1. I haven’t seen any notice of this. Not the change or the meeting. Considering the fact that my wife was nearly killed on SHL I think maybe VDOT needs to back off of this one. Also, speeding is already a problem. Turning a Lane into a Highway is not the way to go.

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