Top Ten of 2020

I do a list every year but this one is rather challenging. But here goes…

  1. Knock wood. My family and I managed to avoid contracting covid-19. This includes my son who chose to stay in Thailand. Because of the strict shutdown procedures there, he was probably safer than if he had come home.
  2. Healing up. I was grounded from bike touring this year. This turned out to be a good thing because I destroyed my body doing a tour from Indiana to San Francisco in 2019.
  3. A Gimpy Old Man. Hiking has also been off the table this year as I have developed spinal stenosis. When I walk (and sometimes when I so much as stand) my lower left leg hurts. It’s caused by a pinching of my spinal cord. I received some cortisone shots in my back. They provided temporary relief but were incredibly painful. Oddly, stenosis does not affect my biking at all. In fact, one of the telltale signs of the condition is being able to bike and walk pushing something like a lawn mower without pain.
  4. Popping. Once I realized I had stenosis, I modified my stretching routine. I tried yoga that didn’t work. Then Feldenkrais which was intriguing but not for the impatient, A search of the interwebs yielded several gentle physical therapy exercises. I do them at a very deliberate pace. As my spine loosens, it pops. Not audibly but I can feel it. Not only do they help with the stenosis in my lower back, they also free up my upper back which gets tight from reading and riding. As of this writing, my stenosis pain has greatly diminished. Fingers crossed.
  5. Will He Go Round in Circles. Despite all this physical nonsense, I managed to ride 10,000 miles. Mostly I rode out and back rides from my home. A couple of these were over 100 miles. Once convenience stores (and public bathrooms) re-opened I drove an hour or two away from home to do day rides. Winners included several rides on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a trip between Fredericksburg, Maryland and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, two rides in and around Williamsburg, Virginia, and a handful of rides in Virginia hunt and wine country. One oddity so typical of 2020 in general is that I had more flat tires this year than in the previous four years combined.
  6. Reading the Pandemic Away. I read way more than I have in recent memory. In the process I discovered authors Amor Towles and Madeline Miller. Notable books include Circe (Miller), A Gentleman in Moscow (Towles), One Day (Gene Weingarten), Alexander Hamilton (Ron Chernow), This Is Going to Hurt (Adam Kay), Labyrinth of Ice (Buddy Levy), The Body (Bill Bryson), and Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier).
  7. 50 States and a Couple of Mugs of Cider. In September, I rode my 12th 50 States Ride with Kevin W. as my lone companion. The Washington Area Bicyclists Association had to get creative to keep everyone Covid safe. They did a terrific job. I rode the WABA Cider Ride for the sixth time in November. This one was solo and a bit cold. Big thanks to the WABA staff and volunteers for pulling these two events off.
  8. Take Me in to the Ballgame. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to ride my bike to Nationals Park to watch baseball games. This year in a bizarre twist the season was shortened from 162 to 60 games, with no spectators allowed. I watched 59 of 60 Washington Nationals games on TV. They were all in the eastern time zone and limits to extra innings made this relatively easy. I listened to the end of the 60th game in the car on the way back from 50 States Ride. Sadly, the Nats were not particularly competitive this year. Opening day is April 1, 2021. Maybe.
  9. Social Distancing to the Max: In March indoor gatherings all but ceased. This meant no Friday Coffee Club and no happy hours. Sad face. I quickly tired of Zoom get togethers, aided by a wonky mic on my laptop. Except for Kevin and the event volunteers and WABA staff, I saw only a handful of people all year. I avoided a social shut out thanks to Rocky, Chelli, Matt, Jessica, Leslie, and Charmaine.
  10. The Year of the Child. With the assistance of my wife and daughter, I became a bona fide couch potato. Gaslight, 7500, Rebecca, a couple of Mission Impossible movies, Luther, The Crown, and Fleabag provided entertainment on shut-in nights. The Mandalorian brought us the Child. And because ten is not enough,
  11. Tear Down That Wall! I avoided all the protests in DC. I was surprised to see that the massive crowds did not result in a huge increase in Covid cases. After the election I rode to DC to see people celebrating the Biden/Harris win. I look forward to the day in January when the disgraceful wall and fencing around the White House neighborhood comes down. How ironic that Trump wanted a wall and then put himself behind one.

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