2014 was a different sort of year for me in terms of paddling. I paddled 378 miles in 2013 but only 136 in 2014. I didn’t enter two of my staple races because a) The Nelson Downriver Race was cancelled that year due to heavy rain and high water and b) The Wye Island Regatta organizers decided to raise the entry fee and I felt $80 was far too much for a kayaker and for a race with no swag bag and limited safety support so I stayed home that year.
I logged many miles on the bike, however, in 2014 and also paddled lots of miles indoors on my kayak ergometer.
I was also hitting it pretty hard in the gym.
I gained some clarity and amassed some knowledge on how to work out to gain strength so I became a gym rat while I continued on my No Sugars, No Grains (NSNG) journey and upped my caloric intake to support my training. Very low carbs, but lots of natural protein and good fats.
When the second Saturday in May rolled around I was stronger and lighter than I had been in at least 15 years and once again won my local downriver race on the Rivanna River in Charlottesville by more than 2 minutes. It felt really good to win two years in a row.
That’s me at the starting line in the picture below, right in the center in the orange and yellow boat
Rivanna River Race 2014
The following Sunday, May 18, 2014 I was back in Lynchburg, VA with my bike to once again peddle the 100 miles of The Storming of Thunder Ridge. The weather was much better than the year before and I actually got to take in lots of breathtaking scenery rather then just see fog and rain most of the time.
The Storming of Thunder Ridge, 2014
And when Wye Island Regatta weekend rolled around in September, I attempted another, local Century ride in Crozet, VA, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Virginia, Cycling Challenge.
From mile 75 to mile 80 I had a SAG vehicle following me the whole way so I chatted up the driver and asked if I was the last one out on the Century ride and he informed me that I was but that I should take my time that he was in no hurry and had the utmost respect for what I was doing.
I didn’t like the idea of having people waiting on me and certainly didn’t want the SAG driver leapfrogging with me for the last twenty miles and I found myself becoming the opposite of relaxed–which was the whole point of riding.
So I SAGged (SAG stands for Support And Gear, by the way) it back to the finish line and then hopped on my bike for another 20 miles so I could still ride my 100 miles that day. This was the first ride or race I ever entered where I posted a DNF.
The Boys and Girls Club of Central Virginia Cycling Challenge, 2014
That year I started logging my workouts in the gym and kept track of my progress. I was progressively lifting heavier and heavier weights and established weight training as a habit. If I missed a session I was unhappy and when I was on the road, I found a way to get to a gym on gym nights. I even started carrying kettlebells in my car with me so if I could not find a decent hotel fitness center or local gym I could still do some weighted exercises.
It was the year I transitioned from uninformed, chronic cardio kook to measured fitness enthusiast.