Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020: A Statistical Review

Summer good. Winter bad.

While many people will look back on 2020 as an all-time bad year, for me it was a year of significant accomplishments. I guess the biggest accomplishment was staying healthy during a pandemic that sickened more than 80,000,000 people worldwide and killed almost 2,000,000. Being introverted by nature and having a tiny circle of family members and close friends during even the best of times, I didn’t feel unusually isolated or lonely this year despite a succession of social distancing restrictions and guidelines. Although it wiped out Cheesehead Roubaix and my entire racing calendar, the pandemic actually created more opportunities for me than it destroyed. I got to work from home for most of the year. I even found a new job with better pay and better long-term career prospects. I took a vacation for the first time in 6 years, traveling to Pennsylvania to visit my mother. I put a lot of loving care into my home, replacing the water heater, repairing the air conditioner, turning the “family room” into my “den” now that the kids are grown and gone, and restarting the vegetable garden after a couple of years off. I read 31 novels this year, watched a bunch of great old movies, became a better cook, and never wondered for long how I would fill my time being “stuck at home.”

I rode 5,214 miles this year, my 5th highest total in 17 seasons as a cyclist. That’s 173 rides at an average of 30.14 miles per ride. I set new personal records for mileage in June, August, and September, plus a new record for most miles in a single week: 264. For the first time ever, I rode 800+ miles in 4 straight months. I bought a lot of clothing—this was the year everything wore out at once—but I spent nothing on bike parts. It’s always nice to get through a season without breaking equipment! Even without racing, this was a good year on the bike. Here are my mileage totals, month-by-month:

This was my 7th 5,000-mile season in the last 10 years. Coming into 2020, my “official” target was only 3,530 miles. That’s what I needed to reach 75,000 for my career. In 2021, I will target the 3,316 miles I still need to reach 80,000 all-time. With my recent history, I expect to exceed that target by 1,000 miles or more. But I don’t know if I will press so hard for another 5,000-mile season next year. Getting to 5,000 this year turned into kind of a job, and I wasn’t always enjoying the ride the way I should.

For me, 2020 also was notable for new approaches to cross-training and overall fitness. I added a Garmin Forerunner to my training tools, giving me a way to track walking, hiking, rucking, and snowshoeing like never before. In the 14 weeks since I started using the device, I logged 28 activities for a total of 97 miles over 26 hours. Many of those activities were motivated by the Forerunner and the Garmin Connect website—some of them I wouldn’t have done otherwise—and those numbers should increase in 2021 as I push myself to set new personal records.

Of my other goals I don’t have much to say. The new COVID-19 vaccines offer promise for an end to the pandemic, but we’re not there yet. I want to return to racing in 2021, and so far that calendar is virtually empty. In October I mentioned some worthy goals that I could pursue whether or not bike racing comes back. So, I’m optimistic about the new season despite the uncertainty. I will control what I can control and hope that additional opportunities arise.

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