The spring cycling season is upon us and, although we rode throughout the winter, we are riding even more now. As we celebrate the beginning of a new cycling season in Western North Carolina, we are also reflecting on the Off-Season To-Do List.
We added to this list all year long… and by November it was a mile-long. No problem, the season doesn’t begin until April, right?
Of course it is only marginally shorter now, but we have some great accomplishments and lots of gratitude to share with you.
Here is a list of twelve things that we did last winter:
We took a well-earned vacation in Folly Beach, South Carolina with our dog Tyler. Tyler works hard during the season too, and he leaped and ran for joy on our vacation, as you can see here…
2. Enjoyed Thanksgiving
in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and enjoyed a snowy drive along the Skyline Drive. Yup, we just can’t stay away from beautiful roads, even in the off-season.
the United Healthcare Cycling Team Gala at the Orange Peel and bumped into many of our great friends from the cycling world including Mike Nix, Ally Stacher, John Murphy, Brent & Jamie Bookwalter, PJ Mears, Susan Casar, Wendy Coin and many more. We admired the men’s team, and we were blown away by the strong women’s team. So awesome to have a pro team practicing in our backyard (we’re seeing them training all the time now in our home town).
4. Cycled the Virginia Creeper Trail
from Damascus to White Top… and back in chilly January. This cold ride was made double-special by a visit of our friend Brien Sesby, who also is distinguished for his Best Man duties at our wedding way back when.
5. Velo Girl Rides Moved…
into a new shop and warehouse (you can’t believe how much gear is used to put on an bicycle event like CycleToFarm or the Bookwalter Binge). We have a little corner in the Eastside Business Park in Black Mountain, which is better known as the home of Pisgah Brewing, the location of Dynamite Roasting Co headquarters, and the location of New Sprout Farm‘s office. We are definitely in good company…
Soon after moving into our new digs, we found the perfect roommate. Sake Yama, a Sake retailer also calls Suite 309 home, and founder Domenic Alonge rides with us as often as his crazy start-up schedule will allow. What’s Sake? We quickly learned that it’s not Japanese Wine, a popular misconception… in fact, it is totally appropriate for Asheville, aka Beer City. We’ll have more to say about this soon…
7. Continuing Education
Attended bicycle maintenance class at Appalachian Bicycle Institute. We highly recommend Jenny Kalista as a teacher and mechanic. She helped me learn that cleaning your bottom bracket is fun! We did the annual overhaul and maintenance on our own bikes this year, and learned a ton (and in some cases, re-learned).
8. More Continuing Education
David added to his EMS certifications, by becoming a Certified CPR Instructor and now he can teach others to save lives.
9. And Even New Education!
I became a licensed ham radio operator. Why you ask? Because many of our events and tours are held on routes that have poor cell phone reception and using a radio repeater improves communications, especially in emergencies. My call sign is K4VGR. David has been licensed for many years. His call sign is N7FRL.
Throughout the winter, we continued to offer the weekly Social Ride and, for the most part, the weather cooperated. Although it isn’t the same as in-season miles, these are still miles. And lets not forget, we love to ride, and we love to ride with our peeps.
We provided first aid and EMT support by mountain bike on the route of the Asheville Marathon & Half Marathon held on the Biltmore Estate.
While David spent weekends during his high school years climbing in Yosemite, this was my first trip to the park and it did not disappoint. The Billstrom Family gathered to celebrate David’s mother’s special birthday in March, and all generations had a great time exploring, playing, hiking, reminiscing, eating, and yes, there was a little drinking going on too.
We had an amazing “off-season” and we are so grateful for family, friends and clients who make this life a very good one indeed.
Now, back to that long list of things to do…