Mile 0 – That’s where I was on January 1, resetting my exercise mileage clock and heading out for a brisk bike ride along the James River in Lynchburg while most were still snoozing off their booze from the night before. I end the year this evening sitting in Pennsylvania, a place I am once again happy to call home. The exercise clock today sits at 2,361 miles, good miles traveled by bike and foot. What a ride it has been.
From the Blue Ridge Parkway to Virginia’s Creeper Trail, from the cornfields of Cumberland County to the rail trails of Lebanon and Lancaster Counties, from the hilltops of Pittsburgh, to the lake at North Park, I’ve had some great excursions over the past twelve months. In 2014 I pedaled 1,544 miles (which included a hefty one-week trek on the GAP and C&O). With no mega trip in 2015, I surpassed last year’s mileage by close to 250, ending with 1,786 miles pedaled – not too shabby for someone who “hated” biking just three years ago!
The running shoes, though not worn as often these days (thank you knees), also saw a bit more pavement, jumping from 297 to 368 miles. Hikes, walks, and workouts on the elliptical made up the balance – a good heart-healthy year to be sure.
Of course there was more to 2015 than the biking and running. My trusty Canon 5D got a pretty good workout as well with the walking bridge on the Appalachian Trail in Tyro (Virginia), the overlook of Sharp Top in Bedford (Virginia), and the waterfalls of Ricketts Glen in northern Pennsylvania serving as awesome hikes and beautiful backdrops for some of my picture-taking adventures. There were riverboats and sunflowers, war museums and covered bridges, battlefields and cornfields – a pretty productive shooting season all around.
The biggest news, though, was the move up I-81, back north of the Mason-Dixon and into Central Pennsylvania. Receiving a perfect offer from The American Red Cross in April, I packed my belongings and moved back home in May. I couldn’t be happier with the decision – professionally and personally.
Of course this year also had its losses, and I would be remiss to not mention those as well. September saw the passing of the most wonderful Godmother a guy could have when Hedy, who also happened to be my mom’s best friend, made her final journey. Always a big part of my life, she will be ever missed. Then there’s Bruce and Max, two VES (Virginia Episcopal School, my previous employer) legends who were also called home. Both were true Southern Gentleman, people who impacted thousands of lives over storied careers at a school they both loved so dearly. May all three rest in peace.
So, that’s that. 2,400 miles later, another year is coming to a close, a new one about to begin. Time to once again reset the mileage back to 0.
There’s many more miles to travel, places to explore, and people to meet. Tomorrow is as good a day as any to get started on my new journey. I know I’m ready, are you?