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Giant Robot
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 477 days of trail riding every day, "The Streak" finally ended on Christmas Eve, 2009. Let me explain...

As of mid 2008 I was already riding very regularly, usually 5-6 times a week, and I remembered an older Bike column in which Mike Ferrentino attempted to ride every day for 50 days straight. Like Ferrentino, I fell short of this original goal, in my case pooping out at 34 days due to traveling to Indonesia (I did take a bike with me, but I found it pretty difficult to ride while in a plane or airport for 35 hours straight). Anyway, once I got back from Asia, it was game on.

Starting Sept. 3, 2008, my original goal was 50 rides, in homage to the Ferrentino column that inspired me. It then became 100, then 122 (roughly a third of a year), then 183 (half a year), then 244, then 365. After a year, my goals became less specific beyond keeping it going for as long as I could. More on that later.

I used certain requirements for a ride to "count." It had to be at least 40 minutes long and contain at least some singletrack.

Several factors made it possible for me to pull off the streak. For one, I'm a graduate student, which means that while I'm quite busy (or at least should be), my schedule has been rather flexible--it's not a 9 to 5 job. Also contributing to this flexibility is the fact that until last Thurs, I did not have any kids. Another important factor is that I was living in southern CA for the vast majority of the Streak, which meant that the weather usually made riding possible. There were also two (smallish) trail systems that I could do from my garage in socal, which meant that it was usually easy to squeeze in a ride. Lastly, I'm married to a supremely supportive woman who was extremely patient in her approach to my near obsession.

Nonetheless, the streak wasn't effortless. While I lived in socal most of the time, I took three trips to NC over the course of the streak, as well as one road trip to the Pacific NW with my wife. I also moved back to Western NC just before the end of the streak. The weather on the east coast, especially in the winter, can be more limiting when it comes to trying to ride every day. Even in ridiculously sunny socal, it does actually rain (though it's often quite welcome since it means the return of traction and landscape colors other than brown). Rainy weather typically required more effort since it limited me to trails that drain well. Even then, I almost always carried a trowel so that I could do tread maintenance while the ground was softer, digging knicks, etc. There were several rides in which I did more maintenance than actual riding. The alternative, at least in NC, was to simple ride while it was below freezing (usually at night or early morning) so that wet trail surface was frozen rather than muddy. There are still conditions in which it would not have been possible or desirable for me to ride (lots of snow, serious injury, flooding, locusts, melting snow on the ground but above freezing temperatures, plague, etc...). Thus I lucked out to some degree in avoiding these conditions.

Aside from some degree of obsessive determination, much of what kept me going was the simple fact that every day was a better day if it contained a ride. Regardless of conditions, nagging equipment issues, or sub-par riding ability, I always felt better after even the most perfunctory rides. This relief has been essential for me as I've navigated a doctoral program and started a family.

The Streak finally ended last thursday, Christmas Eve, when my daughter was born. My wife woke up with contractions around 3 am. Given that this was more than week earlier than we were expecting (she was due today, actually) and that we had just moved into a new place, there was a lot to do to prepare the house and support my wife for the birth. Combined with pretty horrible trail conditions in WNC, the Streak was no more. Of course, a healthy baby girl is not a bad consolation prize...

I'll follow up shortly with some ride stats (where I rode, what I rode, with whom I rode, etc.) and some pics.
 

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Premium Member
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Great story, very cool indeed..... You will very much enjoy the Journey / Streak of having a daughter...

Be great to see stats and pictures etc..
 

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Giant Robot
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185 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Where I rode

Ok, now that I've rinsed some diapers, I'll attempt to list the trails I rode during the Streak by state (or province). I did consciously try to boost the variety of trails I rode, but not at the expense of riding trails I knew that I didn't like. Some of these I rode more probably more than 50 times, others only once while passing through on road trips.
Here goes, in the order that they occur to me:

ARIZONA:

Templeton Trail (Sedona)

ARKANSAS:

Burns Park (Little Rock)

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Mt. Seymour (CBC, parts of TNT, Baden-Powell)
Mt. Fromme (7th Secret, Pipeline, etc.)

CALIFORNIA:

UCI campus trails (Irvine, not mapped, very short, but easy fun from my garage)
Turtle Rock (Irvine, another small system within riding distance from home)
Aliso Wood Canyon Wilderness Park (Aliso Viejo: 5 Oaks, Rock-it, Telonix, etc.)
San Juan Trail (a wet weather stand-by, with and without the upper loop, Viejo Tie, etc)
Chiquito (in the Santa Anas also)
Los Pinos (ditto)
Bell Ridge (ditto)
Trabuco Canyon
The Luge
Fullerton Loop
Whiting Ranch
Turnbull Canyon (Whittier)
Iron Mtn. (Poway)
Noble Canyon (in various forms, including Indian Creek, Big Laguna, Los Gatos, etc.)
Santa Ana River Trail
Goat Trails (Palm Springs)
Blue Ridge Trail (backside of the San Gabriels)
Jackson Lake trails (ditto)
Mt. Lowe (Upper and Lower Sam Merrill, Mt. Lowe East, Sunset, El Prieto--before the fire)
Pt. Mugu
Romero Canyon (Santa Barbara)
Elings Park (same)
Santa Cruz Trail (aka Little Pine, also in Santa Barbara)
Cannell Trail (Kernville)
Soquel Demo Forest (Ridge, Sawpit, Braille)
Camp Tamarancho
Joaquin Miller State Forest
Skeggs Point
Paradise Royale (White Thorn)
Salt Creek (also known by other names, in Three Rivers, just outside of Sequoia NP).
Lower Rock Creek (between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop)
Woodward City Park (Fresno, believe it or not)

GEORGIA

Bear Creek

KENTUCKY

Land Between the Lakes

NORTH CAROLINA

Heart Break Ridge (Black Mountain ish)
Kitsuma
Bent Creek (Asheville)
Trace Ridge
Squirrel Gap (+Horse Cove and Mullinax)
North Slope
Sycamore Cove
Daniel Ridge Loop
Long Branch
Bennet Gap
Dupont State Forest (Big Rock, Burnt Mtn, etc.)
Coleman Boundary (Stair Creek, etc.)
Tsali
Owl's Roost (Greensboro)
Wild Turkey (ditto)
Chapel Hill High School trails
unnamed trail system on absentee private land behind my mother in law's former house
Clayton trails (Clayton)
New Light trails (east of Durham)

OREGON

Mt. Ashland (Time Warp, Cat Walk, etc.)
Alpine Trail (fantastic, in Oak Ridge)
Phil's Trails (Bend)
Surveyor's Ridge (Hood River)
Powell Butte (Portland)

TENNESSEE

Loch 4 (Gallatin)
Hamilton Creek (Nashville)
Chickasaw Trace
Franklin State Forest

TEXAS

Palo Duro Canyon (Canyon)

UTAH

Gooseberry Mesa (Hurricane)
JEM (ditto)
Guacamole (Rockville)
Zen Trail (St. George)
Bearclaw Poppy (ditto)

WASHINGTON

Ape Canyon Trail (Mt. St. Helens)
I-5 Colonnade MTB Park (Seattle)
Galbraith Mtn. (Bellingham)
 

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Jeez, I think I'd be happy if I could get my streak to 2 or 3 days. I'm not normally home and just started getting into biking again this fall, but can't wait for the spring. Congrats on the baby and on the streak. Now get out there and start a new one.
 

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Nice story! And congratulations on the birth of your child.

I found that while my kids were really small, it made a lot of sense to ride pre-dawn. That way I could still be useful to my wife and kids throughout the day rather than be absentee. Best of luck!
 

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That's awesome. Congrats on the baby. I would love to match that by only 1%, maybe when basketball season is over and I'm not constantly couped up in hotels

Any advice on finding a spouse like yours? Or maybe she has a sister or mom? :eekster:
 
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