After today’s 79.5 mile ride over Edinburg Gap, it can be safely said:

2008 has certainly been the Year of the Bike for me.

Sure, it started with a lot of skiing – great skiing, with great friends, old and new – but the bike played a more central role in things this year.

I set two goals for this year:

  1. Ride at least 5,000 miles for the year; and
  2. Ride at least 8 centuries.

As I write this, I’m less than 300 miles from the 5,000 mile mark, and will pass it sometime before December 1 (I’ll spend much of November overseas where I’ll be away from the bike). 5,000 miles is easy to achieve as long as it’s distributed throughout the season – which is very long here in DC. In areas where there is a more lengthy winter, there’s bound to be some “stacking of the miles” in the summer months. So as much as a grouse about the lack of winter in DC, it’s good for the bike.

As far as centuries are concerned, I’ve bagged 12 of ’em this year. The biggest one was the Shasta Summit Super Century, back in August – also the peak level of my bike fitness this year, as I was training specifically for this ride. My most recent one was the Great River Ride in Westfield, Massachusetts, over Columbus Day weekend, for which a write-up is forthcoming. And not all of these century rides were organized, supported affairs: a few were impromptu rides, and one was a solo venture that was a good test of my mettle.

I also raced a road bike for the first time in my life, which was great fun and has inspired me to race next year.

All of this riding takes its toll on equipment, so here’s a fun list of equipment used (and abused) during this season:

  • Helmets broken: 1 (replaced with the same model, Giro Atmos)
  • Chains used: 2
  • Tires used: 6
  • Tires irreparably shredded: 1 (a Michelin Pro3 Race)
  • Tubes used/replaced: 7
  • Sets of SPD-SL cleats replaced: 2
  • Rear derailleurs replaced: 1 (and Campagnolo gear, as well – ouch!)
  • Cassettes replaced: 1 (again, Campganolo stuff – double-ouch!)
  • Bottom brackets totaled: 1
  • Brake pads replaced: 4
  • Quick-release wheel skewers replaced: 1
  • Jerseys bought: 4

If you drag my mountain bike into this list (it does account for about 12 percent of my miles ), you can add 4 replaced brake pads, 1 replaced cassette, 1 replaced chain, 3 replaced tires, one replaced wheel and 2 broken spokes to the list.

(Given that some of these things, mostly the mountain bike ones, were accrued during my commute, I’m hoping that my employer decides to honor the Bicycle Commuter Act that was signed into law as part of the $700 billion financial bailout package: $20 a month for bike parts would help!)

Also worth noting is the states in which my wheels hit the road: Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, California, and the District of Columbia (not technically a state, but… well, you know).

So that’s it. We’ll see what 2009 holds in store. I’ll definitely race some more, and perhaps a multi-day bike trip with my friends is on tap. I hope to get my mountain bike on the trails a bit, and to ride more with sprite.

So here’s to Rudi’s Year of the Bike! May 2009 (and the rest of 2008) be as fun!