I had such a wonderful year on the bike. I met a lot of awesome people, went on some amazing rides and pushed myself to break a few personal records. Here are some of my bike highlights of 2015.
4,500 miles in a year!?!
My goal this year was to ride 3,000 miles. As of December 30, I've ridden 4,557 miles. That is more miles than I've put on the bike in the past 5 years combined! I've spent 312 hours riding - that's equivalent to 13 days! Wow!
After finishing just shy of 3,000 miles last year (with 1,600 in the last three months) I was pretty confident that I'd be able to hit 3k in 2015. Before last year, it had been 10 years since I had gotten close to that figure. Besides there being almost no rain, one of the other biggest contributing factors to my time on the bike was that I no longer commute to the bay area for work. Most of my career has been spent on the other side of the Altamont Pass. Those really long days meant less time on the bike. Now that I am working relatively close to home, those 20-30 mile rides after work are much easier to do. As were the occasional bike commute to work days. At 15 miles each way, I love riding to work when I can.
20,000 all-time miles
I didn't even notice until just before Summer that I was approaching 20,000 all-time miles since I bought my first road bike in 2003. The first 10,000 miles took five years, the second took nearly seven and a half years. I've made a vow to myself to not take as much time for my next 10,000 miles.
Performance Great Ride Series
I first joined the Performance ride on the last Sunday in 2014. I had met the ride leader, Tyler, before and finally decided to see what his Great Ride Series was all about. From the moment I rode up I realized he had something special. He is a great ride leader and advocate for cycling. He makes everyone feel welcome. Since then, I've joined the Performance ride on a handful of Sundays and an occasional Saturday throughout 2015. I've met a lot of great people on these rides that have encouraged me and pushed me harder than I could push myself. It's really a great group of men and women!
Even though his rides are fast, he is one of the most welcoming ride leaders I have come across in my 12 years on the bike. The Stockton cycling community is lucky to have him. Like most group rides, his riders usually break out into three different groups and everyone is very supportive of one another. Tyler's rides are truly no-drop and I always get a great work out. I don't often get multiple PRs on a single ride, well, unless I'm riding with Tyler and his crew.
Delta Valley Velo and the Delta Pedalers
I met a few Delta Pedalers from Brentwood in December 2014 when they joined our SJBC Ho Ho Holiday ride. Mary, Mary, Bonnie and Kim made such a wonderful impression on me that I couldn't wait to ride with them again. I joined them and their Brentwood partners, Delta Valley Velo, for Mary's Birthday ride in March. That was a great ride up Mines Road to the Junction at Del Puerto Canyon.
On that ride I met many of the Delta Valley Velo (DV2) riders and they invited me to come out and ride with them.
A handful of times in 2015 I drove out to Brentwood and rode with the DV2 crew. This is another awesome group of riders. A lot of very, very strong riders and everyone is so friendly and supportive of one another. I always have an awesome time when I ride with DV2. There are some great roads out there, like Holland Tract and the awesome ride out to Los Vaqueros Dam! I also rode the American River Bike path with the Delta Pedalers from Discovery Park to Folsom where we stopped and had a great lunch at Q'bolé. These two groups from Brentwood are so much fun and truly classy and friendly cyclists.
San Joaquin Bike Coalition
We had a successful year in 2015. We had a new date and location for our Best Ride Ever Ride and had our best turn out ever! We even had a 7 year boy from Palo Alto complete the full century (with his mom). We were a little nervous with him riding out on some of those roads, but ultimately, we were glad that we supported his goal of riding 100 miles, even if it meant driving by with a SAG wagon a couple of times a few hours after the event ended and the course closed to make sure they had enough food and water.
The 2015 San Joaquin Bike Fest was the best one yet! Our annual fundraiser for the SJBC and the Emergency Food Bank was fantastic this year! We opted to make all of the rides free and raised all of the money from generous sponsors! Bike Fest was such a blast this year!
We provided free bike valet parking at the Lodi Farmer's Market and had the chance to meet a lot of great people and see a lot of awesome bikes!
We had a lot of very fun LSD (Long Slow Distance) rides in 2015 and introduced the SJBC to a lot of new riders. I'll continue to lead our LSD rides the first Saturday of every month. If you're looking for a relaxed pace 10 or 30 mile ride, come join us!
And I can't forget our annual Ho Ho Holiday rides. We once again hosted a couple of evening rides in the Miracle Mile and Meadow Drive neighborhoods showing off our decorated bikes and looking the homes all lit for Christmas.
The City of Stockton is going through an update to the bicycle master plan and I am proud of our organization's support of those efforts.
Full Moon Ride
Hey, who wants to go ride bikes through downtown Stockton at night? Well, it turns out, a lot of people do! I met Cindi Fargo, the new CEO of the Downtown Stockton Alliance, earlier in the year. Cindi had this great idea to get riders downtown in the evening and showcase a restaurant after the ride (Meet, Ride, Eat). During the weekdays, Downtown Stockton is pretty active, but after 6 PM, there aren't a lot of people downtown (which means not a lot of traffic). She and her team came up with the Full Moon Riders concept and we quickly put together a new and fun bike event in Downtown Stockton. The Downtown Stockton Alliance partnered with REI, Performance Bikes, Robby's Bikes and the San Joaquin Bike Coalition and we hosted 5 bike rides, all on full moon nights. I had a great time leading the first one, and hoped to get 20-30 riders. We had over 60 that first time and had a blast riding around downtown and out to Victory Park. The rides grew in popularity and we regularly saw over 100 riders each month. It was a blast working with the DSA and the other groups on this fun new event!
We are excited to bring the Full Moon Rides back to Downtown Stockton in 2016. Keep an eye out for more info as we get closer to Spring.
The coast ride
My friend and fellow SJBC board member, Daniel, and I had some great rides in 2015, but none as epic as the coast ride! We drove to Carmel and rode from there to Big Sur with a lunch and beer stop at Big Sur Tap House before heading back to Carmel. When we got back to his car we rode into Pebble Beach and the gorgeous 17 Mile and Scenic Drives.
I have never been on Highway 1 on my bike before! That was amazing and terrifying at the same time. Riding south on Highway 1 gave us some incredible views, and a cliff just to our right that kept my focus on where I was and what I was doing. Man, one wrong move and it's bye-bye-Matt.
80 miles, 6,300 feet of climbing. Wow. Certainly one of my favorite rides ever!
Stockton to Diablo
I love riding Mount Diablo. It is such a wonderful climb, especially from the south gate. I have climbed it too many times to count. Sometimes I win, sometimes the mountain wins, but I always feel a special kind of magic on those awesome switchbacks.
Living in Stockton, we have a great distant view of Diablo. For years I have looked west and said aloud, "one day, I'm going to ride to you".
Well, on July 19, I finally did it. On that day, I left the house at 7:30 AM and headed out toward Tracy. I've ridden all of the roads to get to Diablo from Stockton (I used to ride my bike to work in Pleasanton once per year) but this was to be more miles than I had ever done in a day. I rode from my house to Mount Diablo where I ascended from the south gate, and then descended on the north side from the ranger station. I really wanted to go to the summit but that would put me too far behind my schedule and put me on some dark roads after the sun went down.
After I descended into Walnut Creek I then tackled the second climb of the day, another one of my favorites, Morgan Territory. Nearly a full canopy of shade going up, and a smooth fast road going back down into Livermore.
I made it nearly back to I-5 and French Camp before my wife picked me up. The sun had set and although I had lights, those back roads can get a little scary at night.
At the end of the day I turned in 152 miles and 6,300 feel of climbing. I can't wait to do it again in 2016. This time, I'll leave a couple of hours earlier to make sure I can get back to town before it gets too dark.
I completed two organized centuries in 2015, the Delta Century and the Sierra Century, and one unsupported century from Tracy to Dublin and Walnut Creek and back to Tracy. I've done each of them a number of times so it was nice to be on a somewhat familiar route. The Delta Century reversed its course and skipped the ferry ride (because of road construction, I believe). Doing the familiar route in reverse was great, it made it interesting at parts, like that nagging feeling of déjà vu when you can't quite place it.
2016, the road ahead
It's hard to imagine outdoing 2015, but I'm sure going to try! My mileage goal for 2016 is 5,000 miles. I've not yet picked which centuries I'll do, but am hoping to doing some new ones. I'm also looking for some new fun routes so I will continue to Strava-stalk my friends.
2015 was such a fun year on two-wheels. Great people, great roads, all the reasons I love riding!
Follow me on Strava and come join me on a ride! See you on the road!