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costumed Terra Cotta warriors parading on the Xi’an wall.

On the Xi'an wall with l-r, Anthony Selivanoff, my son Chris, myself and Alexander Selivanoff.

On the Xi’an wall with l-r, Anthony Selivanoff, my son Chris, myself and Alexander Selivanoff.

So the year of 2014 is nearly over. Was it a good or bad year for you? As I get older, the grading of my past year is put in this perspective: was I healthy, did I do the things that I enjoy and did I get to spend it with the people that I love? By my account, 2014 will go down as a pretty good one.

Riding my bicycle is often a solo experience, but it allowed me on many occasions to check off all three of my criteria above. In total, I rode 4,600 miles, climbed over 320,000 vertical feet and rode on three different continents during the year.

If there was one single experience from the past year worth noting, it was the 10 mile ride around the perimeter on top of the cobbled wall of Xi’an China with my son and group of families from Santa Rosa. Being with family and friends in a very unfamiliar setting was special. Adding to the scene were the costumed Terra Cotta Warriors that were parading away from the presentation that included Michelle Obama minutes earlier. By complete coincidence, our trip wound up mirroring the Obama’s spring fling through China. No one in our group was happy about it, as it came with road blocks, historical sites being randomly shut down, and massive airport delays before and after Air Force One activity. The overall experience was A plus though.

I have no idea what 2015 will bring, nor would I want to know. I hope that my relationship with my bicycle is a good one. Some days it taunts me, challenging me to jump on and forcing me into escaping with adventure through the backwaters of our county. Other day’s my inner demons win the day and anchor my soul into a dark world. The battle rages every day only escaping as I tear up the steep slopes of our hills letting out a torrent of expletives along the way throwing those demons off the mountain for a day. After those rides, as I unclip, the dopamine releases, for a time, all the tension of my world. Then I can reflect like the Pink Floyd song “The child is grown, the dream is gone, I have become comfortably numb.” Numb is good, especially without the pin prick.

Riding with others, I find that this experience is certainly not my own. We are bonded together, seeking adventure, eliminating the worries of life, while attaining both physical and mental health. New Year’s Eve is a birthday of sorts for me. Other holidays and my birthday are a struggle. New Year’s Eve is different. A new year brings hope and that optimism is what propels me. I allow myself only one day per year to drink. Today is that day. The bottle of Rafanelli is already on the counter. Tomorrow morning, I will be racing up some hill with my heart racing like a Ferrari and screaming all the way. You always have to keep moving! Life depends on it. Keep chasing and don’t look back.

Cheers, blessings, health and peace for 2015. And by all means, get out on the bike!!

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