This is an our-of-the-blue post on a blog that has been superseded by my Facebook page. However, I cherished the year 2011 in my bike riding experiences and don’t want the following words to be lost to me. They are by a friend I shared biking with that year and were made on a blog that is likely to disappear from the internet. So, the following is a copy of my Facebook post which contains a quote from Michelle Williams’s blog.
“2011 was a special year for me that I often think fondly of. Michelle Williams is a significant part of that memory. We went on several organized rides together, the longest of which I believe was from Brandon Mississippi (east of Jackson) to Natchez, about 105 miles. We regularly compared distance totals and developed a most enjoyable competition, each of us trying to match or better the other. We each exceeded 7,000 miles that year, she exceeding it more than I. She was, and is, the Energizer Bunny of bicycling and can ride on and on forever. She is currently a ride leader in cross country biking. By “cross country” I don’t mean through the woods, I mean across the United States. I am very proud of her.
Michelle gave riding advice on a blog before she became too busy with really serious riding. In that blog she also mentioned the year 2011 and was very generous in her recollection of me. I copy a few of her words here because I don’t want them to get away from me, and I want the memory to be more at hand.
‘I love bikejournal for the way a cyclist could log on and see where their mileage was in relation to all of the other bikejournal users around the world. The data can be sorted in many different ways and I soon found myself atop many of the lists. In 2010, I had more miles than anyone using the program in Mississippi. In 2011, a friend of mine from Hattiesburg, Gary Johnsey, and I started a friendly competition to see who would have the most miles by the end of the year. His riding style was to ride several rides 30-65 miles in length compared to my one or two (or three) 125 mile rides a week. It was going to be interesting to see who would “win” this challenge. Well, we both did! I know we rode on days when we wanted and we were both out riding on days we would have preferred to be doing something else.
The most remarkable part of the story is that I thought Gary was in his 50s – maybe early 60s – I knew he was retired but I never stopped to think about it, really. During our competition, I was very obsessive about checking bikejournal to see if Gary had logged a ride. I talked about our competition to anyone who would listen. Most of the year I was behind him in mileage and it took a 1,200 mile trip around Lake Michigan to finally catch up with him. Oh, you should have seen the happy dance that day!
Well, it wasn’t until October of that year that I found out that Gary was 69! He was outside kicking my butt all year long at 69! I just hope that I am outside kicking the rear ends of obnoxious mileage hounds when I am 69 and beyond. I owe a lot of good memories to Gary for that great year of competition.’