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Velocipede Verses #10: Your 2016 on Strava


I'm an avid cyclist who has ridden 30,000+ miles over the past seven years. I enjoy sharing the little I know with interested others.


You spent hours and days chasing your goals that year

Pushing on and on

For miles and altitude


The year just past the year

You returned from the wild blue yonder for good

After decades numbering three

Your identity

Can get wrapped in what you do

When you soar like a bird,

An eagle

A sword and shield for the nation you love

Leading for a living all day, every day, and many days at night

Prepared to fight



With the buzz of never turning off

Always needed

Your blood Service blue

And red and white, too

Then the Republic for which you stand

Says thank you, your service to your Service and your country is no longer required


In a way, anyway, with still many a day to live from here on forward



That there

Is now a hole

A gap

A chasm

A yawning crevasse

Where there used to be the Constitution

You solemnly swore

To support and defend

To the ends

Of the earth and sky, against all foes

Even those

Who were not foreign, but domestic

Your bag and boots and helmet remain in the closet

Because it

Is not now for you to serve those ends

A new job can occupy eight hours, five days a week

That’s bleak

Only 2080 of 8760 and change

How strange

It would seem to have so much free time

So you set a plan in motion

A goal, if you will

To climb a hill, some hills every day, many days

To ride lots of miles, 5K in fact

To chase digi-badges on a web-based app

That tracks miles gone, minutes your butt’s in saddle, thousands of feet you climb

The time

Adds up over days and weeks and months of the year


In Jan you’re the man

You’ve started your plan

Climbing the meters and riding the miles

The badge appears, your first of the year

One-twelfth of the way to your aim

The game

Is afoot and the past is behind

Kind of, anyway

Though as Robin Williams once said

Cycling is the closest you can get to flying

And you’re buying

That philosophy in month two and month three

Of the year just past the year

The wild blue was no longer for you

According to your Uncle Sam


In April and May and June

You ride and you climb

A lot of your time

One-hundred-and-five-and-a-half of the hours

While showers

Bring the flowers and the tomatoes start to blossom, too

While you

Hit the saddle every morning, every evening, and sometimes at lunch as well


In Jul and Aug

You’re an absolute hog

Eating the miles day after day

Grunting through ascents over and over and over


And then over again

And when

The biggest star

Makes its way toward the maiden of wheat

The heat

Doesn’t stop you from progress

Down valleys, up vales, the hills and the dales

You ride and you ride

And bide

Some of the time that used to be used to serve the call of duty


In the month of the Jack-O-Lantern

You ride in the cold

Name one outing

Frozen Finger Glory


Miracle in Bear Creek Canyon

Because though breezy and frigid

It’s spectacular

And your iced hands were among other hands

Who helped pave the way for paving the way

Along the path of your beloved trail

All hail

Accessibility to outdoors

For riders and walkers and those who require assistance


You break out the fat bike in November


And recall days with less gust, less chill, less cold, biting rain

The pain

Is sometimes good fodder to fill the mind

The grind

Of spinning the wheels round and round is also good therapy

And burns calories

That need to disappear this time of year when the gobbler is good and the taters and gravy and berries and rolls with butter fill the plate and you express gratitude for a loving family and friends and health and happiness


Then your world suddenly fills with snow

And Jack

Is back

With his frost, and the biggest star hardly plays for most of the days

In December

And it rains in the cold

Man, it gets old

And there’s ice on the road and it eats at your soul

Your goal


In miles

And all the badges to climb

The time

You put into an entire year of riding and occupying the saddle and your mind


And your heart burns

As you sit with your nose pressed to the pane

Watching rain

Turn to ice not safe to walk on, drive on, ride on, you want to cry

Oh why?

Then your bride buys a gift, studs on tires that arrive

December 25

And you smile as you go to the garage to put them on your fat bike

After cooking orange rolls for breakfast

The annual tradition

And wishing

All the rest of the kids and even Mom and Dad

Could be home to open gifts with you and you weren’t an orphan

Which all comes to mind

When you find

The tires don’t fit, they rub on the sides

Too fat for a frame that’s pretty fat

But not fat enough

This stuff

Is the stuff of nightmares on your street name

What a shame

As you cipher and lament

How far and high you went

In 2016

The year just past the year

That you

Came home from the wild blue

For better

Or worse

And for good

Then fell short of your goal by 13.9 miles and some number of feet


But there’s always next year

And the year after that

And some years in the decades numbering three ahead of you

To see

If you can soar like a bird

On a bike up the hills, on the roads, on the trails

Down the valleys

Up the vales

You can get wrapped in what you do

And still do it for a very good long time

Yet to come

You spent hours and days chasing your goals that year

Pushing on and on

For miles and altitude

It weren't for naught



greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 29, 2020:

Thank you, Gypsy Rose Lee. I appreciate the kind comments. Have a wonderful week.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 28, 2020:

Awesome and creative. Thank you for the poetic cycling trip.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 27, 2020:

Eric - exactly! Purpose-driven, adrenaline junkie, the need to keep the mind and body occupied. All very true. And thanks for coming along for the ride, my friend! 5K all the way!

I appreciate your very kind comments, Eric.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 27, 2020:

Hi John - yes, that's certainly all part of it; the chase, the challenge, goals to attain out in front of you. I had ridden for quite a number of years before I retired from active duty, but the time available to dedicate to it was certainly lesser. In any case, there is also the serenity aspect of it, too, where it's just me, the road, my bike and my little tiny brain thinking about things, whichever things, and feeling free like a kid again.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 26, 2020:

I was behind you all the way and boy are my legs and butt tired. They have a great term, those who do not really get it, "adrenaline junkie". The real term is a purpose driven life - double meaning intended. 5K eh.

Your poetry style is another service to your people.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 26, 2020:

Wow, Greg, now I understand where you are coming from. An ex Airforce man needing to replace the thrill and adrenalin rush of serving your country on high. I am sure Robin Williams was right, “cycling is the closest you can get to flying.” This poem was wonderful and the way it was written portrayed the speed, and need to keep striving to attain new goals. Great job.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 26, 2020:

Sha, thanks so much and Happy Sunday to you, as well, my friend. I do miss the wild blue though the angst of it is less acute nowadays, and you’re right: cycling has filled some of that gap, along with a couple other hobbies and work around the home. Have a great week, Sha!

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 26, 2020:

Thanks Lorna. Yes, the ups and downs of the every day are very much like riding on hilly terrain. When you reach the top and look out at the horizon, there is always another hill ahead. You can climb it when you get there, and your attitude about that is everything. Thanks again for the lovely comment. Much appreciated.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 26, 2020:

Box, now I understand your love of cycling. You miss the wild blue yonder and will find it any way you can while your butt is grounded.

I love this glimpse into your mindset.

Happy Sunday, my friend!

Lorna Lamon on July 26, 2020:

I enjoyed this cycle challenge through the seasons of 2016. It's good to look back and remember. For me it read a little like life, full of highs and lows. Great poem Greg.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 26, 2020:

Thank you, Liz. Yes, kind of like climbing hills and screaming down hills, it was an interesting year. Thank you for your very kind comments.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 26, 2020:

Thank you, Ann. It was a good riding year, though I'm on track to surpass it by many a mile in 2020. Completely retired, the COVID's arrival on scene, both combined to the point where I'm getting in 115+ miles per week this year so far. No lofty goals this year other than to just get out there and ride.

greg cain (author) from Moscow, Idaho, USA on July 26, 2020:

Bill - thanks and thanks, and yes. Riding in the cold and snow is good if you wear the right gear. The trick is sorting that out before you leave the house because it's bound to change along the way, for good or for ill.

Liz Westwood from UK on July 26, 2020:

That's a pretty impressive achievement and an extremely impressive poem. You convey the highs and lows of the year really well through your carefully chosen words.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 26, 2020:

Wow! That's some journey! I like the rhythm and the toil that goes into this, and the memories of serving your country. Well done on all aspects!


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 26, 2020:

Well that was one hell of a ride.

First of all, thank you for your service to your country.

Secondly, biking in frigid temps and snow? You are a mad man, and I say that with great respect.

Pedal on, my friend!

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