As I researched material for these posts, I was immediately struck by a couple of things, but first, I should give you my criteria for choosing what I did.
I used previous "Rear View" posts to select my topics, since those posts already were a filter, as it were, for the bulk of posts I had put up for any given year. When you have 300+ posts to choose topics from each year, a filter is a must! With that filter already in place, I filtered out even more, trying to use only what I deemed to be the most important stories from each year. That said, there will not be a "top ten", or anything even close to that! My hope was to end up with three posts, no more, and then move on. I may actually have that, but there is one oddity that sticks out like a sore thumb here.
The year 2014.
I used a note pad to jot down topics for reference for these posts, and I ended up with three pages. The year 2014 took up an entire page! The other years filled up the other two pages. So, it is quite obvious to me now looking back that for this past decade, 2014 was by far the most impactful year I experienced. We'll find out why in the next "Rear View Decade" post. Okay, onward.........
As I read those pages for the first time, I remember being very conscious of what other folks think of me. It was scary, and very much as if I had been under a microscope. In the end though, I have come to accept the characterization of myself, and perhaps I have even embraced it somewhat.
Then there was the "official" dot-com "Gravel Grinder News" site which I launched that year. This had existed as a sub-text and before that, a subject, on my blog since 2008. This led to new reviewing opportunities and new connections. All from a desire to just see a calendar of events created. In the same area of website ownership, I fully became the recognized owner of "Twenty Nine Inches" in 2010.
In 2011, I was in a film! This was a documentary of Trans Iowa v7 by Jeff Frings. I won't get into this too much here, because it is really a story for "Trans Iowa Stories". All I'll say here is, it almost never happened. Stay tuned for that story.....
Furthermore, related to Trans Iowa, was the production of Trans Iowa v8, a singularly important Trans Iowa to me personally for many reasons. Again- these stories will be saved for the "Trans Iowa Stories" series, but this was monumental for me personally. You'll hopefully understand why later.
Late in 2011 I got the original Ti Mukluk. A great bike that I put a lot of time into riding, tweaking, and writing about. I just sold it this year, but I loved that bike and it was important to me for a lot of reasons. Moving on to 2012, I started up a gravel group ride dubbed "3GR". I probably was too far ahead of the times with this, as I struggled to drum up much interest in doing this activity. Also in '12 I wrote the page detailing the history of 29"ers, which you can find at the top of this blog under the header.
|I met Steve Hed during my last trip to Interbike in 2013.|
Briefly- I was cruising the aisles at the Mandalay, when I ran across someone that said Steve Hed was wanting to meet me. What?!! The triathlon guy? The aero wheel roadie guy? What on Earth do I have in common with him?
Well, as it turned out, we had a LOT in common! We both loved riding gravel roads, peacefulness, and rural settings. We had a great little chat, and he turned out to be nothing I thought he was. I can say with confidence I would have loved to have spent a lot more time with him, but it wasn't to be.
I got to see a Pro level cyclo-cross race when I attended Cross Vegas. That was neat. I introduced the Trans Iowa Clinic, held in Des Moines, to spread the word on ultra-gravel event prep. I also started up the framework for the "Trans Iowa Master's Program". Finally, in terms of events, I attended Odin's Revenge for the first time in 2013, meeting a lot of great folks, and getting bitten by the bug for that event which haunts me to this day.
To close out this first "Rear View Decade" post, I wanted to mention that my childhood hero, and one of my mentors as a kid growing up, a man I learned so much from- my Grandpa Kenny, died in August of 2013. I was a pall bearer, as he outlived all of his contemporaries at 102 years of age. I still recall all those leggy, yellow prairie sunflowers waving in the wind in the ditches along Highway 63 on my way home from that event. To this day, I call them "Grandpa Flowers".
Next: "Rear View Decade Part 2. This one covering only the year 2014. Stay tuned.....