Category Archives: Training

The path forward

This is a long post; here is the TL;DR
So you may or may not know that I suspended my Facebook account, deleted my Twitter account, and also deleted my Strava account this week. This blog is intended to address some of the reasons why. I also deleted my Instagram account, but when I saw how heavily my blog is tied into it and also because I wanted to be able to see pictures my family posts, I restored that account.

As a short summary, the stress of online interactions and wondering when would be the next time I would have to defend my ride data led me to delete my Strava account with my Facebook and Twitter accounts going down as collateral damage. I still haven’t sorted everything out, and to try to explain it in a short summary is pretty much impossible. I can, however, summarize why Facebook and Twitter were collateral damage. Because of Strava’s Instagram integration feature which I used to try to prove the legitimacy of my rides and where I was riding and what I was doing, I found it easy to also cross post to Facebook and Twitter. I got to the point where I was posting too much on Facebook and Twitter and pushing away real life friends from me. So I deleted Facebook and Twitter first on Wednesday of this past week and thought I would hold onto Strava a bit longer, maybe for all of 2016. But then that very same day, there were negative doubting comments following up on the heels of questioning comments last week, and in an emotional reaction I said “forget that”, I don’t need this in my life. Good-bye.

That’s the best I can do in a short summary, and it doesn’t really paint the entire picture – so if you want that, then you might want to grab a cup of coffee. This is a long post, which has taken a long time to write. Some of the times I say “today”, “yesterday”, “this week”, etc… may be confusing. For reference, I started the blog on Wednesday, January 30th.

Clemson University 1994
My parents helped me unload the car and unpack all my stuff into my dorm room. Then they said goodbye and drove back home to Alabama. I was on my own for the first time, and I was a bit homesick immediately as my mom was crying when she said goodbye and drove off. But then with nothing else to do, I hopped on my bike and headed straight out towards the mountains. As soon as I saw the first blue ridge peaking up in the distance, I knew I had found my home.

The Clemson Cycling team was a great group of guys, and we had lots of fun together. Bert Hull and I shared many an adventure together – I can recall one brutally hot ride out to Sassafras Mountain and back where we were very much delirious from heat exhaustion. Bert ended up taking a break at a gas station near the end and I just kept on going completely out of it. In general though, I frequently went out on long rides into the hills and mountains during the middle of the week all by myself. I would have these crazy adventures, see crazy things, and then when I came back I didn’t always have somebody I could share the adventure with. And when I did find myself recounting adventures, I always wondered in the back of my mind whether anybody believed all the stuff I was doing.

As far as data goes, I tracked my riding initially on a single poster board for the entire year (see pic below) in 1995 and 1996 using the Eddie Borysewicz method described in his training book. By 1997, I had created a database for tracking my training and racing. I used this all the way through the end of my undergrad career at Clemson.

UGA Crash, Anniston Cheaha, Mount MitchellUGA Crash, Anniston Cheaha, Mount Mitchell zoomed in from 1996 training poster

Screenshot highlighting some 1997 entries from my microsoft access database of racing and trainingScreenshot highlighting some 1997 entries from my database of racing. I kept a separate training database.

Birmingham, Alabama 2005
I grew up in Birmingham, but moved to South Carolina for my undergrad at Clemson, and moved to California for 6.5 years of grad school to get my Masters and PhD at UC Davis. I was very busy, and my life was a mess out in California so I didn’t ride much. But I rode a few times all the way out to the hills, eventually discovering Mix Canyon and climbing that a few times over the course of several years on adventures that were especially epic since I was out of shape. I also made my way all the way out to Knoxville Rd with its yellow “curves ahead next 39 miles” caution sign on the backside of Lake Berryessa. I raced a few times and ended up winning a Cat B road race in Nevada (my only ride in Nevada at the time).

California was great, but when we moved back to Birmingham literally on January 1, 2005, it was perfect timing as all my riding to get around town everywhere in Davis, California had prepared me to explore Birmingham on my bike. And what I found beyond the flat valley roads that group rides tend to favor just amazed me. I still vividly remember that first ride I did from our house, up past Vestavia Hills High School, into Vestavia Hills city center, and then across Canyon Rd to Shades Mountain Baptist Church where I had to turn around to be back home on time. I was absolutely amazed at the hills and the climbs and the descents. I came home full of excitement with all the possibilities right out my door.

Pretty quickly, I became interested in topographic maps because I wanted to know exactly the heights of each ridge, see which ridge was higher, and measure and compare the steepness of the climbs and descents. There is a spot close to my house I pass on nearly every ride where you can look up and see two steep ridges stacked on top of each other, and I remember very specifically one day thinking to myself “I want to know exactly the elevation of each ridge”. My only experience with topography was the printed USGS topographic maps that I was given by a graduating Clemson Cycling team senior at the end of my freshman year. So I looked online to see if you could see those printed maps online. Keep in mind this was 3 years prior to the invention of Google’s terrain view. I found a website that allowed you to download the USGS topo maps. I also noticed that you could download USGS elevation datasets. I was wondering what that was, and this quickly led me to a program called GlobalMapper, which could be used to display those elevation datasets.

It was exactly what I was looking for – with one quick glance, I could see and compare elevations based on color rather than having to squint at topographic contour lines and count the lines to see which part of the map was higher. Here is a map I created in April 2005 using GlobalMapper showing one of my commute routes into Samford. I didn’t have a cycling GPS so I made the base map using GlobalMapper and then used Photoshop to trace a line on top of the roads I took to get to Samford.

Commute route to Samford - April 2005Commute route to Samford – April 2005

By 2007 I was tired of the clunky interface for drawing paths in GlobalMapper and inspired by tools like GMap Pedometer, so I proposed an online mapping application to be the class project for the Fall 2007 Software Engineering I was teaching. We did a lot of brainstorming and got started on an application, but I ended up rewriting everything the following Spring and Summer eventually launching a beta version of topocreator.com where I could create color-coded topographic maps that showed the elevations of ridges and valleys as well as create routes in a similar fashion to GMap Pedometer using the Google Maps API.

Joining Strava 2009
In 2007, I joined the Tria Market Cycling Team and dove back into racing – racing a huge number of times finally earning enough points to get the upgrade to Cat 1 so I could race in the Pro/1 races by the end of the year. I had a Polar heartrate monitor and was using Polar Protrainer to track my training and racing. I could see how many miles, how much time, and my time spent in various HR zones using the Polar protrainer software. I felt that a cycling GPS was too expensive and unnecessary because I was so focused on my racing that the “adventure” aspect had slid to the background. Oh how I wish now that I had picked up a Garmin Edge 205 back in 2006.

With the release and popularity of the Garmin Edge 705, I started to think about getting one motivated in part by how my racing was taking me all over the country and I wasn’t able to keep track of where all I was riding. My first ride with the Edge 705 was in La Porte, Indiana visiting family during Thanksgiving 2008. I built an import tool on topocreator.com where I could import data and see elevation profiles and topographic maps (see example map below from the 2009 Bull’s Gap time trial). You could tag rides and maps, and I began to build a catalog of all the places I was riding and seeing the topographic data in great detail using the color-coded shaded relief maps.

2009 Bull's Gap Time Trial2009 Bull’s Gap Time Trial from an early version of topocreator.com

A few months later, my friend Jacob Tubbs sent me a link to Strava saying it was a really cool website where you can compare your times on climbs. Back then Strava had a bulk import option so I imported all my rides from the past several months into Strava. My initial connection to Strava was the KOMs. I thought it was really cool that I could try to get the fastest time up a climb and see how fast other people were doing the same climb. I found this to be a great motivational tool for training and one of the things that always surprised me was that I would frequently hit my max heartrate for the week, month, year, etc… going for a KOM on a climb rather than during the middle of a race. That of course is partly because racing is all about conserving energy, and training is all about expending energy (either a lot of it or as little as possible aka recovery). Since there were only a few people on Strava in Birmingham, it was pretty easy to get KOMs. But even then, I could compare my own times on any climb around town.

Several years ago, Strava didn’t have club leaderboards. Instead, there was one global weekly leaderboard split up into a few categories. I always tried to see if I could get to the top of the leaderboard within my normal training and commuting regime.

2010 at the top of three of Strava's global leaderboards2010 at the top of three of Strava’s global leaderboards

Leaving Strava 2016
Over the years as I was consistently near the top of the Strava leaderboards, I received all kinds of positive comments and notes from people all over the world. So even as early as 2010, I was starting to realize the potential for Strava to be a platform where I could share all the cool riding I was doing here in Alabama. By 2014 when I began training for the Race Across America, I made this one of my primary training objectives – showcase the state of Alabama and how amazing it is to ride here. Here was my 2015 training and racing, note how I hit so many counties in Alabama.

topocreator.com map of all my rides in 52 of Alabama's 67 counties. This map also includes rides that started at home and went into neighboring states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia.topocreator.com map of all my rides in 52 of Alabama’s 67 counties. This map also includes rides that started at home and went into neighboring states of Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Kentucky.

30,000 miles of riding in 2015 - annotated US county map. 23 states and 203 counties covered in 2015. Click to enlarge.30,000 miles of riding in 2015 – annotated US county map. 23 states and 203 counties covered in 2015. Click to enlarge.

With all the miles I was putting in for training and all the crazy routes I was picking, I was on top of almost every leaderboard and on top of that my connection with Strava became deeper because here was a place I could share all my adventures with the world and see adventures that other people were having. Also, here was a place where I could upload objective proof of my adventures. One of Strava’s slogans is “Prove it”. So perhaps this is enough to explain my deep visceral reaction to comments this week, last week, the week before that, and off-and-on over the past few years relating to the accuracy and believability of my data. This past week our rabbit died, and I was not in a very good emotional state. So my reaction to the latest comments was pure emotion rooted in an emotional subconscious realization that the very reasons I connected with Strava were no longer valid.

Sure, the majority of people probably (although I’m not sure) believed my data without giving it a second thought. But there has always been a number of people who doubted my stats, my rides. That was evident even from 2009 and 2010 where one respected rider from the mountains of Switzerland questioned my climbing saying that when he uploaded my rides to mapmyride.com (notorious for horribly filtered and flattened elevation data) that he would see a drop of 30-40% of total climbing. Whereas if he uploaded his ride from high in the mountains, he would only see a small drop in elevation. We went back and forth with his last comment being something along the lines of a sarcastic “you’ve always got an explanation for everything”. Then at some point in Spring 2011 when I was winning a lot of the brand new monthly climbing challenges and running away with the yearly climbing challenge, I remember somebody tweeting at my twitter account accusing me of being a Strava doper in the middle of a long race weekend. This upset both me and my wife who told me about the tweet as she was looking at twitter. Beyond that, I would get a comment here or comment there, a ride flagged here, a ride flagged there and find myself in a position of defending myself and my ride. Then came the Strava / Instagram integration, and I realized that I could take a picture of my Garmin after every ride and post it with the ride as even more proof. This was perfect. My rides stopped being flagged. The doubtful questioning negative comments stopped for the most part.

But then for some reason those comments started up again in 2015 with people wondering about the accuracy of my Garmin since they could see from my pictures that I wasn’t manipulating the ride file. It was annoying all last year. And then this year, last week, when our rabbit died in the middle of a pleasant but passive aggressive interaction with a rider from San Mateo, California I was pretty upset. Then on Wednesday of this week, a different rider from Oregon just flat out said “There is something wrong with your Garmin” on a ride I had done two weeks ago. I’m sure there was no malice intended by either of these people, but for me it was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”. My interactions with Strava had morphed to the point where I would be checking Strava constantly and dreading new comments on my ride and whether they would require me to defend the accuracy of my ride. Sure, that may be a personal problem I have … I should have just ignored those comments and let people believe what they want to believe. But remember that one of my connections to Strava was the ability to “prove” that I really had ridden across the state and back, that I really had climbed the height of Mount Everest on a single ride, that I really did ride right through the middle of the woods, etc… Sometimes I find myself in the middle of nowhere and can’t believe myself what I am out there doing, so having these comments on Strava directly undermined that connection to Strava I had made back in 2009 when I created an account. Strava was no longer a platform where I could prove my rides – instead Strava became a platform where other people could doubt and question my rides and either directly or indirectly accuse me of cheating at the online challenges.

So, on Wednesday after the latest comment which I saw in the break between teaching my first and second classes that morning at Samford, I resolved to quit Strava by the end of the year. I had already deleted my Facebook and Twitter account earlier that morning (see next section). Then after a second comment after that next class, I realized I was done with it. I made a short post on the Million Foot climbing club, which was my favorite club on Strava, initiated a backup of my data and once that completed – deleted my account.

Perhaps a more reasonable solution would have been to remove myself from all challenges and clubs so the “doubters” wouldn’t have a reason to stumble upon my account. In retrospect, I wish I had done that, but if there is one thing I have learned from bike racing, it is that you make a decision and you commit to it. You make a move and you *bleep*-ing commit to it. You can’t second guess yourself, and I’m not going to do that with Strava. Will I join Strava again at some point in the future? Probably, but for now I think this time away from Strava and Facebook and Twitter (see next section) will be very good for me and my family. It already has been. On my ride today, I got 3 real in-person kudos from the people that matter the most to me.

Leaving Facebook and Twitter
I already mentioned in the TL;DR that my Facebook and Twitter accounts were collateral damage, and I realize now that if I really go into all the details of why beyond my original summary at the top of this blog I will be stepping into personal areas that I really don’t want to share with other people. So let me recap again that because of the Strava Instagram integration and how many positive comments I was receiving about how cool it looked to ride where I was riding, etc… I started thinking that the whole world wanted to see my rides. So I started crossposting all my pics to Facebook / Twitter and pushed away a number of real life friends. As an extreme measure to prevent myself from cross posting to Facebook and Twitter, I deleted those accounts – which was a sure-fire way of not spamming people any more with all my Instagram posts. Was there a more reasonable approach? Sure, but I wasn’t making reasonable decisions. Will I be back on Facebook? Yes, my account is only suspended and probably at some point in the next couple months, I will reactivate it so I can communicate with people who that is my primary form of communication. Will I be back on Twitter? Probably not. I never posted anything to Twitter that I didn’t crosspost somewhere else.

The path forward
I do know that there were a lot of people on Strava who looked forward to seeing my pics and rides, that gained inspiration from what I was doing. I know this because I received those kinds of comments both in person and online frequently. If this is/was you, then I am very sorry for just pulling the plug so suddenly on what may have been a source of inspiration for you. I am working on updating topocreator.com and howmuchtogo.com so that I can embed my latest rides on this blog and in an RSS feed. I know it’s an extra step, but it feels like staying away from Strava for at least a year if not longer is something that I need to do for me and my family. Once all of this is ready, I will post another blog (The Path Forward II or something like that) with details of how you can see my rides and data.

2015 a year to remember

30,000 miles of riding in 2015 - annotated US county map. 23 states and 203 counties covered in 2015. Click to enlarge.topocreator.com map showing 30,000 miles of riding in 2015. 23 states and 203 counties covered in 2015. Click to enlarge.

Every January I look forward to writing this blog post with a summary of all the statistics, data, and maps from the previous year’s racing. This year’s summary took a bit longer because I wanted to add a new feature to topocreator.com where you can isolate and retrieve only the elevation data for the counties entered on rides. This makes it easy to see and count the number of counties entered on rides. Using this feature, I determined that I rode in 23 states and 203 counties in 2015 as shown in the map above. In Alabama alone, I rode in 52 of Alabama’s 67 counties as shown in the map below:

topocreator.com map of all my rides in 52 of Alabama's 67 counties. This map also includes rides that started at home and went into neighboring states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia.topocreator.com map of all my rides in 52 of Alabama’s 67 counties. This map also includes rides that started at home and went into neighboring states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Finally, veloviewer.com makes it easy to see everywhere you’ve ridden. Here’s an annotated map of my riding since November 2008 when I first got a GPS, plus a comment about some of my riding pre-GPS (i.e., 15 years from 1993-2008).

Annotated map of all my rides from November 2008 until December 31st, 2015 with note about rides pre-GPS. Source: veloviewer.comveloviewer.com annotated map of all my rides from November 2008 until December 31st, 2015 with note about rides pre-GPS.

Alabama the Beautiful
Why counties? When I was training for RAAM, I wanted to showcase the beauty of “Alabama the Beautiful” by visiting as many counties as I could during the lead-up to RAAM. I ended up covering most of the state, but the bottom counties were just too far to get to on out/back rides from my house. To get to all those counties, I did one 500+ mile ride (Heart of the South 500), six 300+ mile rides in Alabama, and thirty-three 200+ mile rides in Alabama. Alabama truly is a beautiful state, and I could not be happier living here. You can’t ride half a mile in Alabama without seeing something cool and different. It never gets old! The biggest surprise for me while exploring counties was Natural Bridge up in Bankhead National Forest northwest of Birmingham. The only reason I was riding up there was to hit four counties in Northwest Alabama (Winston, Lawrence, Franklin, and Marion). Along the way I stumbled upon natural bridge.

Natural bridge #alabama #teamtoone #raam2015

A photo posted by Brian Toone (@kartoone76) on

Race Across America (RAAM)

The highlight for this season was definitely finishing 7th place in my rookie attempt at the Race Across America. I didn’t meet my time goal or finishing place goal, but I was very happy to exceed my fundraising goal for Nuevas Esperanzas. Thank you everyone for the huge amount of support I received in this race. I wish I could have done better, but I am happy to have finished and hopefully represented Alabama well.

Statistics

With RAAM my racing/training became an all-year effort with no offseason. So I’m updating all of my past statistics to a calendar year instead of a racing season year. Veloviewer and Strava have implemented all the features for end-of-season analysis that I used to do with the Polar Protrainer software. Unfortunately, I did not get a GPS cycling computer until November 2008 so that is as far back as my data goes.

Annotated veloviewer.com 2015 graphic - 30,130 miles and 3,323,393 feet of climbing.Annotated veloviewer.com 2015 graphic – 30,130 miles and 3,323,393 feet of climbing. The max ride distance and max ride time are both off because I split up the Heart of the South race in early April into two separate rides. The 426 mile ride was immediately followed by an 85 mile ride with a couple miles of warm-up on the way over to the start for a grand total of 513.8 miles in just over 30 hours with no sleep.

2015 Statistics

Statistic Avg Max Min Total
Weekly training time (hours) 37:52 100:57 (RAAM) 0:00 (Post-RAAM) 1969:51
Weekly distance (miles) 579 1660 (RAAM) 0.0 (Post-RAAM) 30,130
Weekly climbing (feet) 63,911 ft 122,283 ft 0 3,323,393 ft (1.01M meters)
Ride distance (miles) 92.4 513.8 (HOS) 0.6 30,130

Comparison to past years (updated to calendar year)
All these stats are based on the calendar year January 1st – December 31st.

Statistic
(total)
2008
Total
Avg/Max
2009
Total
Avg/Max
2010
Total
Avg/Max
2011
Total
Avg/Max
2012
Total
Avg/Max
2013
Total
Avg/Max
2014
Total
Avg/Max
2015
Total
Avg/Max
Time (hours) 712*
13.7/20.2
617
11.9/19.2
766
14.7/21.3
1,146
22.0/28.2
1,427
27.4/45.2
1,417
27.3/39.6
1,551
29.8/40.0
1,970
37.9/101.0
Dist (miles) 12.2k
235/337
11.5k
221/361
13.9k
268/378
18.1k
346/503
20.7k
399/650
20.5k
394/587
22.1k
424/632
30.1k
579/1,660
Climb (feet) 642k
12k/20k
859k
17k/32k
963k
19k/34k
2,135k
41k/58k
2,611k
50k/100k
2,522k
49k/80k
2,757k
53k/89k
3,323k
64k/122k

* Using Polar Protrainer software to calculate data based on my Polar Heartrate monitor (without GPS) for the 2008 season. This software doesn’t distinguish between “moving time” and “elapsed time”. The 2008 figure is “elapsed time” whereas all the other years are moving time as reported by Strava and Veloviewer.

End of the year milestones
November and December were quite busy for me as I pursued three major calendar year goals – 1,000,000 meters of elevation gain, an Eddington number of 100, and 30,000 miles of riding.

I crossed over the 1,000,000 meter mark on December 23rd during the middle of a very hot (temps in the 70s) and wet week of riding down in Alabama. My original goal had been 3,000,000 feet of climbing, but when it looked like I was going to blow past that near the end of November I thought I would up my goal to 1,000,000 meters (3,280,839.9 feet). I tracked my progress on a website I created (howmuchtogo.com), and no matter how much I was climbing I seemed to be stuck in the 10,000-11,000 foot range per day in order to meet this goal. But after a fun 10,000 meter (~33,000 feet) adventure to Inland Lake on Pine Mountain, the goal started to quickly come into focus with me chopping hundreds and eventually thousands of feet per day off the requirement. See graph below.

The last 16 weeks of my progress on howmuchtogo.com towards my 2015 elevation climbing goal of 1,000,000 meters of total elevation gain.The last 16 weeks of my progress on howmuchtogo.com towards my 2015 elevation climbing goal of 1,000,000 meters of total elevation gain.

The Eddington number was tougher to get because during the year I had several 99 mile rides, which don’t count towards the 100 number. Finally, after two back-to-back centuries on December 24th and 25th, I hit 100 centuries for the year. Lifetime, I’d like to get my Eddington number up to 200 but it will be many, many years before that happens. It currently stands at 118, but to give you an idea of the deviousness of the Eddington number, I need two more rides of at least 119 miles to reach 119 and six more rides of at least 120 miles to reach a lifetime Eddington number of 120. To reach 200, I need 142 more rides of at least 200 miles.

In addition to 100 centuries in 2015, I hit a number of other benchmarks:

Benchmark Quantity
500+ mile rides 1 (Heart of the South 500, 1st place, 30 minutes off course record
400+ mile rides 1 (although I came close to a 2nd one with a 398 mile ride during RAAM)
300+ mile rides 12 (including 6 during RAAM)
200+ mile rides 45 (including 9 during RAAM)
100+ mile rides 100 (including 5 Alabama Backroads Centuries plus riding to/from the start of each!)
Everestings 1 (Everested Clingman’s Dome, the highest pt in TN, by climbing it 5 times)
Cheaha Rides 32 (All of these rides are round-trip from Hoover to the highest pt in AL)

Location based milestones were many. First, I rode across the entire country. Second, I made it from Birmingham all the way up to Nashville having failed to do that in 2013. Prior to that, though, I rode all the way from Birmingham up to Cave City, Kentucky through some very rural and fun ridges and hollows of Tennessee. Another goal was to do rides starting and ending at my house that hit all the neighboring states. I did a 295 mile loop to Tennessee, 263 mile loop to Mississippi, and a 244 mile loop to Georgia. I didn’t make it to Florida, but the loop I did to hit some of the South Alabama counties was 313.5 miles long!

I rode around the earth 1.2 times this year, and climbed halfway to Medium-Orbit around the earth approximate 2.5 times higher than the International Space Station.

Strava Challenges
This was also the year for the Strava challenges for me, especially the climbing challenges. Also, I’m pretty sure I completed every Strava challenge this year.

Challenge Place Participants Goal Actual
January climbing 2nd 77,697 6,142m 96,761m
January distance 29th 114,440 1,250km 3,277km
January granfondo 100 22nd 90,930 100km 395km (15)
January granfondo 150 26th 49,600 150km 395km (7)
February climbing 2nd 67,442 8,535m 97,255m
February distance 12th 109,059 1,250km 3,447km
February granfondo 100 42nd 87,625 100km 397km (14)
February granfondo 150 50th 45,862 150km 397km (9)
March climbing 20th 79,449 4,096m 32,964m
March distance 7th 138,026 1,250km 4,419km
March granfondo 100 11th 109,030 100km 499km (15)
March granfondo 150 11th 58,209 150km 499km (13)
March Adventure Cycling 1st 48,636 24hr 23h7min
April climbing 11th 110,373 9,000m 67,765m
April distance 2nd 164,906 1,250km 4,392km
April granfondo 130 2nd 142,817 130km 686km (12)
Specialized Spring Classics 3rd 103,612 1,225km 6,345km
May climbing 10th 117,803 6,000m 53,338m
May distance 5th 194,006 1,250km 5,177km
May granfondo 100 16th 213,114 100km 504km (18)
Giro climbing 22nd 94,623 10,000m 62,983m
June climbing 21st 114,072 8,848m 57,892m
June distance 6th 195,034 1,250km 6,011km
June granfondo 115 165th 148,725 115km 500km (9)
July climbing 129th 121,124 1,860m 21,003m
July distance 501st 184,651 1,250km 2,524km
July granfondo 130 18th 123,643 130km 525km (9)
The Tour de France 681st 75,636 1,680km 1,890km
August climbing 9th 113,690 11,000m 82,543m
August distance 42nd 193,286 1,250km 3,703km
August granfondo 150 355th 115,352 150km 342km (12)
The Paris-Brest-Paris 38th 68,584 1,200km 3,703km
September climbing 1st 123,699 9,000m 100,091m
September distance 19th 190,124 1,250km 3,863km
September granfondo 120 64th 158,106 120km 406km (14)
October climbing 3rd 116,195 7,500m 100,926m
October distance 6th 168,270 1,250km 3,871km
October granfondo 120 55th 107,529 120km 410km (17)
October Adventure Cycling 47th 93,386 24h 17h10min
November climbing 2nd 103,582 6,000m 101,902m
November distance 21st 151,224 1,250km 3,392km
November granfondo 100 28th 105,732 100km 417km (16)
December climbing 2nd 100,596 5,000m 113,204m
December distance 10th 138,630 1,250km 4,403km
December granfondo 100 31st 104,937 100km 429km (23)
Rapha Festive 500 424th 72,286 500km 793km

The #’s in parentheses are the number of rides in the month that met the minimum Gran Fondo distance.

Huge thank-you
So this post has been just a bunch of stats and maps, but the real story is all the people who made it possible. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to so many people, and I want to thank so many people, but it really is too many people to thank by name. Know that I am deeply appreciative for all that everyone has done for me this year. I do want to thank one person, though, my beautiful wife Kristine Toone, who has put up with all the hours on the bike and endured nights of troubled sleep waking up frequently to check the Garmin tracker to make sure I’m still moving in my overnight and all-day rides. Also, during the Race Across America, I got to a point where I really just wanted to talk to her all the time so she dealt with a lot of the stress of the race and helped me through it amazingly. My favorite picture from RAAM is this one where I realized how madly in love with her I still am 14 years after meeting her at Mercy Ships in Texas.