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  • Writer's pictureJim Schroeder

2020 - The Pandemic Year

First, it was "coronovirus", then it turned into "Covid-19", and then the madness began in mid March. Willow and I just finished a horrific 22 hour flight from Indianapolis to Las Vegas. It was originally a 3 hour direct flight!

I was about to lead Heart Cycle's first ride of the season in Las Vegas and much of Death Valley. Rainy and cold in Las Vegas; weird, just like the newly announced pandemic in the USA. After riding the Lake Meade Loop on a dry day one, the temperatures dropped and we cancelled Day 2's Valley of Fire. The national announcements and shutdowns hit the media. Three of our riders packed up and headed home. Chaos or whatever you want to call it started. We decided to ride, but with some hygienic precautions, later to become the acronym, PPE.

Besides the continual unseasonable cool weather, the ride was a success. We all got some good preseason training in. The desert scenes were awesome, and no one caught this "Chinese virus" as our President called it. The Death Valley National Park pretty much shut down while we stayed the three days there. We had the last supper and the next morning's breakfast at the lone Shoshone restaurant as the governor of California was shutting down the state. We arrived back in America's sin city, yet there was no sin, no lights, no gambling, and no strip. We were lucky that our "off the strip" hotel was still open. Flights got cancelled and I ended up flying to Louisville and Willow picking me up at 1am.

Month by month all of our bicycle trips and destinations were all cancelled. Yet, bicycling became the escape from Covid. Bike shops were recognized as essential; more traffic on the bike paths than car traffic on the streets here in Bloomington. As long as we practiced social distancing and masking in convenience stores, it was bicycling life as usual.

I was to have led three HeartCycle rides, The 2020 rides pretty much became the 2021 schedule. Fortunately, we dodged the bullet and Glacier was cancelled using the Covid excuse. We couldn't fill it up and were looking at losing lots of deposits if we cancelled due to lack of interest.

My wingman, Scott, and I decided to be careful and do some scouting for 2021, and we did some riding, too! We traveled north from Denver and scouted the HC Tetons route that we'll lead in June, and we then ventured up to Glacier and rode some of the routes we scouted the previous August. We rented some 29ers and rode a couple of days of gravel. Back to Denver and then scouted Scott's San Diego County, and I promise that this April's HeartCycle ride will be one of the best. We changed the old HC route so much for the better as we tamed down this testosteronafest. In October, Scott came out and I introduced him to some southern Indiana hills, and then off to SE Ohio to scout Ohio Appalachia, which is on the HC calendar October 2021. As we were across the river from West Virginia, Scott had to get West Virginia on his list, so we gravelled for some 50 miles through mud and tunnels. Wait, not done yet! We then led a small group of Buffaloans and Kansans in OZ, or as most people call it northwest Arkansas. A few different and tougher routes than the previous HC ride in 2019.

I've been busy designing some new tours. All I'm telling you are my acronyms for you to figure them out: GCPANY and PITTWV.

I added another filly to my stable of bikes. Got me a Salsa Warbird gravel bike and I've been riding this bike exclusively in November and December, and as usual been creating lots of gravel routes in southern Indiana.

I hope your pandemic year was as good as mine, and hope to see you in my future adventures.

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