Gerry Creighton

Gerry Creighton

10:47 AM on Tuesday, December 28, 2021   •   Edited

In Honor of My Late Wife, My Biggest Ride of 2021

Looking back at my riding for 2021, I'm pretty happy overall with what I've accomplished. I set a couple of elevation-related goals and achieved one. I came close to the second where I was shooting for 400,000' in total elevation gain for the year. However, I had a couple of injuries that interrupted riding for a bit. I wound up with 367,808' in total elevation gain for the year.

I celebrated the fifth anniversary of my wife Susan's passing on June 10, 2021. In her honor, and as a personal challenge, I did a half-Everest ( 15,000') on my mountain bike. I would do this ride "everesting" style, where I would climb the same road repeatedly. Last year, I did a similar ride on the same date but set out to gain 10,000'.
It wasn't easy, but either was Susan's 19 year battle with late-stage breast cancer.

In preparing for this ride, I reached out to my friend and coach, Dr. Matt Miller. I had been planning this ride for months, so I was semi-prepared. However, Matt set me up with a plan for the three weeks leading up to the big ride. I would increase my rides and do some big back-to-back rides the week before. I tapered the training four days leading up to June 10. This taper helped me be fresh for what I was trying to accomplish.
His advice helped me tremendously, as I felt great for the entire ride. I probably could have done another lap or two if it wasn't for the soreness from being in the saddle for so long.
You can learn more about Matt here: https://www.mtbphd.com/about

Well, I did it! I didn't have a doubt, really, but you never know. I started an hour later than I had planned, which if you've ever waited at a trailhead for me, you know is normal.
I have to thank my partner, Liz, for coming out for the final, almost two, laps and bringing warm food before my last laps. That was just what I needed!

Stats from the day:
15,026ft of elevation gain
63.96 miles
Moving time: 8hrs 59min
Total time: 11hrs 35min - This includes stops to stretch, eat, and take photos.

Bike: Transition Bikes 2021 Carbon Sentinel, 32lb, 1x12 gearing (32t x 10-52).
Top Speed: 49.7mph (Wahoo Elemnt computer)
Three jersey changes.
Bike issues: 0
Inspiration: Limitless. Susan battled late-stage cancer for 19 years; what's a little 9hr event compared to that?

I guess I will have to increase the elevation gain goal for the next anniversary in 2022.
My ride: https://www.strava.com/activities/5449770571

Anyone reading this who has lost someone special probably understands this about grief: It will hit you suddenly as you try to get on with your life. It comes and goes, showing up in all shapes and sizes. You deal with those feelings and then move on with whatever you are doing. However, the grief never goes away; it just comes back when you least expect it as you become involved in new things.

2021 has brought me to a place where grief comes less often. I am fortunate to live in a place where I can get out on the bike, clear my head and explore. The bike has undoubtedly helped me with my life's losses, specifically Susan. She was my best friend, partner, and wife.
I'm grateful to my family and friends for their support over the past five years.

I am looking forward to what bike adventures 2022 brings! Happy New Year!



The view of Bellingham Bay, where I left some of Susan's ashes in 2016

The route

First climb stop is at the spot where I left some of Susan's ashes in 2016

The view at the top of Cleator Road. I would stop here more than a few times.

On the way up

Another stunning view