ABOUT THE AUTHOR
First of all, thanks for visiting. I’m Mike Renner, the author behind The Year 2000 blog. I’m an average midwestern guy with a laptop and an enthusiasm for cycling and other outdoor pursuits. I live in Bismarck, North Dakota. I’m a small business owner and a father. In my free time I like to write, practice landscape photography, backpack, and pursue every outdoor activity that I can, including cycling. Through my actions and this blog, I hope to advocate for the active outdoor lifestyle.
WHAT IS THIS?
This is a challenge to pedal 2000 miles in the year 2019. I will be using Strava to track my varied recreational rides, daily commutes, and occasional race. These blog posts are my field reports from the attempt.
This challenge and the resulting chronicle are the culmination of many intentions and ideas
– CYCLING AS A CATALYST
Engaging in something such as a race or mileage challenge serves a catalyst in a person’s life. The mere act of committing lends a context to the everyday. Suddenly, there’s an overarching goal. Even if that goal is arbitraty, such as completing a century ride or biking 2000 miles in a year, the results are concrete. Through pursing that goal, a person calls upon their resolve, patience, and dedication. Time and focus take on a new qualities. On a regular basis, a person exposes themselves to the world as only seen from behind the handlebars of a bicycle. A challenge is not about crossing the finish line, it’s about every step leading to that moment. To cite the old adage, the journey is the destination. This challenge is my journey. It’s a way to manifest cycling and excitement into my life.
– CYCLING AS A CURE
Another reason to take on this challenge is to counter the trappings of our modern lifestyles. The climate controlled all-you-can eat desk and automobile bound world of the average American provides little opportunity to explore one’s limits or to even engage in the physical world. For many, myself included, daily existence has become docile, predictable, and comfortable. We are pacified by our environments. This idle and complacent lifestyle severs the bonds to our essential primitive nature. In doing so, we lose part of ourselves. As Scott Carney puts in in his book What Doesn’t Kill Us:
Human biology needs stress—not the sort of stress that damages muscle, gets us eaten by a bear, or degrades our physiques—but the sort of environmental and physical oscillations that invigorates our nervous systems. We’ve been honed over millennia to adapt to an ever-changing environment.
Cycling is an instant life-affirming dose of liberating movement, speed, and energy.
This can partly explain the rise and proliferation of adventure races, Ironmans, ultra-marathons, and the like. Those events provide a missing connection and a needed opportunity to revel in those “invigorating” stressors. Cycling serves the same purpose.
Cycling is an instant life-affirming dose of liberating movement, speed, and energy. It quickens the pulse and refreshes the senses. It requires no screen or password. The act itself cost nothing but the effort of your legs and lungs. Cycling is governed by the instinctual forces of gravity, balance, and simple mechanical force and it takes place under an open sky. In short, to pedal a bike is an anecdote to our modern lives. It’s what I call “desk-medicine”.
– CYCLING AS A PARENT
A final major reason to undertake this challenge, for me, is to grapple with certain conventions of parenthood. I’ve seen many new parents withdraws into the important role of parenthood at the cost of their identity or passions. Perhaps, to some extent, that is unavoidable and necessary. However, I have witnessed other parents that manage to expertly weave together the sometimes conflicting concepts of parenthood and “adventure”, for lack of a better term.
where passion and pursuits serve as the compass
I speak of the father I witnessed climbing up the steep boulder stairway to the top of Medicine Bow peak last summer with a happy two-year old strapped to his back. These are the parents often seen on the ski slopes with their three-year-old. These are families like the family of five I passed on a backcountry trail in WY’s Bighorn miles who were returning from a 7 day outing in the mountains. These are my models and my inspirations.
By taking this challenge during the first year of my daughter’s life, I’m casting a certain mold for what I hope the future holds. I’m setting an early precedent, for myself and for the kind of life I aspire for my daughter to live, a life where her passions and pursuits serve as the compass.
WHY THE 2000 MILE DISTANCE?
I’ll be the first to admit, 2000 miles in the scope of serious spandex-clad aero-bar shaved-leg cycling is a laughable distance. Many “recreational” riders double and triple this distance annually. There are also cyclists out there who do 2,000 miles a month. I chose this distance because, for me, it represents an attainable and realistic challenge. I’m not a serious “roadie” and most of my cycling is tooling around on a cyclocross bike or hitting the local single track. With the winters being what they are in North Dakota, I tend to only ride between the months of April and November (which I hope to change in 2019 by getting a suitable fat bike). As mentioned above, I’m a small business owner and a father so there are priorities to consider. 2000 miles represents a distance that is attainable by any semi-fit and disciplined individual. By design, I want someone (perhaps you) to stumble across this blog and say, “I could do that,” and then actually do this. Go on, get started!
WHY BOTHER WITH ANY OF THIS?
The everyday acts of pursuing adventure should also be espoused and celebrated.
Why bother with the blog, the pictures, the writing? Afterall, I am the first to admit this is not a boundary-breaking athletic feat, this is not a first attempt, nor is it a harrowing journey. To be honest, this is nothing outstanding or superlative. Rather, this is a fully attainable, easy to moderately difficult exercise in managing time and cycling a few hours a week. So, why then have I chosen to document the process? Don’t get me wrong, should I find the time and money resources, I would love to crest the Seven Summits or bikepack across the Silk Road trail. That said, I strongly feel that the everyday acts of pursuing adventure should also be espoused and celebrated. One man’s Everest is another man’s Mt. Bierstadt. One person’s ultra-marathon is another’s 5k. It’s all relative, and it’s important for everyone, especially the everyday person with limited time and/or resources to recognize that. The “wild” can be found right in your backyard. A challenge can be anything that takes you out of your comfortable bubble. “Adventure”, as overused as the term is, can be manifested in the most routine of existences. While social media and the internet may tell you otherwise, everyone has the opportunity to find these things within themselves and on their own terms. They can be conjured into being. All it takes is to lace up those boots (or cycling shoes) and get out there.