When I was a kid my absolute favorite thing to do was ride my bike.  I started off with a Huffy with a banana seat.  Next up was a BMX dirt bike.  We set up ramps of extremely perilous nature in the neighborhood and tested the limits of the earth’s gravitational pull.  Ramps at the bottom of hills, ramps off the top of hills (yikes), ramps over trash cans…ramps…ramps…ramps.  Think Dukes of Hazzard…except on a bike…and with no helmet.  How I never broke a bone is beyond me.

I didn’t really do much biking again until 2011 when I got a Garmin GPS/Heartrate monitor and started tracking my rides.  When I married Emily, she came with her Specialized mountain bike from her high school days.  It was a package deal.  I got the bike and Emily came for free!  It was a good deal!  In late 2011 I set out one night on my first official GPS tracked bike ride.  Satellites in space keeping track of my every mile!  Awesome!  I was riding a mountain bike but, on the road.  I started out riding on Belle Meade Boulevard right down the street from our house.  These first rides were less than 10 miles but I was rolling…DeanoRolls!

In January 2012 things got more serious.  I found a Specialized road bike on Craigslist and bought it.  I didn’t get too serious, however.  I didn’t wear the clip in shoes and tight biker spandex outfit.  I’m a normal clothes kind of biker.  Regardless, I was ready to start ramping up the miles (and I did in 2012).  Then life got in the way but in late 2015 I got going again and set a huge goal (for me) in 2016 to ride at least the distance of the Tour de France in the year.  I ended up that year meeting my goal while on my first Century Ride.  I rode that ride on a beautiful Tennessee fall day for my birthday.

Somewhere along the way, I switched from Garmin to Strava for all my tracking.  I think it works great.  I still ride the same red road bike, however.  It has been reworked a couple of times but it works great for my needs.

I still bike very often but I do much more hiking with Emily these days.  Still, nothing is as fun for me as setting out on a long bike ride with music playing and no real plan on where I’m heading.  Just ride!  I’ve had plenty of time to think while riding, listen to books, breathe fresh air, and huff up and down the hills of Tennessee.  I love climbing hills so the roads of Warner Parks are my favorite place to ride hands down.  Ride, Fat Boy, Ride!

The next major purchase at Dean Manor will be two new mountain bikes for Emily and I to use to explore far and near.  Maybe we will record some epic rides together?  Hopefully!

My Mileage By Year

Year Mileage Total
2011 170
2012 1,002
2013 366
2014 52
2015 708
2016 2,243
2017 1,517
2018 818
2019 608 (so far)

I’m not being lazy in 2019. I’m just doing mostly walking/hiking with my beautiful bride. Regardless, I’ve ridden a little over 7,250 miles since 2011…my favorite rides?  Force ranked?  OK!

Deano’s Most Bumpin’ Bike Rides (To Date/Force Ranked)

  • #1 – My First Century (11/11/2016) – 100 miles – I planned my year’s goal (to ride at least the mileage of the Tour de France over the course of a year) to end up on my first Century Ride (100 mile bike ride) for my birthday on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  I had ridden home from Pop’s farm earlier in the year (in August) to try it out.  A few months later, however: 1) daylight savings time was over, 2) the days were much shorter, and 3) the days were much colder.  I was huffing it to get this ride in during daylight (and was unsuccessful).  Regardless, spending a beautiful day riding up and down the Natchez Trace Parkway on a beautiful Tennessee Fall afternoon on my first ever century ride is going to be hard to topple off my list of most epic bike ride ever!
  • #2 – Music City Bikeway (Summer 2016 and 2017) – 60 miles – This ride starts off in Percy Warner Park near the Deep Wells entrance and runs along roads and greenways to the other side of Nashville and ends up at Percy Priest Dam.  It is a very diverse ride and goes right through the middle of downtown Nashville.  I think Nashville’s greenway system is great and this bikeway follows some of the very coolest ones.  There is only one part where you are on a main/major road (which I’m not crazy about).  I’ve done the entire there and back twice (once in two different Summers) and both times when I was done, I just thought “that is so cool”!  It also is a pretty long ride.  The combination has it sitting high up my list of epic rides.
  • #3 – Park City Utah Downhill Mountain (2 Runs) (7/23/2019) – 12 miles – 2nd time downhill mountain biking!  So fun!  2 runs of about 6 miles each (about an hour each) down the side of a very tall mountain on pretty difficult trails is fun city!  I wrecked twice.  The first time I flipped completely over pretty hard and suffered a pretty nasty shoulder/arm injury.  I kept going because I am a tough son of a gun (not really).  I still don’t even know how it happened (it all happened so fast).  The second time I got stalled out on a very rocky uphill bridge.  I jumped off and managed to stay on my feet and avoid the bone-crushing boulders until I was able to stop about 25 yards down the ski mountain.  This is what is referred to as fun times!
  • #4 – Breckenridge Downhill Mountain (4 Runs) (7/23/2018) – 14 miles – I had never downhill mountain biked before but let me tell you…this is the life!  When there is no snow on the ski mountains in the Summer you load your bike onto a ski lift.  It tows you and your bike to the top.  You get off and ride down as fast as you dare to go.  We made four runs of about 3-4 miles each and about 30 minutes a run.  A few close calls but no wrecks for this old man!  The scenery alone is amazing but getting to bike down is icing on the cake and so fun!
  • #5 – Pop’s Farm To Home on Natchez Trace Parkway (8/13/2016) – 45 miles – This was a test run on the Natchez Trace Parkway home from Pop’s farm one day.  I knew I could do 45 miles but I wanted to see how it was because I had not ridden on the Natchez Trace Parkway very much.  It was great.  Perfect road for road biking.  I rode down with Pop’s in the truck and we goofed around on his farm with some tractors then he dropped me off to ride my way home.
  • #6 – To Timberland Park (6/24/2017) – 44 miles – One morning I decided to keep going straight on Vaughn Road rather than turning into Edwin Warner Park like I normally would.  I had always heard the biking in the Harpeth River Valley (on Old Natchez, Old Hillsboro and Highway 96) was great.  I rode to Timberland Park on the Natchez Trace Parkway by the beautiful bridge crossing Highway 96 and then rode back.  It was a great ride.
  • #7 – All Roads Both Warners (2016 and 2017) – 35-45 miles – Up and down the hills inside both Warner parks with a sprinkle of the Harpeth Valley Greenway thrown in to run anywhere from 35-45 miles with HUGE elevation gains!  On a hot Summer day, you better bring some water bottles!  I’ve done combinations of this ride tons in 2016 and 2017 (and randomly ever since).  I love riding hills.
  • #8 – Music City Bikeway (One Way) (5/21/2016) – 32 miles – I left one morning for a ride after having eaten a kiwi…one kiwi.  I had a water bottle.  I got to the Percy Priest Dam 32 miles away and was pretty much tapped out.  I didn’t plan to go that far (or even that way at all).  It just happened.  I also don’t think Emily planned to come pick me and my bike up that day.  It just happened.
  • #9 – Gaylord (10/20/2012) – 31 miles – One day after riding to downtown (to the Cumberland River and Titan’s stadium) I just kept going and rode through Shelby Park all the way to Gaylord across the Cumberland River (and back).  To date, it was my longest ride ever.
  • #10 – Vero Beach Fl To Fort Pierce Fl (10/1/2016) – 21 miles – While on vacation in Florida I struck out one day from Pop’s house in Vero Beach up the road to Fort Pierce.  There is a concrete path that runs beside the road (but is not on the main road).  It is a pretty safe way to ensure an “old Florida gray hair” doesn’t obliterate me from this planet.  I’ve done this route many times on almost every trip we’ve taken down to visit their house.  It is a fun, flat ride with lots of lizards, turtles, etc.  It also is extremely hard pedaling at least on direction depending on which way the wind is blowing in from the coast.
  • #11 – Big Loop Percy Warner (10/6/2012) – 16 miles – At some point, I stopped riding up and down West End at night and switched to day rides in Percy Warner Park.  I’d never done these rides but the park was perfect.  I soon began exploring all the roads (and different loops I could do from my house up the street) within the park and really loved the hills!  Add in that there were no 3,000-pound cars ready to mow me over and I had found a new biking home.  I have ridden hundreds and hundreds of miles in the Warner Parks (and many miles of elevation gain).
  • #12 – Cumberland River and Back (9/16/2012) – 17 miles – Eventually I needed more miles so I kept going up West End (and Lower Broadway) into downtown Nashville until I made it to the Cumberland River.  Then I started crossing the pedestrian bridge over to the Titan’s stadium.  These were very fun rides.  It was fun being downtown on weeknights seeing how busy everything was.
  • #13 – Déjà Vu and Back (2/23/2012) – 15 miles – Once I cranked back up in 2012, I needed more miles.  I would leave each night and tell Emily I was going to “the Vu”.  Déjà Vu was a “gentleman’s club” in downtown Nashville (99 beautiful girls and 1 ugly one).  This was the perfect and most logical next step for my quests up West End each night.  Emily was never as amused as I was with this (obvious) joke!?!?  I went to “the Vu” a lot that Spring/Summer.
  • #14 – I440 and Back (8/10/2011) – 10 miles – Once I got comfortable riding, I quickly outgrew making loops on Belle Meade Boulevard.  I rode at night and had lights everywhere.  One night I hung a right and took West End up to Interstate 440.  This became my standard ride for the rest of 2011.  The roads where way less crowded late at night when I did these rides so I actually felt pretty safe.
  • #15 – Boulevard and Back (8/7/2011) – 8.4 miles – I remember loading up the mountain bike’s water rack with Gatorade bottles (to give me fuel I guess?!?!).  I probably drank more calories than I burned on these initial night rides.  Ha!  It was a start and I learned a lot quickly.  One night I even got pulled over by a Belle Meade policeman…like blue lights and voice over the loudspeaker.  It seems he had seen me riding a few nights in a row and I didn’t have the correct lighting installed.  I got a warning and promised to correct the situation (and did).
  • #16 – Family Bike Rides @ Hamilton Creek, Montgomery Bell, and Cumberland River Greenway – Before I was riding for fitness and for big miles I rode with the family.  We’d load all the bikes up and ride trails (dirt and greenways) around Nashville.  These were the seeds that turned into longer and longer solo rides.

If you want to follow along and keep track of my rides (and vice versa) let’s link up on Strava (https://www.strava.com/athletes/19668663).  If it ain’t on Strava it didn’t happen!  Better yet if you want to go for a ride together let me know and I’ll try to keep up with you!

7/31/2019

Published by deanorolls

Well, if I told you that you wouldn't need to go to my website...now would you?!?!

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