Sunday, December 21, 2008

2007-2008 Holiday Letter

2007 was a busy year, and we never got around to writing our annual holiday letter. We procrastinated, and consequently we are doing a joint 2007-2008 update.

As usual, in 2007 Tom spent countless hours on his bicycle, and Tracy spent countless hours immersed in her studies for her Doctorate in Education. In between the hours in the saddle or with a nose in a book, there were opportunities for travel, relaxation in Seattle, and the introduction of two new four-legged friends into our lives.

Tom rode 8800 miles during the year, a few less than usual, but he did manage to climb over 500,000’ on his bike during the course of 2007. 63,200 of those feet involved riding across the Pyrenees Mountains of France. He started on the Mediterranean Coast in El Port de la Selva, Spain, and finished on the “Gold Coast” at Biarritz, France.

Tom continued in his role as a director on the Cascade Bicycle Club board, and helped develop a new annual event for the club held at Mt. St. Helens. It’s called the High Pass Challenge. Tracy was “volunteer extraordinaire” throughout the whole process. Tom also managed to ride in the event, and got to wear the #1 bib number for the only time in his life! Of course, Tracy managed to throw her leg over her bicycle for the occasional ride, but her real focus this year was running.
In 2006, Tracy enrolled in the University of Washington’s Leadership for Learning Education Doctorate program. She spent one Friday/Saturday a month engaged in class work, with a considerable amount of time between class sessions reading and writing. If all goes well, she’ll walk across the stage in June 2009 with her “funny hat” and purple velvet robe.

After staying close to home in 2006, we decided to take flight a couple of times in 2007. In February, we took a vacation to sunny, warm Oahu. With a hotel right across from Waikiki Beach, we determined that the best way to spend seven days in tropical paradise was to stay close to the sand and surf. We took walks, lounged by the pool, and cruised the beach each day. The weather cooperated nicely so that we were able to return from Hawaii well refreshed and slightly tan.

In April, we flew down to Scottsdale to stay with Tom’s long-time friend, Karen. Her place just outside the main part of the city provided a terrific base for another week in warm, sunny weather. Tom took his bike on this jaunt, and spent some time exploring the hills around Scottsdale. We also drove down to Tucson—taking the bike, of course—to spend a couple of days down in that area. Tom had the chance to ride up through six climactic zones to the ski area on Mount Lemmon.

The coup de gras to this year of outside-of-Washington travel was Tom’s trip to France. He spent a total of 11 days in Europe, including 550 miles of cycling over 7 days crossing the Pyrenees.

When we were in Seattle (which, really, was most of the time), we made 2007 the year of exploring the city like a tourist. We toured SAM’s newly expanded digs, walked through the Olympic Sculpture Park, enjoyed various neighborhood haunts like the Shanty CafĂ©, watched the Blue Angels, biked to Alki and back, contemplated “riding the ducks” (although Tracy’s not sure she could handle having to quack on command), and spent many, many days at the Pike Place Market.

A sad note to 2007 was saying good-bye to Madeline, our calico cat. She died in April after a pampered life. Toward the end of May, as we were enjoying the annual University of Washington Street Fair, we were captivated by two new feline friends. Aspin and Mente, two fluffy little calico girls named for two passes Tom rode over in France, joined us in June (they had to get big enough to come home) and have made it their personal mission to torture their new “brother” Zeke, our orange tabby. They’re adorable. They’re naughty. They make us laugh every day!

In 2008, Tracy continues on in her fourth year as principal of Phantom Lake Elementary in Bellevue. In October, Tracy passed her General Exams, and upon completion of her dissertation will earn her Doctorate in Education in June of 2009. Already the most intelligent and highly educated person Tom has ever known, Tracy just keeps pouring it on. :) Who knows what the next great adventure lays ahead in her career path?

We spent a long Memorial Day weekend at Lake Chelan at a friend’s place. While Tom focused on cycling in preparation for his upcoming trip, Tracy focused on relaxing lakeside.

Tom went back to Europe in June for what he views as the cycling adventure of a lifetime. Spending almost three weeks with his friends Laura and Tim Wyckoff in Germany, France, and Italy, Tim and Tom managed to climb in excess of 93,000’ over some of the most storied roads in Europe. Tom flew to Munich, where Tim and Laura are spending three years while Tim works as a patent attorney. Laura was not working while Tom was visiting, and she volunteered to “sag” and support the two riders. First up were the Dolomites, and then Tim and Tom rode up the mighty Stelvio en route to three rest days in Bellagio at Lake Como. Next up (literally) were the famous climbs of the high French Alps, and finally a ride to the Mediterranean Sea through the French Maritime Alps.

Upon his return from Europe, Tom began publishing this blog.

Tom and Tracy volunteered as a team at the second annual High Pass Challenge, and Tom claims to have had more fun than last year when he rode in the 114 mile event.

Despite not doing a single ride in excess of 100 miles in 2008, through mid-December, Tom has managed to ride his four bicycles a little over 9200 miles, accumulating over 620,000‘ of climbing in the process. Given that we are experiencing the most prolonged cold and snowy (yes, snowy in Seattle!) weather since 1990, it’s possible that he is done for the year.

We don’t know anyone who we think would claim to have had a great year economically in 2008, but we do have a lot of friends who have had a fantastic year otherwise. Count us in that camp.

We hope you and yours have a wonderful 2009!

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