2021: A Year in Review
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Welcome to a New Year! While 2021 wasn’t quite the redemption year we all had been hoping for after the car crash of 2020, it was still significantly better in my book. I hope yours was, too!
I finally got to do some international travel, which I hadn’t done since 2018 ?. It was amazing to get on a plane and explore new places. It definitely refueled my love for travel and I can’t wait to plan more trips for this year.
I also checked off a lot of great bike rides and trails around the US and my blog – Two Wheeled Wanderer – has really taken off, which is exciting! So whoever is reading, this THANK YOU. I really appreciate your support 🙂
Now let’s dive into my 2021 year in review.
Where I Was in 2021
January | home in california
February | home in california
March | moab, southern utah
April | caliente, bay area, capitol reef national park
May | tucson, bend, biking across washington
June | home in california, mammoth bike park
July | downieville & quincy
August | telluride to moab, driving across country, vermont
September | vermont, peru
October | driving across country, sedona
November | oaxaca, new olreans
December | home in california
2021 in a nutshell
Every year has its highs and lows. Thankfully, 2021 was packed with a lot of highs and only a few lows. Keep reading for a more detailed review of this past year.
The Best of 2021
- Welcoming my new nephew Wilder into this world! Wilder was born in February and it’s been fun watching him grow alongside my 4-year old neice. Can’t wait to get him on a bike ?.
- Doing a two-night self-supported bikepacking trip on the White Rim. So epic!
- Bikepacking the Cathedral Valley Loop in Capitor Reef National Park with my friend Michelle. It was just a quick one-nighter, but coasting through Cathedral Valley was pretty special.
- Getting my Level 1 PMBIA coaching certification and volunteering at two Ladies AllRide Camps: Sedona and the Kingdom Trails in Vermont.
- Pedaling 630 miles across the state of Washington with my friend Michelle!
- Snagging a new 2020 mixed wheel Santa Cruz Bronson. I’ve gone through a lot of mountain bikes over the past few years, but I think I’ll be keeping this one for awhile.
- Showing my dad around Mammoth Bike Park and taking him out to Downieville and Quincy for a few days of big descents.
- Hitting the Flow Drop for the first time! This is the biggest drop at Mammoth at about 8+ feet.
- Completing the Telluride to Moab hut-to-hut mountain bike route. Note I said completing this trip….
- Mountain biking in Peru! Everything about this trip was amazing including Machu Picchu.
- The Switchgrass Trails in Kansas were a surpisingly good time. The camping at Wilson State Park was beautiful, too.
- Discovering the RAT Trails in Ridgway, Colorado. These trails are super well built, fun, and flowy.
- Exploring the Oaxaca mountain biking scene with Oaxaca Bike Expeditions. My dad joined us on this trip and we had a blast!
- Spending three weeks in New Orleans on a housesit and exploring the bike paths, locals hikes, food, music, and more.
The Worst of 2021
- The fact that the pandemic still isn’t over…
- Rolling my ankle really bad just before starting the Telluride to Moab trip. I still did the trip, but it was quite sore.
- Riding the Palisade Plunge in Colorado. There was a lot of hype about this trail, but it just didn’t live up to expectionations, unfortunately.
- Feeling a bit burned out on bikes by the end of 2021 ?
2021 in Detail
Unlike last year when January was full of mountain bike adventures in Phoenix, Arizona, this year was a bit different. Covid was still very much present, so we continued to lie low and spin around our local trails. We did get two big snowstorms that blanketed the singletrack in white for a few days, so we also broke out the Chameleons for some winter fat biking escapades.
One big thing that happened in January was that I (finally) got an MRI for the back pain I’ve been experiencing for the past few years. Turns out I have three (!) bulging discs. On one hand, it’s nice to know that I wasn’t imagining the pain, but on the other hand, the pain is still there and who knows how long it’s going to take to fully heal.
February was more of hanging out at home and riding our local trails in Bishop. I did a lot of work on my blog and tried to take care of my back as much as possible. I ordered a Teeter inversion table, which has helped a lot!
Itching to find some warmer weather and sunny biking adventures, we packed up Bandit in early March and headed out to Utah. Our first stop was Moab where we embarked on a two-night self-supported bikepacking trip on the White Rim trail. It was epic! The views out over Canyonlands are incredible and getting off the grid for a couple of days felt amazing. I loved every second of it, even pushing my 60 lb bike to the top of Murphey’s Hogback.
We brought both our bikepacking bikes and mountain bikes with us to Utah, so after the White Rim, we bounced around southern Utah exploring a few new places like Goblin Valley State Park and Good Water Rim. We also explore some new (to me) trail networks around Moab like Klonzo and Navajo Rocks. I’m working on a complete mountain biking guide to Moab, but I need to spend some more time there. There’s so much trail to ride!
We were home for a few days after Utah before packing up again to hit the Caliente trails in Nevada. We’d visited Caliente about a year ago but wanted to go back to see how the trails are holding up and what new trail work has been done. Caliente is still a bit under the radar, but it’s super fun and definitely worth a visit!
After that, we headed to the Bay Area to visit Andy’s mom. We did some riding on Mt. Diablo and Shell Ridge. The wildflowers were blooming and everything was vibrant green. It was beautiful!
As a final finale to an already packed month, I sprinted out to Capitol Reef National Park to do a one-night shakedown bikepacking trip with my friend Michelle before biking across the state of Washington together in May. We did the Cathedral Valley Loop, which was pretty cool. The second day of pedaling through the valley is absolutely stunning (and mostly downhill ?).
May was another super packed month! I had committed to doing a housesit in Tucson, which I kind of regretted in the moment since my travel plans were so hectic, but it was fun anyway. Even though the temps were already getting pretty warm, I explored most of the mountain biking networks around the city.
After Tucson, it was time to get ready for my bikepacking adventure across Washington! But first, I headed to Bend, Oregon to do my Level 1 PMBIA coaching course, which was awesome. I’m hoping that this year, in 2022, I’ll be able to do more mountain bike coaching.
After Bend, I met up with my friend Michelle in Spokane, Washington and we took a train across the state to Seattle. We then boarded a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula and finally a shuttle to the start of the Cross-Washington Mountain Bike Route near La Push on the Pacific coast. For the next 12 days, we pedaled (and pushed) our bikes 630 miles back to Spokane!
June was a rest month ?. Sort of. I took a few days to recover from my cross-Washington trip and then hit the Mammoth Bike Park for some pumicey, lift-served downhill fun. My dad also came out to visit for a few weeks and I got to show him around our local trails, which was awesome.
In July, we did a quick trip to Downieville and Quincy. This was right before Mount Hough got hammered by the Dixie wildfire ?. The trails are open again and the Lost Sierra could definitely use some tourism dollars, so if you’re looking for a fun mountain bike trip for 2022, consider heading to Quincy and Downieville!
There was no rest for the weary in 2021. In August, we packed up Bandit again and headed back to Moab where we set off on the Telluride to Moab Hut-To-Hut Mountain Bike adventure. I’m not gonna lie, this trip kicked my butt. There are some massive climbs and I don’t really do well at elevation nor do I sleep well in a hut with four other riders, three of whom snore. That being said, we had a great group of people and while I wouldn’t do it again, I’m glad I did it once.
From Moab, we continued east toward Vermont, making it home just in time for the 2021 Tour de Valley ride, an annual event put on by my dad’s mountain bike club. But holy moly was it hot! I only completed about 15 miles of the 30-mile ride before throwing in the towel. I’d never been that hot and dehydrated before in my life.
I also got to participate in a Ladies AllRide camp at Kingdom Trails as a volunteer. I loved being part of this amazing group of women and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be invited back as an assistant coach in 2022!
In September I flew out of Burlington, Vermont to Peru for an incredible 10 days of Peruvian magic. It had been almost three years since I had taken an international trip and I was SO ready. I spent a few days exploring Lima (including a Lima bike tour) and then I flew to Cusco for seven days of mountain biking in the Sacred Valley. It was incredible. The views, the riding, the food… all of it was amazing. I wasn’t ready to go home!
After Peru, I flew back to Vermont, and Andy and I started our drive back across the US. We beelined it to Sedona (with a brief stop in Kansas, which surprisingly has some super fun singletrack). In Sedona, I volunteered at another Ladies AllRide camp, and then we finished our trip back home to California. For a hot second…
We were only home in Bishop for about a week (after being gone for three months!) before we packed up our bikes and flew to Oaxaca, Mexico. Last year, I had signed us up for the Día de los Muertos mountain bike trip with Oaxaca Bike Expeditions and I was stoked.
My dad joined us in Oaxaca and we spent a few days exploring the city before meeting up with the rest of our mountain bike group. For the next six days, we did shuttles on shuttles in the mountains surrounding the city. The trails and riding were awesome! It was definitely more challenging and steep than I expected, but so much fun. After six days of riding, though, my body felt beat!
I probably should have called it quits on travel for the year, but a three-week housesitting gig in New Orleans popped up and I couldn’t say no. So, two weeks after getting back from Mexico, I flew to Louisiana for some good food, skinny tires (the homeowners left me a road bike!), and southern charm. I loved it.
My New Orleans housesit went until mid-December, which gave me plenty of time to explore the bike trails, do some bike tours, and get a feel for the city. It’s a cool place. I don’t think I could live there (especially with the summer heat and humidity!) but I had a great time exploring.
It probably won’t surprise you that at this point in the year, I was feeling pretty burned out with biking, so for the last few weeks of December I put my bikes away until the New Year!
My Year In Numbers
Countries biked in | 3
United States, Peru, Mexico
States biked in | 11
California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Colorado, Kansas
Distance Pedaled | 2,730.8 miles
Time on a Bike | 344h 2m
Elev Gain | 283,855
Rides Ridden | 163
(*some bike park chairlifts & shuttles included in stats)
What’s in store for 2022
2022 is sure to be another adventure-packed year! I have a lot of great ideas on my bike-it list, so I’m hoping to check a few of them off in the coming months. Here’s a rough look at 2022:
- I have a housesit lined up in Bend, Oregon at the end of April/early May. Fingers crossed the snow will be mostly melted so I can get out on the trails ?
- After my housesit, Andy is planning on meeting me up in the PNW so we can explore Oregon and Washington. I’d love to get back to Oakridge and the Seattle area and maybe hit up Hood River becuase I hear it’s good!
- In June, I’ll be heading to Idaho to help out Kristen of Bearfoot Theory (who I work behind the scenes for) with her Open Roads Fest. It should be a super fun time. If you have a van or you’re van-curious, come join us!
- Volunteering or assistant coaching with Ladies AllRide. I had such a great time at the Sedona and Vermont camps and I’m hoping to participate in a few this year as an assistant coach. If not, I’ll definitely sign up to be a volunteer again!
- Heading back to Bentonville. We didn’t get back to Arkansas in 2021 like we wanted, but we’re hoping to spend most of the fall there.
- I am hoping to also do another international trip, but I don’t have any set plans as of now, but I have some ideas 🙂
And that’s a wrap! I hope your 2021 had plenty of highlights and adventures. I’m excited to see what 2022 will have in store for us!
What were the highlights or lowlights of your year? What biking adventures do you have planned for 2022? Let me know in the comments!
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I recently came upon your post and have enjoyed perusing it! Thanks for sharing your adventures and thoughts. Here’s my 2021 mountain biking highlights:
Jan/Feb/May/Sept/Dec – stay at home in CA
April – southern Utah (including Thunder Mountain!)
June – Downieville/Lakes Basin/Nevada City
July – CO (Crested Butte, Fruita)
Aug- Ibis Migration at home
Oct – (Pittsburgh, PA/Davis, West Virginia)
Nov – Redding/Mt Shasta/Ashland – OR
Trailforks Summary: (includes 2 bike park days :))
Rides 168 Distance 2,390 miles Climb 358,369 Moving Time 306h 58m
Hi Pam! Sounds like you had a great year on a bike, too. I really want to get to Thunder Mountain this year, it looks incredible. Thanks for sharing!