The truth is I struggled to put my finger on how to sum up this year. The more I thought about it though, the word that kept bubbling up was routine. In 2021 I did a series of big rides and really pushed myself to the limits. As the year closed, I was training to attempt a Rapha Festive 500 that covered the whole distance in a single ride. In the end, that ride got cancelled for snow but I didn’t want to back off the training.
Every Sunday I rode about 120k no matter the weather. I spent the time with amazing people, and I witnessed amazing landscapes, but it became routine. I wasn’t pushing myself, in fact I was getting slower but I kept going. This year I did one big ride around 320km but otherwise I just kept doing 120km every Sunday. It meant that there was no event I couldn’t do on a whim but it also meant those events felt routine. It took a coach to convince me to make a change. As this year comes to a close, I’m riding less, upping my intensity, and opting to spend less time in the worst of the weather.
Allowing myself some softness has also allowed hope to come back. The routine is starting to dissipate and there’s excitement in my riding again. I don’t have big plans for the rest of this winter. I know I can go out in any weather Portland Oregon has to offer but I also don’t have to. Instead, what is on my mind is the stories that I’m planning to bring our readers next year. Big adventures in amazing locations with amazing gear. These are the stories that inspire me and now I have the chance to tell my own. For now, keep reading to see some of my favourite gear from 2022.
As I sat down to put together this list, I knew without a doubt I wanted to include a Campagnolo product. The only question was which one. This year I spent time climbing up and down the Dolomites with Campagnolo Super Record EPS and I spent time climbing up and down the Cascades with Campagnolo Ekar. Both times the experience was exquisite and, in particular, the brakes stand out for above-and-beyond performance. Between the two, Ekar gets the nod because it does something no one else does.
Simply put, Campagnolo Ekar is what I would create if I imagined a mechanical gravel groupset. 1x means simpler decisions when dealing with technical terrain and having 1×13 means no hunting for gears and plenty of range. When I imagine, or describe, a gravel groupset I…