Massachusetts Legislation Would Trigger a ‘$10 Billion Building Spree’ in Offshore Wind Generation

first_imgMassachusetts Legislation Would Trigger a ‘$10 Billion Building Spree’ in Offshore Wind Generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Joe Ryan for Bloomberg News:Lawmakers in Massachusetts are drafting a bill that would jump-start the offshore wind industry in the U.S., helping trigger a $10 billion building spree off the Atlantic coast.The energy bill may be introduced as early as this month and is expected to require utilities to purchase power from offshore wind farms, according to Representative Thomas Golden, one of the Democrats who control the state legislature.Still to be determined is how much power utilities would be forced to buy under the bill and, crucially, whether the state’s Republican governor — who has already opposed one offshore project — will sign it.Developers want legislators to mandate the sale of 2,000 megawatts over a decade, enough to power roughly 1.6 million households. Building the infrastructure to deliver that capacity would cost about $10 billion, said Tom Harries, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It also would give developers their first chance to build the farms on a mass scale outside Europe and Asia, in a region where powerful ocean winds and high energy prices will provide a key proving ground.“This bill would be the last piece of the puzzle to get the industry going,” said Thomas Brostrom, general manager of North America for Dong Energy A/S, the world’s largest offshore wind developer.Three companies — Dong, Deepwater Wind LLC and Offshore MW LLC — have leases from the federal government to build in the waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. Deepwater last year began constructing the nation’s first offshore wind farm off Rhode Island. Dong, meanwhile, has opened an office in Boston anticipating the Massachusetts legislation, and is hunting for further sites along the East Coast.Full article: U.S. State Has Key to $10 Billion Offshore Wind Boomlast_img read more

On the Blogs: Growing Body of Research Finds Net Benefits in Rooftop Solar

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mark Muro and Devashree Saha for the Brookings Institute:Does net metering really represent a net cost shift from solar-owning households to others? Or does it in fact contribute net benefits to the grid, utilities, and other ratepayer groups when all costs and benefits are factored in? What does the accumulating national literature on costs and benefits of net metering say?  Increasingly it concludes— whether conducted by PUCs, national labs, or academics — that the economic benefits of net metering actually outweigh the costs and impose no significant cost increase for non-solar customers.  Far from a net cost, net metering is in most cases a net benefit—for the utility and for non-solar rate-payers.By the end of 2015, regulators in at least 10 states had conducted studies to develop methodologies to value distributed generation and net metering, while other states conducted less formal inquiries, ranging from direct rate design or net-metering policy changes to general education of decision makers and the public. And there is a degree of consensus.In 2013 Vermont’s Public Service Department conducted a study that concluded that “net-metered systems do not impose a significant net cost to ratepayers who are not net-metering participants.” The legislatively mandated analysis deemed the policy a successful component of the state’s overall energy strategy that is cost effectively advancing Vermont’s renewable energy goals.In 2014 a study commissioned by the Nevada Public Utility Commission itself concluded that net metering provided $36 million in benefits to all NV Energy customers, confirming that solar energy can provide cost savings for both solar and non-solar customers alike. What’s more, solar installations will make fewer costly grid upgrades necessary, leading to additional savings. The study estimated a net benefit of $166 million over the lifetime of solar systems installed through 2016. Furthermore, due to changes to utility incentives and net-metering policies in Nevada starting in 2014, solar customers would not be significantly shifting costs to other ratepayers.A 2014 study commissioned by the Mississippi Public Services Commission concluded that the benefits of implementing net metering for solar PV in Mississippi outweigh the costs in all but one scenario. The study found that distributed solar can help avoid significant infrastructure investments, take pressure off the state’s oil and gas generation at peak demand times, and lower rates. (However, the study also warned that increased penetrations of distributed solar could lead to lower revenues for utilities and suggested that the state investigate Value of Solar Tariffs, or VOST, and other alternative valuations to calculate the true cost of solar.)In 2014 Minnesota’s Public Utility Commission approved a first-ever statewide “value of solar” methodology which affirmed that distributed solar generation is worth more than its retail price and concluded that net metering undervalues rooftop solar. The “value of solar” methodology is designed to capture the societal value of PV-generated electricity. The PUC found that the value of solar was at 14.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh)—which was 3 to 3.5 cents more per kilowatt than Xcel’s retail rates—when other metrics such as the social cost of carbon, the avoided construction of new power stations, and the displacement of more expensive power sources were factored in.Another study commissioned by the Maine Public Utility Commission in 2015 put a value of $0.33 per kWh on energy generated by distributed solar, compared to the average retail price of $0.13 per kWh — the rate at which electricity is sold to residential customers as well as the rate at which distributed solar is compensated. The study concludes that solar power provides a substantial public benefit because it reduces electricity prices due to the displacement of more expensive power sources, reduces air and climate pollution, reduces costs for the electric grid system, reduces the need to build more power plants to meet peak demand, stabilizes prices, and promotes energy security. These avoided costs represent a net benefit for non-solar ratepayers.These generally positive PUC conclusions about the benefits of net metering have been supported by research done by a national lab and several think tanks. Important lab research has examined how substantially higher adoption of distributed resources might look.In a forward-looking analysis of the financial impacts of net-metered energy on utilities and ratepayers, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that while high use of net-metered solar generation may decrease utility shareholders’ earnings, it will have a “relatively modest” impact on ratepayers. The report examined solar penetration levels that are “substantially higher than [those that] exist today” — 10 percent compared to today’s 0.2 percent — and concluded that “even at penetration levels significantly higher than today, the impacts of customer-sited PV on average retail rates may be relatively modest.” The report further said that utilities and regulators “may have sufficient time to address concerns about the rate impacts of PV in a measured and deliberate manner”Similarly, a growing number of academic and think tank studies have found that solar energy is being undervalued and that it delivers benefits far beyond what solar customers are receiving in net-metering credits:For instance, a review of 11 net metering studies by Environment America Research and Policy Center has found that distributed solar offers net benefits to the entire electric grid through reduced capital investment costs, avoided energy costs, and reduced environmental compliance costs. Eight of the 11 studies found the value of solar energy to be higher than the average local residential retail electricity rate: The median value of solar power across all 11 studies was nearly 17 cents per unit, compared to the nation’s average retail electricity rate of about 12 cents per unit.A 2015 cost-benefit study of net metering in Missouri by the Missouri Energy Initiative found that even accounting for increased utility administrative costs and the shifting of some fixed expenses, net metering is a net benefit for all customers regardless of whether they have rooftop solar. The study used values for two kinds of costs and two benefits and concluded that net metering’s “net effect” is positive. The typical solar owner pays only 20 percent less in fixed grid costs and costs the utility an estimated $187 per interconnection. Meanwhile, solar owners benefit the system through reduced emissions and energy costs.Likewise, a study by Acadia Center found the value of solar to exceed 22 cents per kWh of value for Massachusetts ratepayers through reduced energy and infrastructure costs, lower fuel prices, and lowering the cost of compliance with the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas requirements. This value was estimated to exceed the retail rate provided through net metering.In yet another study, researchers at the University at Albany, George Washington University, and Clean Power Research have found that solar installations in New York deliver between 15 and 40 cents per kWh to ratepayers. The study noted that these numbers provide economic justification for the existence of incentives that transfer value from those who benefit from solar electric generation to those who invest in solar electric generation.In short, while the conclusions vary, a significant body of cost-benefit research conducted by PUCs, consultants, and research organizations provides substantial evidence that net metering is more often than not a net benefit to the grid and all ratepayers.Full item: Rooftop solar: Net metering is a net benefit On the Blogs: Growing Body of Research Finds Net Benefits in Rooftop Solarlast_img read more

Ørsted gets U.S. green light for Deepwater Wind purchase

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Maritime Executive:Ørsted has obtained approval by U.S. competition authorities completed the acquisition of a 100 percent equity interest in Deepwater Wind.Ørsted entered into an agreement with the D.E. Shaw Group to acquire a 100 percent equity interest in Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind earlier this month at a purchase price of $510 million.The two companies’ offshore wind assets and organizations will be merged to become the group with most comprehensive geographic coverage and the largest pipeline of development capacity in the U.S.Deepwater Wind’s portfolio has a total potential capacity of approx. 3.3GW. With the combined organization and asset portfolio, Ørsted will be able to deliver clean energy to the seven states on the U.S. East Coast that have already committed to build in total more than 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.The name of the new organization is Ørsted US Offshore Wind. It will be represented by a local management team headed by Ørsted US Offshore Wind CEO Thomas Brostrøm, Co-CEO Jeff Grybowski, President and CFO David Hang both from Deepwater Wind, and COO Claus Bøjle Møller from Ørsted.More: Ørsted completes acquisition of Deepwater Wind Ørsted gets U.S. green light for Deepwater Wind purchaselast_img read more

Idaho Power executive says company on ‘glide path away from coal’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Idaho Press:Idaho Power’s energy profile has gotten cleaner and more renewable-based over the past 10 years, a shift rooted in a mix of legal requirements and economic factors. Idaho Power’s use of coal has declined considerably over the past decade. In 2008, 46.1 percent of Idaho Power’s energy came from coal. In 2017, the most recent numbers available, coal is down to 18.3 percent.“A lot of it has to do with economics, natural gas prices where they are today compared to where they were, say, 10 years ago,” said Mitch Colburn, Idaho Power’s director of resource planning and operations.The “glide path away from coal,” as Colburn described it, is a mix of renewable sources and natural gas.Idaho Power has an ownership stake in and generates energy from three coal plants. It makes up 50 percent of coal operations at Valmy in Nevada, 10 percent of operations at a coal plant in Boardman, Oregon, and 33 percent of operations at Jim Bridger Coal Plant in Wyoming, Colburn said. Idaho Power has penned an agreement to stop operations in the coming years in Boardman, and it plans to phase out operations at Valmy and Jim Bridger, too, Colburn said.Idaho Power has gone from natural gas making up 3.8 percent of its yearly load in 2008, to 8.4 percent of its load in 2017. Its use of natural gas in the last 10 years peaked in 2015, when it made up 14.3 percent of its load.Renewables such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy are footing a considerably larger part of the load now, too. Idaho Power’s supply was only 2.7 percent renewables — not including its hydropower operations — in 2008. In 2017, the renewable energy supply made up for roughly 23.8 percent of the yearly load.More: Idaho Power’s energy profile has gotten cleaner, but use of renewable energy proves a constant balancing act Idaho Power executive says company on ‘glide path away from coal’last_img read more

GM, Ford sign big wind power deals with Michigan utility DTE

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Crain’s Detroit Business:General Motors will use 100 percent renewable energy to power its global technical center in Warren and a large part of its Detroit-based world headquarters at the Renaissance Center.About 300,000 megawatt-hours of wind power, enough to power about 30,000 households per year, will come from DTE Energy Co.’s MIGreenPower program, said GM and DTE in a statement. Nationwide, GM said its renewable energy deals to date total 1.71 terawatt hours, more than any other automaker in the region.Last week, Ford Motor Co. signed a similar deal with DTE for 500,000 megawatt hours through MIGreenPower.DTE said it plans to build or acquire new wind projects to source the MIGreenPower program that Ford has joined. The Detroit-based company did not say where they would be located as sites are being investigated. The company now has 13 wind parks and 31 solar arrays. The wind parks are in the Thumb and mid-Michigan. The utility said it plans in March to commission its largest park so far, in Gratiot and Isabella counties in Mid-Michigan.In January, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a special rate structure for DTE to expand MIGreenPower, its voluntary renewable energy program for large corporate and industrial customers. GM is the second company, after Ford, to take advantage of this new structure. In 2017, DTE launched a slightly different MIGreenPower voluntary program to residential customers in which people pay extra on their monthly bills to support renewable energy capacity. Customers can invest in DTE-owned wind and solar farms by paying about $5 extra per month. Michigan’s 2016 energy law mandated utilities to create a green pricing program for customers.GM officials also said the company now generates 20 percent of its global energy supply from renewables. GM also is a member of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance and an early signatory of RE100, a collaborative global initiative uniting influential businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, working to massively increase demand for and delivery of renewable energy.More: DTE, General Motors agree to wind farm green energy project GM, Ford sign big wind power deals with Michigan utility DTElast_img read more

Hawaiian Electric seeks 900MW of renewables and storage for fossil fuel phaseout

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Hawaiian Electric issued a long-awaited request for proposals on Thursday for about 900 megawatts of renewable energy and energy storage projects. It’s the utility’s second major round of contracts in the past year seeking to marry variable solar and wind power with the capacity and flexibility of batteries.But the Variable Renewable Dispatchable Generation and Energy Storage RFPs that opened on Thursday are a bit more complicated than their headline figures might indicate. The RFPs are seeking technologies equal to 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu, 135 megawatts for Maui and up to 203 megawatts for Hawaii Island.Unlike its first massive solar-storage procurement in January, HECO’s new RFPs are broken into a number of specific projects and specific needs across its three islands, with a mix of different technologies required. This complexity comes from the fact that these RFPs have been structured to help replace two big fossil-fuel-fired power plants to close in the next five years — the AES Hawaii coal-fired power plant that serves about one-sixth of Oahu’s peak demand, set to retire in 2022, and the oil-fired Kahului plant on Maui, set to close in 2024.This impending loss of two big spinning generators has pushed HECO and regulators to approve a mix-and-match of technology combination to replace them. That will make them hard to compare directly to HECO’s first round of procurements, as well as the utility-scale solar-plus-storage bids on the mainland.Developers winning HECO’s first-round RFP in January shocked the industry with prices ranging from 12 cents per kilowatt-hour to a record-breaking 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, as compared to average Hawaiian solar-storage project prices of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017 and 13.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2016.But “the Phase 2 RFP takes a more technically advanced approach toward resource planning,” Manghani stated in a July GTM Squared article in July. First, there’s a standalone storage component, with HECO seeking about 200 megawatts on Oahu and 40 megawatts on Maui, to provide capacity-like features to the respective island electric grids. Second, it includes a separate call for customer-based grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity for all three islands, in amounts ranging from 4 megawatts on Hawaii to nearly 120 megawatts on Oahu.More: Hawaiian Electric seeks bids for 900MW of ‘dispatchable renewables’ and storage Hawaiian Electric seeks 900MW of renewables and storage for fossil fuel phaseoutlast_img read more

Japanese consortium builds 100MW solar farm on abandoned golf course in Kyushu

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:A consortium of Japanese companies has transformed an abandoned golf course in Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest and south-western-most island, into a 100MW solar farm.GF Corporation, Kyocera Corporation, Kyudenko Corporation, and Tokyo Century Corporation said late last week that the power plant – the island’s largest – had begun generating power.The project, which has been in the planning for some six years, makes use of land set aside for a golf course more than 30 years ago that was subsequently abandoned. And it’s not the first time this has been done in Japan.In 2015, Kyocera and Tokyo Century started construction of a 23MW solar power plant on an abandoned golf course in Kyoto Prefecture. As Kyocera explained at the time, over-development of golf courses during the real estate boom of the 1990’s and 2000’s led to hundreds of idle courses that have since come under analysis for repurposing or redevelopment.Solar is being embraced as a particularly well-suited option due to the defunct golf courses’ expansive land mass, high sun exposure, and low concentration of shade trees.[Sophie Vorrath]More: Solar hole-in-one: Abandoned Japanese golf course reborn as 100MW PV plant Japanese consortium builds 100MW solar farm on abandoned golf course in Kyushulast_img read more

Unfinished Business

first_imgA couple of weeks ago, I set out to run the length of Shenandoah National Park on the A.T. While the distance (107 miles) was daunting, I had run that far before and figured the goal was achievable. Although it was to be a solo effort, the close proximity of the trail to Skyline Drive meant that there would be plenty of opportunities for crew support. My husband Mark agreed to follow along on the road and meet me every 4-6 miles with encouragement and refreshments. Early Saturday morning we packed the car and drove up to Front Royal; six hours later, I was off on my adventure.For the first twenty or so hours of my run, I felt great – confident and happy to be on the trail. It had been a hectic week, so the opportunity to spend hours alone in the woods was a real luxury. Midway through the second afternoon, however, the euphoria had worn off and I was over it. Exhausted and worn down by the miles, as well as the heat and humidity, my spirit was broken. When I met my crew at mile 88, I informed them that I was calling it a day. Shock and disbelief filled Mark’s face as he encouraged, cajoled, and even begged me to continue, promising that I’d get a second wind and would feel better in a few miles.No such doing – I had made up my mind and felt okay with my decision. I assured him that I would not regret the choice.Fast-forward twenty-four hours (or maybe it was only twelve) and I’m doing what all runners recovering from a DNF do:  planning my next attempt and struggling to make sense of my decision to pull the plug. I’ve been running and racing for 31 years and have DNF’d exactly three times, all due to significant injury. This time, I wasn’t injured – just hot and exhausted. What made me quit? Am I getting soft in my old age? And is it okay to accept defeat sometimes? I challenged that trail to a duel and I lost. It happens…but usually not to me.As I’ve processed this experience, one thing that I’ve realized is that the fact that this was a solo journey, rather than an organized race, made it easier to quit. Knowing that I had no one to answer to other than myself made stopping seem like less of a big deal. That, in turn, raised questions of why I run and for whom. It’s not easy to admit that part of the reason I push beyond the pain and discomfort is for the accolades I’ll receive from others. Big victories and course records garner a lot more attention than solitary excursions. It is far more difficult to persevere knowing that my accomplishment (or failure) will be unknown except to those closest to me. 1 2last_img read more

Soggy Bottom SUP Tour: Day 3

first_imgClick here to read reports from Day 1 and Day 2 of the tour.“Sunshine at Last” First stop – Cheat Lake, West VirginiaWe left Deep Creek under mostly cloudy skies and a temperature of 57, the weather forecast was promising as we headed southwest into West Virginia. By the time we reached our first stop of the day Cheat Lake, the sunshine had returned and the temperature was a warm 74 degrees, much better than the previous two days of rain and cool temperatures. We launched at Sunset Beach public boat launch and headed out of the cove into the main body of Cheat Lake, the water was cool around 67 degrees and rather cloudy with debris from the recent two days of storms, it was a fun paddle and easy access off of I – 68 and only minutes from Morgantown. The Cheat Lake is great place to learn to paddle board especially since it is so close to WVU and Morgantown area. We had a good paddle, we checked out the new bridge construction and a few lakefront houses and headed back to the launch to head to our next site Stonewall Jackson Resort and State Park.  Along the way we checked out the Mon river and Tygart rivers, due to all the rain the previous two days we skipped the paddle in downtown Morgantown on the Mon river and the stop at Tygart Lake. As the new name “Epic Stand Up Paddleboard Tour”  headed south on I – 79 to Stonewall Jackson Lake, we dialed up another friend, Jim Haas from our days at Snowshoe that works at a office along I-79 now near Bridgeport, West Virginia to look out the window as the paddleboard tour headed south. Cheat  Lake Area information:Launch site: Sunset Beach public boat launch, freePaddleboard rental nearby or Bring Your Own Board:  Sunset Beach Marina & WatersportsNearby lodging: Lakeview Resort, lots of lodging options in nearby MorgantownDining options: Archie’s Lakehouse (on the water, casual dining) Cheat Lake Pizza (pizza & pasta)Other nearby area activities: Coopers Rock (climbing, mountain biking and hiking) Cheat River (kayaking and rafting)Second stop – Stonewall Jackson LakeThis is now one of my  favorite paddleboard sites; I had been to the lake before for other activities in the past, but today’s visit was truly epic, we headed out from the launch near the lakefront cottages,(theses cottage are the perfect place to stay for a weekend paddleboard adventure with some friends, they are waterfront at the northern end of the park) the lake was calm, the skies were sunny and the water was a warm 74 degrees, almost as warm as the 76 degree air. We headed up the lake toward the Stonewall Resort lodge, we noticed a tunnel under the road leading to a cove which had some dead trees still standing from the days when the lake was built, the tunnel was a unique experience as was the gladed paddleboard trail through the old trees, on our return trip to the launch we saw a Osprey dive down and catch a fish about 25 yards away, we followed the shoreline around the other side of the lake back to launch which had many areas where you could stop and check out the beautiful scenery of the park. We returned to the launch to let Rasta and Bahama, my two 4 month old golden retriever puppies enjoy the water and do a little paddleboarding, this complete a great visit to Stonewall Jackson Lake. Once we convinced Rasta and Bahama to get off the boards and out of the water we loaded up and headed about 15 minutes down I – 79 to a new lake on the tour, that Jeff’s sister “Samme” had suggested since we missed Tygart Lake earlier due to the rain storms the previous two days, this new stop was Burnsville Lake.  1 2last_img read more

My Wife’s Spandex

first_imgA Non-Cyclist’s First Century RideIt wasn’t until I arrived at the starting line that I realized I was wearing my wife’s spandex.Already it had been a rough morning. I woke up to find my bicycle’s back tire was flat, so I hastily patched it with duct tape. Then I spent 30 minutes trying to cram my bike into the car. I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, and in the pre-dawn darkness, I grabbed the first black, stretchy garment I found in the laundry pile. It turned out to be my slender wife’s exercise shorts, which barely made it past my crotch. I ripped a gaping hole along the butt crack as soon as I stepped into them.“You’re really getting mileage out of those shorts, partner,” laughed a pair of cyclists gearing up beside me.I slinked bashfully to the back of the starting area where 350 other century cyclists had gathered. Most of them were wearing brightly colored team jerseys and fancy clip-in bike shoes. Their meaty quads and calves made my legs look like toothpicks. And my clunky, bottom-of-the-line bike seemed out of place beside their slim, streamlined cycles, fully equipped with aerobars, disc wheels and ultra-lightweight titanium frames.But I wasn’t out to beat them. I was trying to join them as a full-fledged member of the century club. Biking 100 miles was on my list of things to do before I die. That list was growing longer—and my life shorter—with each passing day.So I decided to sign up for my first century ride. It was a mountainous course—one of the toughest rides in the South, and also one of the most beautiful. I was looking forward to cruising wide-open country roads without the cars and congestion of city cycling. On the long ride, I hoped to get out of my cerebrum for a few hours and clear away some mental pollution.It was a symphony of sound at the starting line: first the blast of the start horn, then the percussion of thumb-clicking gears and shoes clipping into pedals, followed by the wind instruments spinning down the street.For the first few miles, I chatted with tandem cyclists and tried to keep pace with a pack of blue-jerseyed bikers drafting off each other. Then we hit the long, leg-burning lunge up a mountain, and the blue jerseys disappeared from view. I stood in my stirrups and cranked to the summit, then coasted down the back side of the mountain.Only 88 miles to go. To pass the time, I counted churches (11), tractors (16), and Confederate flags (5). When that got boring, I tried to remember all the girls I’d dated since high school (less than the number of Dixie flags). I sang Christmas carols. Then I thought about this handicapped guy named Brian I’d met the previous day, and how lucky I was to have legs and arms and good health. My mind wandered the apple orchards and lost itself in the green landscape.I felt good until I stopped at mile 40 to refill my water bottle. That’s when I noticed that I’d forgotten to zip up my seat pack. Somewhere in the first 40 miles, all of my food and tire levers had fallen out. I was in trouble. I’d have to rely on two aid stations – and a sliver of duct tape – to make it the rest of the way.Things only got worse as the day heated up. I guzzled down my water only a few minutes after refilling it, and the next water station was still 20 miles away. Waves of hills rolled relentlessly against me, and two hooligans in a red Volkswagen nearly ran me off the road.Then, at mile 65, I began the grueling, granny-gear climb up a three-mile ascent. It was slow going. I stopped halfway up to slurp the last water droplets from the bottom of my bottle. When I reached the top of the mountain five miles later, I was knackered.For the first time all day, I thought about calling it quits. My chafed crotch ached in the stiff saddle, charley horses galloped through my calves, and my hands were bruised and blistered from clasping the grips too tightly. I was completely parched. I hated cycling and vowed never to ride again. But I knew my wife’s I’m-proud-of-you-anyway smile would hurt worse than cramped legs and crotch rot, so I kept on pedaling.I made it to the next aid station at the bottom of the mountain, still feeling a bit nauseous and dehydrated. With 30 miles to go, I’d run out of things to think about, and I sure as hell didn’t feel like singing anymore.The duct tape patch was starting to peel away from my tire as I began the steep, winding climb up Highway 9. My tongue was dragging in my spokes, my heart was about to jump out of my chest, and I was sucking wind like a vacuum cleaner—when suddenly I heard another cyclist clicking into gear behind me.“Mind if I ride with you for awhile?” he asked.We rolled side by side up the sun-scorched highway. Pretty soon, I forgot about how much pain I was in. My new biking buddy—a bronzed thirtysomething with neon shades—distracted me with stories from his first century ride a few years ago. Without noticing it, we were picking up speed and starting to pass people.“You know you got a big hole in the back of those skimpy shorts,” he said.“Yeah. I grabbed the wrong pair this morning.”He smiled. “Press on, regardless.”Those three words got me up the mountain. They got me to the last aid station. When I was alone again on the roads and could think of nothing else to occupy my mind, I repeated that mantra, over and over, mile after mile. Before I knew it, I was spinning toward the finish line parking lot.There was no applause or awards ceremony at the finish—just a bunch of sweaty cyclists huddled around a table of sodas and sandwiches. Saddle-sore and stiff-legged, I hobbled across the parking lot and found a shady oak to lean against. I loved cycling again. I unwrapped a melted peanut-butter sandwich and thought about nothing.Nothing at all.last_img read more