2021, A Year in Review

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Last Updated on January 8, 2022 by Cory Kawa

BOOM! And just like that, the door to 2021 slams shut, and the New Year begins.

I want to start by saying that I’m incredibly grateful.

These last 18 months have been very challenging for many people. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for the thousands of families affected by losing someone to this disease. The hundreds of thousands of workers and businesses going through unimaginable personal and financial hardship. Or the front-line workers putting their lives and mental wellness on the line every single day.

Thankfully my family is doing well. Although we miss visiting friends and family as much as we have in the past, we are safe, healthy, and have found new ways to have adventures and stay connected.

For me, it’s often too easy to focus on the crazy, but when times are feeling blue, I turn to Monty Python for inspiration…

If life seems jolly rotten,
There’s something you’ve forgotten,
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing,
When you’re feeling in the dumps,
Don’t be silly chumps,
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing.
And always look on the bright side of life,
Always look on the right side of life.

Monty Python – Life of Brian

If 2021 taught me anything it’s to make the choice to be happy, to appreciate every moment you have with family, with friends, and to live outside your comfort zone seeking adventure.

In fact, I came across this paraphrased quote while reading Thunder and Sunshine, quick book review to shortly follow, which perfectly explains why.

Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustable well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really… How many times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And it all seems so limitless.”

Quote by Paul Bowles from Sheltering Sky, as paraphrased in Thunder and Sunshine

So please join me as I take a look back at ’21.

2021 Recap

VeloViewer – 2021 Recap

Where do you find motivation?

For me, it’s the next race.

Although I love that feeling only an intense exercise session can bring, getting out the door is always a struggle.

With no races on the calendar, my long rides became touring rides, my easy runs soon felt like my hard runs.

The worst, with running, I didn’t even care. By early July I came to terms with the fact that I was entering my mid-forties, my best days were behind me, and the time to retire the racing shoes was near.

Then like magic, the lockdowns eased, the amazing people at Multisport Canada hosted their first event the Barrie Triathlon, and the magic/motivation was renewed.

Arriving in Barrie for that first race in almost two years was incredible. I didn’t do nearly as well, as I had hoped, but I felt the magical “IT” for the first time in forever.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be the man I was in 2016 or 2019, I don’t know if it matters, but my racing days are far from over.

Goals in ’22 – Consistency with light runs/rides on my rest days, seeking to build better endurance with active recovery. Also to ensure that I have targeted high aerobic sessions as an active part of my regular routine.

By The Numbers

Despite all that talk of lacking motivation I still managed to find a way to end with some pretty good numbers, including:

  • Only 19 days all year where I didn’t walk/run/bike/swim
  • Grand totals across all activities of 768 activities, 6,000km, 588 hours, and 253,000 calories
  • 137 runs, 1,264 kms, in 114 hours
  • 101 rides, 3,895 kms, in 202 hours
  • 38 swims, 45 kms, in 24 hour
  • 4 million steps
  • 3rd fastest Olumpic at the Gravenhurst Triathlon
  • 9th fastest 10k at the Scotiabank Marathon 10k Edition
  • 2nd fastest 5k training for the Tannenbaum 10k
  • Top 8% finish at the Tannenbaum 10k despite insane winter conditions

Goals in ’22 – 1,500 km running, maintain biking, and 100 km of swimming

2021 Top Performing Posts

With almost 14,000 views in 2021 representing a 300% growth over 2020, it’s been a pretty successful year. All this despite basically neglecting the blog these last three months.

The top posts were:

Durham Destroyer – The Rookie


March 2021 Ride Report

The Motherload Loop 1


75k Version – A Tale of Seven Hills

Grundy Lake Provincial Park


Grundy Lake Provincial Park Camping Review

Durham Destroyer – I’m Not Worthy


September 2020 Ride Report – Updated in ’21

Notable mentions with over 500 views each include Cannonball 300 Bikepacking Loop Day 1, Packing for a Two Night Bikepacking Trip, and Burks Falls Loop East of Hwy 11.

Goals for ’22 – More product reviews, more campsite reviews, and more ride reports.

Looking Ahead to 2022

Racing is back and my calendar is full including:

  • March 27 – Around the Bay 30k
  • April 24 – Paris to Ancaster 70k
  • May 8 – Sporting Life 10k
  • June 11 – Gravenhurst Olympic Tri
  • June 25 – Welland Long Course Tri
  • September 11 – Lakeside Olympic Tri
  • September 18 – Niagara Falls Barrelman 70.3
  • October 16 – Scotiabank Marathon

Plus at least 2-3 bikepacking trips exploring more of what Ontario has to ffer.

2022 in Pictures

Finishing the Final Leg of the TTC Running Challenge
Wet Trail North of Black Stock on the Trans Canada Trail
Spring 2021 Durham Destroyer The Rookie
The Motherload Loop 2 on 1st Line EHS
Grand River Pedestrian Bridge Cambridge
The West Montrose Covered Bridge
Staying at The Hobbit House
Cliff Diving at Grundy Lake
Hasty Highlander – The Lake Loop – Sleeper Lake
Burks Falls East of 11 – Wide Open Gravel on Forestry Tower Road by @gravelroadcanada
Burks Falls West of 11 – Post Ride Dip in Lake Bernard
The Barrie Triathlon
Looking Back at Downtown Paris
8 Hours of Hurtin Photo by @madmaxwerks
The Swim Start at the 2021 Gravenhurst Olympic Triathlon

Dabbling in Photography

It seems that big bike rides with lots of pictures were the theme for the year. Taking that extra time to slow down, explore new places, and soak up the scenery was a huge motivator. So much so that I sometimes began to question what I preferred more, the biking, or the act of photography itself.

As the nights got shorter, and the days got colder, the long rides came to an end, but the photography didn’t.

Here are a few of my favourite photos from my new adventures in photography.

If you’re looking for more pics like this, please follow my Instagram at instagram.com/corykawapics.

Toronto skyline reflecting out over lake Ontario
Toronto Skyline from Polson Pier
Christmas Tree on a Snowy Day
The Christmas Tree at the Bay-Adelaide Centre
The back of a lady surrounded by thousands of christmas lights
Lost in the Bokeh at Nathan Phillips Square
A small yorkie poo running through the snow
My Yorkie Poo Olly Running Through the Snow
Long exposure of a TTC streetcar with light trails following behind
TTC Streetcar Long Exposure
Red hot pepper with multicolored lights blurred in the background
Hot Peppers Growing on York St. at Night
A lady framed by headlights
Traffic’s Coming
A baby trumpeter swan spreading it's wings
A Cygnet (Baby Trumpeter) Swan Spreading its Wings

That’s all for now.

Wishing you and your’s all the best in 2022.

Thanks for reading,


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