Martin Luther King day was my first "screw it" day of 2007. After staying indoors on Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend due to rain, I finally forced myself out into the 30 degree drizzle on Monday. It sucked, my fingers froze, but it was a turning point in my cycling career. By the end of February, I had discovered lobster gloves, charcoal toe warmers (forget hand warmers; toe warmers are flat, adhesive, and perfect for toes, hands, AND ears), and become more or less immune to 98% of bad weather conditions.
Of course, I was still riding inside on weeknights due to the dark. The plan was to keep this up until Daylight Savings Time kicked in, but one evening in late Febuary I was walking out of work and it was 50-something and sunny and I had my next "screw it" moment. There was just no freakin' way I was going pass that weather up, so I rushed home and jumped on my bike for a quick hour ride before it got dark. I figured 60 minutes on the road was better than 90 minutes on the trainer. Of course, Coach Troy of Spinervals would say just the opposite, but he has a bit of a vested interest.
So coming into the winter of 2008 I was pretty well set up. I've only missed one ride due to weather, but the dark thing is still throwing me for a loop. However, Tuesday night was my first time back on the trainer in two weeks and it was a pain in the butt. Two times 15 minutes at LT in 90 minutes of total riding. Trainer intervals just shouldn't be longer than 3-4 minutes. Too much pain for too long with no distractions. However, it's getting to be that time of year and it's time to step it up.
Funny how my "step it up" time turns out to be almost exactly the time I started riding in crappy weather last year. I'm taking it as a sign of advancement: Last year's hurdles cleared and we're on to a new set.
Anyway, I got over the weather thing easy enough once I bought proper winter clothing, but the dark thing is harder to get over. Even with lights, training after dark is scary. However, last night became my first "screw it" night of 2008, almost 6 weeks earlier than last year. My assignment was 90 minutes of easy riding, but I figured there was no rule that I had to do the whole thing on one bike. So I rushed home, got decked out in full winter gear, and jumped on my mountain bike. I rode the rail-to-trail for almost an hour. I wasn't able to finish before dark, but at least I didn't have to deal with traffic and was back into decently lit neighborhoods before it got too hard to see. When I got home I did a Superman wardrobe change and jumped on the trainer for 30 minutes, which seemed very doable after a nice outdoor "warm-up".
Tonight is a 90 minute tempo ride that I'm planning to do on the rollers. I've been scheming, but I think it might still be a little early to try this one outside. Maybe in a couple of weeks...