Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week #55: Snow Rides and Cemetery Selfies

Winter training continued to progress more or less on track last week. I still feel like I'm not quite as up to the training load as I'd hoped I'd be, but last year my Mondays and Wednesdays were 45-60 minute easy outdoor rides, so even if I was feeling fatigued, I didn't worry too much about just going out and pedaling through it. With this year being significantly colder and snowier, as well as the desire to step it up a notch over last season and spend more time training than dressing, I am attempting to do intervals on the trainer on Monday and Wednesday nights instead.

It's a bit of a double-edged sword, though, as it contributes a more fatigue on top of the fact that my body is still adjusting to the three-times-a-week weight-lifting sessions. From my experience last year, three weight sessions and one "weekly ass-kicking" long ride plus a couple of shorter rides was plenty to bring on a good improvement of fitness by March without wearing me out too much. This year I'm shooting for a little more, but I still don't want to overdo it. Therefore my consistency hasn't been as spot-on as last year. I have chosen rest over intervals a couple of times so far, so time will tell if those were good decisions or not.


This week my ass-kicking was delayed until Monday, as Frank was traveling to an academic workshop at the University of Illinois on Saturday, and stopped by after to visit me for Sunday and the MLK Day holiday on Monday. Since Saturday was cold and snowy, I just swapped in Monday's trainer workout and waited to ride outside with Frank on Monday, which turned out to be a pretty nice day for January. I wanted to get in a sufficient ass-kicking while not spending *too* much time out there, considering the limited time we had together this visit.

As I think I have mentioned before, the "I just want to ride bikes with you" slogan does have its limits. I definitely like riding bikes with Frank, but I think it should be more of "I just want to ride bikes with you, but also sleep in, eat leisurely breakfasts, cook long complicated meals consisting of odd animal parts, watch entire seasons of TV shows in a weekend, and construct various homemade furniture and household goods with you." So the challenge is always to balance riding bikes with all of the other things.

It's hard to choose a good line under the snow, so I followed the coyote's tracks in the hope that he would keep me on the path of least resistance.

So I decided that what I thought would be about 30 miles that included the my first trek to Callahan since last year's Death March would be sufficient ass-kicking without super-excessive time spent. Add an inch of snow to the mix, and the ass-kicking and time spent both go up a lot more than planned. In the end, it was apparently 25 miles in about 3.5 hours. Most of this was the fact that once we crossed the creek right before Callahan, we ditched the bikes and hiked up the rest of the way up the hill to the cemetery in our increasingly snow-packed cycling shoes, as there was no way that the 'cross bikes would make that steep grade in the snow. I was definitely dreaming of some 45NRTH Fasterkatts as my shoe cover kept filling with ice. We also had to do a lot of hiking out due to steepness, mud, and bad trail conditions on the way out, as the snow was starting to get extra wet and sticky on that end of the trail. My brakes were also failing on me with all of the ice, so I had to walk any downhill of significance, as well, to avoid crashing.

Once we made it back to the road, things were fine except for being colder and wetter than we had expected to be, but we definitely got our ass-kicking done in plenty of time to come back, get the bikes clean before dark (well, my wonderful boyfriend did that while I cooked), shove a ton of food in our mouths, and still get in a couple of episodes of The Killing before bed. Mission accomplished.

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