Yesterday, Todd and I had the rare opportunity of a day off with time to ride. We dropped the kids off at my parents and headed out to the WO&D for a 2 hour spin on the road bikes However, our spin turned into a fight against a very strong headwind. If you know the WO&D trail, you know that it is mostly flat and easy but when there is a wind it is a bear. So, we took this headwind and made it our challenge. We decided we would ride into it for an hour and then head home. The entire way out it was a struggle not to turn around when we saw riders flying in the other direction. However, we knew if we kept going we would get our tailwind reward eventually. Finally, after an hour of cold hard pushing we turned around. It was quiet and the wind was at our back pushing us home.
This ride is a perfect example of how I feel at the beginning of every year when I start Riding again. Not that I have stopped riding my bike, but I have definitely taken a month or two of a holiday from any type of “training”. Typically, after racing some in the summer, I take the fall and the first part of winter and just play on my bike. I just go out and ride without any expectation of how far to go, how long to ride, or what kind of workout I am getting. I just go out and enjoy being on my bike and being outside.
But then January 1 comes and I start setting some goals and putting a few races on the calendar…..and next thing you know I start training. And training always starts the same way… like riding with the wind in my face. But I know if I keep it up it will get easier and there will be a reward at the end. The challenge this time of year is to keep riding no matter what. Luckily, I have a few things that will help me out.
First, I have a very supportive husband. Second, I have some great winter riding gear. Believe me, without the proper winter clothing, riding in the winter is almost impossible. So I rely on my Sugoi wool undergarments, Sidi insulated riding shoes, Pearl Izumi wind proof tights and gloves, and my new fancy Bike Lane jacket- with these, winter riding is bearable. And when it is too miserable out, I always have my handy Cycolops trainer that I can mount my bike in and ride while catching up on the latest Tivo’d Oprah!
Yes, this year will be a struggle just like every year to train through the winter. But I think I will keep the ride Todd and I did on the first day of the new year as a reminder, that if you keep it up the reward will come and it will be a smooth ride home (or to the finish line, I should say).