On Saturday it snowed most of the day. It was a light flurry with very little accumulation. The forecast was calling for rain and warmer weather for the following days so I knew it wasn’t going to last.
It became more of a nuisance than a promise of coming winter. I had planned to do rollerski intervals, but the ground was too slippery to be rolling up and down hills on skinny wheels.
If anything, the snow saved me from myself. I was feeling cooked, on the edge of getting sick or exhausted, after a solid 4-5 week training block and more consistency and progress than I had seen all year.
The training block was so good and it would be a shame to lose all that. I had managed to get into the rhythm of morning workouts — ercolina, hill bounding, core strength — and was using the daylight on weekends to do long rolls and intervals on the road.
Even though I had a few mishaps — a couple of rollerskiing falls and a broken pole — I had managed to evade injury. I had been steadily increasing the duration and intensity of workouts. When hill bounding, I could feel more strength in my hip and back muscles whereas in previous years I would finish the workout feeling tweaked, my muscles in spasms. On skis, I could feel my technique becoming more refined, more glide time and recovery in the midst of hard efforts, able to recognize when I was falling apart and correct it. Each day, I reinforced my discipline with early wake-ups and hard training sessions. When I was feeling tired, feeling like staying in bed, I just pushed through it.
As I’ve been working on stories about my 1996 season racing bikes, I’ve noticed a pattern where, once I start to get tired, I push myself harder and deeper into the training. I’d confused fatigue with a lack of fitness. This season, I have made a commitment to myself to stay healthy, to prevent myself from digging too deep a hole, to back off when I need to.
With the promise of snow, it will be all the more important not to go nuts once the white stuff starts to fly.