The Dawn of a New Season

I officially started the road season last Sunday.

It coincided perfectly with two late-season Nor’easters that dumped nearly two and half feet of snow on the ground.

Following Rangeley, I had taken the week off.

The entire week.

Completely off.

No transitional workouts. No colds or sicknesses that were double-counted as recovery. No crazy projects. No “fun” efforts that were merely disguised training sessions.  It had been several years since I had taken that much time off and I expected my body to rebound almost immediately and my outlook to improve day-for-day.

Instead, by the end of the week, I was irritable, crawling out of my own skin, and itching for any workout, no matter how meager or minimal.

Sunday was an hour and half. I had fitted my cyclocross with full fenders and cycled the wet roads,  the snow piled high up on the sides, through Weston and Wellesley. I wanted to keep going but it was the first day back and I was pacing myself, riding deliberatly slow and short.

On Monday, I squeezed in an easy hour in the late afternoon after work. The storm was coming and the skies turned cold and gray and the temperature dropped over the course of the ride.

On Tuesday it snowed. All day. I rode tempo intervals on the trainer and shoveled out.

Wednesday, ditto the trainer. The roads still weren’t clear from the storm but the snow was good and I skied one more Weston race, albeit bare-legged and in costume.

 

Thursday, strength with a particular focus on the legs.

Friday. Trainer. Again.

Saturday, two and half hours outside, on the road.

I was overdressed and overheating and had to stop to remove layers. The wind was blowing and I rode at least 80% of the distance into it, covering barely 60km, but reminiscing the whole time about early season training rides in similar conditions from thiry-odd years ago and realizing that my enthusiasm for the sport, despite having diminished for years at a time, was as strong as ever. Along the way, I had promised myself that I would never ride outdoors in the winter again, nor ride a trainer for longer than an hour-thirty, nor feel motivated to train to race bikes. But I was back at it again, with a plan.

I had a better clothing strategy planned for Sunday, but the temps never climbed above freezing so I moved my laptop into the basement and watched videos while on trainer for two hours of endurance-tempo.

One week down. The foundation for a good road season started, mining the solid aerobic base built skiing over the past 3 months, with better weather on the horizon.

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