Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Winter of our Discontent

It seems that this winter has been going on forever, and it certainly has been a tougher year to be a cycling coach.  Our weather has been consistently snowy and cold, making indoor training the only option for me.  To me, this is a normal winter, but the warmer-than-usual winters of the past few years has spoiled a lot of folks.  There is no doubt that taking that occasional ride outside can change one's perspective for the better.  We've had little opportunity to do so around here, though.

As for me, I'm just happy to be able to train at all.  February came and went, and I was sick for the entire month.  I trained very little to give my immune system a boost, and I shudder to think of what would have happened if I had not backed off in time.  Things have improved dramatically now that the calendar says March.

Now that March is here I can think of racing again.  My coach is systematically ramping up my training, and I've felt good enough to register for the Austin Rattler  What better way to get out of the snow than to travel to sunny (hopefully!) San Antonio, Texas?  I had so much fun during this 100 km race last year and my motivation for making this trip has been compounded by the fact that I did not get drawn for the Leadville Lottery.  Please keep all your fingers crossed that my bike and my fitness holds together for me in this Leadville Qualifier, on March 29.  However, the big goal, as always, is to simply do my best and have fun.

Cycling in general, and bicycle racing in particular, teaches us all about the unpredictability of life and looking for new opportunities when plans go awry.  My knee injury last fall ended my cyclocross racing season, but it healed well enough for me to take fifth place in a Strava Climbing Challenge.  All the rest I got while fighting February's respiratory monster will keep me from feeling burned out, and all the balance work that I did while doing nothing aerobic is bound to help my handling skills :)

Bottom line?  Roll with the punches and be prepared to reinvent yourself at a moment's notice.  My goals this year are similar to year's past, with the BUMPS series of hill climbs and Leadville looming large.  All of this, though, is simply for the joy of cycling and meeting those other passionate women and men at the start and finish line.  Preparation is key and training indoors, well, should bring a smile to the face.  I'm off to my basement right now.