Sunday, January 25, 2009

Enough, Already.


Five degrees below zero when I awoke this a.m. Icicles slicing up the view from every window. Two layers of sweats while eating breakfast and waiting for the house to warm.

Last winter was filled with days in the 30s and 40s, and I rode outside once or twice a week, sometimes more. This month, with the exception of this past Friday, we've had about three-plus weeks of single-digits through the twenties. I rode outside yesterday out of desperation, because I'm tired of the rollers. It wasn't terrible, but it sure wasn't fun -- 24° and falling at rollout, winds gusting up to 18 mph. Being barely on the mend after a 10-day chest cold, I did 50 minutes and called it a day. Came back home to nurse Velophoriana, who is hosting a truly bad cold right now; makes mine look like a walk in the park.

I believe fiercely in keeping a positive attitude. I'm a mental health counselor for children and youth, and it's very important to walk the talk. Besides, it just makes life better. But there are weeks, even months when it's hard.

January's been pretty nasty at work. All my colleagues and I agree that all our clients/students colluded to melt down this month. Which led to some pretty long days and nights. When people fall apart who have long-standing mental health challenges to begin with, it leads to stuff no one should have to witness, much less go through first-hand. I'm pretty sure I'd be stronger with it all if I were able to ride outside with some degree of comfort and regularity. I haven't slept well since December, when I still had regular weekly road rides, and insomnia doesn't help when dealing with the rest of the puzzle pieces.

I think that 2.5 hour jaunt in the 14° temps two weeks ago might have set me up for this cold (along with work crises and all the other stuff). Gotta watch that metabolism; I turn 45 in five weeks or so. The old car will still roll along pretty well once I warm it up and unwind it... but the OEM battery sure don't hold the charge like it used to.

Ah, winter! Insomnia. Mental illness. Indoor riding. Darkness. Frigid chill. Colds. Intimations of mortality.

How many weeks until April?

[Ed. note: With our next post, we banish Velomisery, and return you to our regularly scheduled upbeat content.]

6 comments:

Jeremy Katz said...

I too am tired of the never-ending cold that we seem to be having this winter. Yesterday was my first day doing an outdoor ride of consequence in a while and, yeah, while it was kind of crappy, I couldn't take not doing it anymore.

Today, though, I think I'm just going to go cross-country skiing again.

How much longer until we get temperatures in the 40s again?

Velosopher said...

Jeremy, by your most recent post, it seems you and I hit the cold weather wall at the same time!

I took a look at your site and enjoyed the cycling-related posts. I used to live out your way (Arlington/Medford and then Watertown, for ten years) and rode the Quad ride about five times before I headed out here to Western Ma. Say "hi" to the Quad route for me -- I really liked it.

No One Line said...

Ha. I just wrote but didn't post a very similar post about hunkering down in the cold weather, and being cranky about it. Fortunately, Friday was 40 degrees and I spent two+ hours in Prospect Park, which was a very welcome change to riding rollers and doing squats in my living room, and then working a night shift on my bike in 24-deg weather.

By the way, since you're an aspiring New Englander (I like the fact that after 11 years, you're still aspiring. That seems appropriate, for New England), it all comes with the territory, doesn't it? Stodgy, curmudgeonly grumpiness in the winter.

It'll be over soon. Sort of. Hopefully.

I think about how the first road race of the season is in only four weeks, and then it all picks up fairly quickly from there, and in the context of "I have to be in shape by then" it makes the winter seem much shorter than if I were to feel it based on weather and my sense of hibernation.

Velosopher said...

NOL, thanks so much for the brotherly thoughts, they do help.

One of the reasons I didn't mention that I was grumpy is that I'm having to trim back my expectations of racing this season. Until that point, definitely agreed that having that goal made winter go by a lot faster.

Velosopher said...

BTW, NOL, you have my sincere admiration for riding *at night* and *all the time* in this nasty winter!

No One Line said...

Sorry to hear that you're going to have to trim back your racing expectations. It will be your first year racing, right? I have really high hopes for this season but I'm also acknowledging that it can take a couple years to really get into strong form. If you have to reign in your expectations for this year, there are many other years. Even getting into it in your forties (obviously) isn't a barrier. Some of the fastest toughest amateur cyclists are the older guys.

Thanks for the kind words - fortunately, though it takes motivation and bundling up and a bit of forcible stubbornness, the riding isn't too demanding. Runs are fairly short and since I'm in and out of buildings, even when it's really cold, I can keep it out.

I used to have a 25mi roundtrip commute to/from the job, last winter (when I lived in the Bronx). That was rough. These days I'm living a lot closer. It has its pros and cons. I kind of feel that my all-the-time riding is junk miles, and it's hard to go out and do cold miles in Prospect Park knowing that I'm going to have to change into a very different kind of riding gear in a few hours and head to work.