Saturday, October 31, 2009

Indoors is Good

Ages since my last real post. Part of the reason for that is the weird experience of having an actual burn-out this fall.

Since my training for the first two years was constantly interrupted by injury or illness, I ended up effectively training for two straight years –when not actually riding, I was obsessing about recovery, how/whether to ride injured, and pining for the bike. Hence the full-on burn-out this fall.
The mental burn-out (accompanied by good physical health – a rare combination for me) has afforded me the luxury of cross-training, something I’ve been wanting to try since I (re-)started cycling. I’ve been enjoying fiddling around with running, to very mixed success. I love it, but my knees are rebelling and it looks like I’ll have to pull back a lot.

I’ve also been enjoying my new gym. Most folks complain about how boring the health club is; I have a long history as a gym rat. I spent a good portion of my very expensive liberal arts college career in the rather low-rent campus gym, pumping iron and talking technique with linebackers twice my size. Some of my fondest college memories.

What’s more, I don’t mind being on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes. I tend to thrive where others die of boredom. It allows me to get deep into a movement groove and get a serious, finely-tuned burn going. (I also am working on a theory that it is great cross-training for the bike, because it works hardest the muscles that I increasingly find useful for biking: the glutes and lower back). Road cycling is much more fun and stimulating, but it rarely allows that deep groove, what with all the hills, curves, potholes and scenery here in Western Mass.

Best of all, when I got on the bike last Sunday after a couple weeks of this, I rode harder, longer with more excitement and less fatigue than I have in weeks. So, for right now, I’m enjoying the cooler, wetter weather. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to despair when it’s crappy out. I have a powerful workout waiting for me seven minutes away in a warm, dry, inexpensive, stripped-down-but-totally-functional place.

Come January, I’ll probably be sick of it and dying for a road fix. For right now, though… I can watch college ball while I’m maintaining my VO2 max.

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