Saturday, January 30, 2010

Roll Your Own

It's seven degrees outside.

I'm getting on my rollers.

What more is there to say?

Okay, okay, here's a Scooby snack for a chill winter's morning: Go here for some decent twists on the roller/trainer workout.

I hereby solicit you to post your own variations in the comments section.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Get On the Path and Stay On It

Your assignment for the day, should you choose to accept it:

Relate this quote...
But mastery isn't reserved for the supertalented or even for those who are fortunate enough to have gotten an early start. It's available to anyone who is willing to get on the path and stay on it - regardless of age, sex, or previous experience.

~ George Leonard, Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment this popular post on this well-known cycling blog.

I found it an inspiring exercise for an uninspiring point in the yearly training cycle. Hope you do, too.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Discover Jacquie Phelan. Again.

Velophoriacs will enjoy a blog I've just stumbled over. Well, actually, the story of my discovery of Jacquie Phelan's blog is too rich for this quick post, and will have to wait for another day. Just go there. By reading Velophoria, you've already proved you like weird points of view. Jacquie spits me out the back in that category (not to mention the real-life, rubber-meets-the-road cycling category) in very short order. (For those who don't know, Jacquie was a massive MTB champion, and later a massive MTB promoter.) What's more, she's funny, smart, independent and strong.

Go. Read. Benefit.

Code of the Road #2

Riding with a buddy means never having to say you're sorry for interrupting the conversation to bomb the descent. Just go. At the bottom, simply pick up where you left off, as if you hadn't stopped conversing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A January Air

A weekend morning above freezing, first time in about six weeks.

A professional seminar this week: 45 hours in a stuffy hotel ballroom listening to someone talk.

A layer and a layer and a layer. Hot Gatorade in an insulated water bottle, to keep it from getting frigid.

Astonishment at the difference between hefting stacks of weights at the gym and pedaling a bicycle up a hill.

The pleasant warmth inside just the right amount of gear. Sunlight like a warm hand on my back after emerging from the trees.

A surge of confidence after the biggest hill of the ride. A brief roadside contemplation of the sounds of trees and wind, birds, distant airplane motors. Surge of gratitude for living in Western Massachusetts.

Stepping delicately into the roadside snow to pick up a beer bottle some yahoo tossed out his window. Wait – do yahoos throw O’Doul’s bottles? In the Pioneer Valley, this kind of makes sense.

A rebirth of the familiar dialog between achy leg portions and my mind.

A neighbor in a cowboy hat, work boots and field coat carrying a vintage wood surfboard from his car to his house, through the snow. Again: Glad I live in the Valley.

The blast for home on rolling terrain: dogsCarsFieldsHousesDogsCarsFieldsHouses…

Slip and slide over the driveway ice. Burst through front door, a blend of sweat, enthusiasm and outdoor-fresh-smelling air. Kiss wife. Make lunch. Write post.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

As the Earth Turns

December and January are to the world of blogging about the cycling life as kryptonite is to Superman. If I were to have written entries here in the last few weeks, they would have looked something like this: "Rollers. Gym. Rollers. Gym. Missed workout. Missed workout. Ate prohibited food, gained weight. Rollers. Gym."

Not exactly gripping. Plus, y’all know the deal, ‘cause we do this every year. I didn’t mind writing about it the first couple years. It was all new to me. I wrote a post about how rollers contribute to souplesse – and then a post about what souplesse actually is. (This remains tied for all-time most popular Velophoria post.) I wrote about my first time going hands-free on the rollers. I wrote many variations on the post showing a picture of the snow outside my window, complaining about how long it’s been since I’ve ridden outside.

But today at the gym, pulling a long stretch on the elliptical machine and then another one on the exercise bike, well, there was just nothing exciting about the situation. Not to say I didn’t enjoy myself. I like a workout no matter what. But it just didn't offer up new material or insight for a philosophical kind o’ guy like me.

As I drive to work these days, surrounded by icy white hills, I occasionally get a little warm glow remembering a ride last season on a particular road I’m passing; I can call up the details -- the hills, the views -- and I feel the promise of that and much more coming this summer. Hold on folks; in a month, a local club around here will be starting its pre-pre-season rides in the hills (canceled only in case of icy roads).

It’s coming. Really.