Thursday, October 15, 2009

A time to relax

It’s finally here!  The off season.  That time of the year when I ride my bike because it’s something I love to do.  This is always an interesting transition for me.  One week you are rushing home after work to get in one more hill repeat workout before dark and the next you’re reaching for that book you haven’t quite had time to finish.

It’s not just me who is entering the off season.  My Facebook updates are chock full of a new type of post.  In September, it was all “I finished 3rd in this race” or “I set a personal best in the local TT”.  Now it’s posts like “my average heart rate was 102” or “my coach said no hard rides for 3 weeks”.  Of course, there are those rare athletes who do not seem to need time off.  One friend got off her bike after the Gran Fondo and started training for her marathon in December. 

For me, it’s as much a mental break as a physical one.  Yes, it’s been a long year and I am certainly feeling the effects physically.  But I am also tired of following a regimented workout schedule.  Of riding the next hill harder then the last.  Of always lifting the pace.  I need, and want, time to sit up and enjoy the world around me from the unique perspective of a bike seat.

This e-mail to my Wine Country Velo group for our first ride after the Gran Fondo kind of sums it all up.

“For most of us it is officially the off season for cycling.  So I would like to propose we spend the rest of the year riding for the joy of riding.  Where "no-drop" means we ride as a group and not race to the next regroup.  Where the average mph comes back down and we are more concerned with talking trash then heart rates.  Where riding side-by-side and enjoying the company of friends replaces pace lines with 30-second pulls. We can restart all that serious stuff in January.”

One of my favorite off season rides is what I call the unknown routeCoach Tim and I do this from time to time.  We pick a meeting spot and start riding with no specific route in mind.  As we roll along, we may approach a road we’ve passed several times before on training rides but never taken and we immediately turn onto it.  While this has led to a lot of out-and-backs, it has also led to many pleasant surprises as well.

While I want to use the off season to reinvigorate my joy of cycling, I also do not want to become a sloth.  So let the cross training begin.  It’s time to bring weights back into my routine (I know, I really should do weights and core work year round).  Next week I will start jogging again.  And maybe, just maybe, I will try yoga since a good friend just open her own studio called Three Dog Yoga.

Mostly, I want to relax and enjoy Fall in Wine Country.  After all, I can restart all that serious stuff in January.


2 Comment(s):

Nicole said...

Will you put your feet up, drink a beer and watch a movie for me??!! Still marathon training until Nov. 22...then I'll be joining you on the french toast and wine diet!
:) Enjoy!

Lee the Cyclist said...

Nicole - I will be happy to relax for you. Beer preference? Good luck with the marathon.