Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Being smart in the off season

Wow!  It has been a while since I managed to update my little blog.  There’s actually a couple of different reasons why I have been quiet lately.  To begin with, I’ve not been riding very much.  And since this is now a blog about my cycling adventures, no riding means there is not a lot to write about.  However, the real reason for my absence has been a little thing called a sinus infection that really wore me out.

HappyHills1The weekend before the sinus trouble I did manage to get in a couple of good rides.  I took a vacation day one Friday and rode on the first day of Pedro’s Winter Happy Hills Training Camp.  That’s us in the photo after reaching the top of Sonoma Mountain.  The next day, I went out with another large group on Sarah’s birthday ride, which was also the first edition of the Soup Spoons & Carbon Forks ride.

While both rides were fantastic, I just could not convince myself to write about them.  I was having trouble finding the right angle.  Looking back, I now realize the importance of these rides.  It really wasn’t the actual rides but the circumstances.  After spending much of 2008 riding alone, 2009 has been the year of big group rides for me.  I have met a lot of really cool cyclists this year on these rides and I can’t wait to ride with these folks more in 2010.

Another important aspect of these rides was that I rode smart.  I was the last person up Sonoma Mountain and I was perfectly ok with that.  It is still the off season so there was no reason for me to try and ride beyond my means.  It was tough watching the group ride away but I did keep 3 or 4 folks in sight so it wasn’t like they had to wait for me for days.

I decided to take the following week off as my last big rest before I start to get serious for 2010.  Of course, that’s when I got sick.  What’s up with getting sick the week you are resting?  So my one week recovery turned in three weeks of no exercise.  No riding.  No running.  No core workouts (ok, I didn’t miss them). Nothing!  The symptoms came and went relatively quickly but I was completely wiped out from an energy standpoint.

This weekend I finally got back on the bike for some recovery rides.  Once again, the situation called for riding smart.  While I was positive that a couple of hours of easy riding and fresh air would help, I was just as aware of the danger of over doing it. 

On Saturday, I decided to pass on all of the group rides.  I just needed to do my own thing and not try and keep up with a group.  So I waited for the morning chill to pass and headed out.  Since I was still feeling the effects of the sinus infection I dressed warmly.  You should have seen me.  Here I was riding in 50 degree weather bundled up like I was preparing to ride in a New Hampshire snowstorm.  Once I got started I quickly settled into a nice gentle pace and ended up with the perfect 26 mile ride.

Sunday found me riding with friends but still not pushing the pace.  I choose a level of exertion I was happy with and I refused to go above it.  On the only hill of the day I was once again last.  Coach Tim came back down to ride up with me and was very happy with my pacing and the fact I was riding smart.  When it was all said and done I managed to tick off another 48 miles for the year and was still feeling good.

As I write this I am feeling much better and my strength is slowly returning.  That’s good because after lunch with friends I am heading out for another ride.  (In case you couldn’t tell, I have the day off.)  I am actually riding 4 of the next 5 days if the weather cooperates and that’s not a bad way to end the year.

So hopefully I am back to both riding and writing a little more regularly.  I really do enjoy writing these little stories and I look forward to continuing them for anyone who cares to follow along.

Until the next adventure. . .


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