Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A great start to the off-season

The off-season!  This really is one of my favorite times of the year.  Not only is it fall, which I love, but my cycling takes on a whole new dimension.  Gone are the hammerfests of summer where the name of the game is racing to the next regroup point.  Gone are the mid-week hill repeats.  And gone are the rides where heart rate average is more important then scenery.

The funny thing is that there is no official start to my off-season.  For my friends who race it’s easy.  The off-season starts after the last race of the year.  For me, well, it kind of starts when I want it to and that’s typically once the days become too short to ride after work.  Yeah, nothing says off-season to me more then climbing on the trainer for my mid-week workouts.

There is one more key indicator to the start of my off-season.  I completely lose almost all motivation to ride.  I typically log over 3,000 miles on the road by fall, with many additional hours on the trainer, so I am mentally ready for a break.  This makes it hard to find my mojo for wet conditions, high heat, big climbs, or long rides.  I simply don’t feel the need to push it this time of year and so far, my off-season is off to a great start.

It started 2 Saturdays ago with the West County Revolution Soup Spoons & Carbon Forks ride.  We all headed out to climb Pine Flat as high as we wanted to go.  I was feeling very good but instead of pushing a lifted pace I settled into a very gentle rhythm that took me all the way to the top.  I also refrained from all of the pace lines on the way out and simply enjoyed the ride and chatting with friends.

On Sunday, I woke up to the first rain of the season.  It was a very light, and warm, rain so it really wasn’t a big deal.  In the spring or summer, I would have easily cranked out 40 or more miles in those conditions.  However, on Sunday I simply reached for my coffee cup and settled in for a nice relaxing day.  That was the first day of an impromptu break where I was off the bike for eight days.  I just didn’t feel the need to get on the bike and that’s got off-season written all over it.

Last Sunday I was finally back on the bike to ride with friends.  We were supposed to climb to the second peak on the Geysers and then climb Pine Flat.  It was a beautiful day but it was also going to be very hot.  We roll from The Flying Goat in Healdsburg and head straight to the Geysers and once got there I headed straight for my triple ring.  I took it slow and steady with my friend Carmen, who raced the day before, and we chatted all the way to the first summit.

IMG_0361 As we reached the top of the first summit it was already pushing 90 degrees.  That’s too toasty for me so I bid my friends good bye and headed back to town.  As they continued climbing to the second summit I did my own version of a second Geysers stop.  I stopped at the Geyserville Mud Cafe for a quick espresso before heading home.  The ride should have been around 50 miles and instead I got in a grand total of 31. 

There you have it.  In the span of 8 days I started the off-season, wimp out on a ride in the rain, bailed early on a ride in the heat, and my trainer has a slight coating of dust on the seat.  I am supposed to head to the trainer right now but somehow I already know that I won’t get any further then the coffee pot.


0 Comment(s):