Monday, January 27, 2014

Off to a Great Start

For reasons she hasn’t explained yet, Mother Nature has decided we don’t need winter here in Northern California.  Sure, we’ve had some really cold temperatures but we’ve also had many days with record breaking highs.  But most notably it hasn’t rained.

Photo by Robin WalkerThe lack of rain is not good.  The local newscast is now using the phrase extreme drought.  Our reservoirs are drying up so there’s already talk of water rationing this summer.  Many of the ski resorts in the Sierras are closed due to lack of snow.  And, this could be one of the worse years ever in terms of fire danger.  This is a picture of Saturday’s sunrise but it could have easily been a photo of almost every morning in January so far.

Now, just for the record, I want it to rain.  I love the rain.  I love riding in the rain.  To be honest, I think this day after day of beautiful spring-like weather is getting kind of monotonous. However, that doesn’t mean that while I’m praying for rain I can’t take advantage of the great weather to ride and ride and ride.

That’s what I’ve done.  On Sunday’s recovery ride I went over 400 miles for the month of January.  That’s huge for me.  Typically in January I spend more hours on the trainer than on the road.  Not this year which is just fine by me.

It’s not just that I am riding more, I’m riding further.  In 2013, I had a grand total of 6 rides that were 62.5 miles or longer (this is the length of a metric century).  This year has already seen me logged a 63 and a 73 mile ride.  In fact, 73 miles matches the longest ride I’ve done since May 2013.  Before that, you have to go back to September of 2010 to find a ride of over 70 miles.

I can already feel a difference from cranking out this many miles.  For instance, I was never overly tired on Saturday’s 73 mile ride although I’m not sure I had another mile in me.  Once I finished I started to notice the fatigue in the legs and my lower back.  I ate right away and was able to relax for most the rest of the day.  I’ve always said that I made not be able to ride like a pro but I sure can relax like one.

On Sunday, I slept in and spend some time on the book before heading out for my recovery ride.  I will admit that I was more than a little concerned about how I would feel after such a big effort.  The answer – I felt great!!!  The fatigue in the legs and lower back were gone and I enjoyed a lovely 33 mile easy tempo ride in weather that required sunscreen and not arm warmers.

As long as Mother Nature keeps us in our current weather pattern I’m going to keep taking advantage of it.  Who knows how many miles I’ll be able to get in next month.  Still, I would gladly give up some road miles for trainer time if it meant it was raining.

For now, I think I’ll pour another cup of coffee, enjoy the sunrise and look up rain dances on Google.


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