Winter Training – Chilling Out and Loving It

Not very often are we lucky enough to get contributing posts from true writers.  Enjoy these great insights from Author Ross Goldstein.  

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I once heard Andy Hampsten say that one of the best things about riding in Boulder was that “it snowed often enough to keep you from getting over trained.”

His words rang in my ears a few days ago. I was wrestling booties over my cycling shoes in preparation for a quick spin across Mt. Tam to Stinson Beach. The temperature was hovering around the low 40s. I was layered like a tortilla casserole and turned the first pedal cranks hoping to generate enough heat to insulate me from the chilly air. It worked. Before long I felt like a kid inside on a snowy day, looking out at the weather from inside the warm cocoon my wool shirt, fleece lined jacket, knickers, long fingered gloves and polypro cap provided.

I like riding in the winter. A different mindset kicks in when the temperature drops. Winter, off-season riding offers its own reward… the pleasure of crisp, clean air, the feeling that comes with just turning the cranks, the sensation of the wind against the skin, the sense of vitality that simply getting a ride in, regardless of distance and time, can bring .

Winter riding can be so different from the training we do when the air is warm, racing season is in full bloom, and every ride is governed by the metrics of wattage, heart rate, distance and pace. In the winter, we give ourselves license to just enjoy the ride.

For me, the release from the obsessive monitoring of riding metrics frees my mind to go internal. I daydream. I fantasize. I follow my thoughts like a dog following its nose…memories so old that they are shrouded in cobwebs, solutions to dilemmas that seemed impenetrable, conversations that I would like to have with others, and myself, fantasies of vacations, escapes and new beginnings. It’s kind of Proustian, but then that’s me.

We cyclists tend to be obsessive about our riding. We don’t exercise, we train. We don’t ride, we cycle. We don’t…well, we just don’t do anything too casually. Winter riding, with the re-calibration of effort that the elements dictate, can be a great opportunity to just relax and enjoy the ride.

So, next frigid day, when you are thinking that you will take up residence on the couch and turn on the tv instead of hitting the road on your bike, remind yourself that a cold day outing can be a great way to reconnect with the simple joy of riding.

By: Ross E. Goldstein

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Ross Goldstein is the author of Chain Reaction, story of challenge and redemption, set in the world of professional cycling. Chain Reaction is available at Studio Velo and their online store here and online at http://chainreactionnovel.com

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