Thursday, January 18, 2007

Really, It's Just a Haze Layer

"After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow."
H.G. Wells
(Yeah, right, maybe when it gets above freezing.)

Well, the cross training continues, or rather the indoor training. Last weekend I had a friend ask why I hadn’t been on my bike for the last 5 weeks and I regaled him with stories (or excuses, rather) of weddings, newsletters, going to work, Christian holidays, and of course the snow, cold, and worst of all, the temperature inversion.
I need a word to describe this...

If you look closely, there really are mountains out there..
Yes, folks, temperature inversion. Something that suspiciously isn’t in the Utah tourist brochures, and in fact was left out of all those beauty shots of the Salt Lake valley during the 2002 Winter Olympics. You see, in Utah in the winter, we get snow. The cold air settles to the bottom of the valley and becomes stagnant. Then, with the nights being longer than the days, the air mass never warms after the lovely –5F evening temperature. Next thing you know, it’s 10 degrees in the valley and 30 degrees at the ski resorts! So, the valley fills up with smog, haze, gunk, whatever you want to call it. Even if the temperature screams all the way to 20f, one just can’t get motivated to go outside and ride in it. Of course, going to the mountains to ski or just get above the haze and stare at the sunshine is usually very therapeutic. I have included some photographs extracted from live webcams of the Salt Lake Valley. I hope you get the idea of just how lovely it is this time of year.

Otherwise, I train indoors. Mostly I have been spinning on my Cycle-Ops Fluid Trainer. This handy device makes it possible to ride the Little Red Bike in the family room, and keep my spinning form even though it’s really cold outside. I was spinning in the garage, but it's cold in there too! So, I turn on the NFL, or perhaps a West Wing rerun, or just my Ipod, and spin away for about an hour each day. I keep the spin rate around 85-100 and keep working my legs up bigger gears. No bets as to whether I can spin on the road at 100 rpm!

I also have been spending a lot of time lately over at the gym, working primarily on quads, glutes, and general circuit weights. Yesterday, I had a consult with a personal trainer who in his calm, and quiet way has helped Kathy and I find all sorts of muscle groups that haven’t been used in years. It should be interesting to see how all this work will translate to miles on the open road. The weather should modify some as the month progresses, and then I think it will be time to start riding some outdoor miles.



Pete said...

Don't get oil and stuff on the pretty carpet young Jim

Paul said...

I cannot find one word to describe the haze, perhaps "translucent"?

However, several two word phrase have come to mind, the most popular being:

natural gas
hybrid cars
solar power
wind power
automobile pollution
global warming

And one particular three word phrase:

stricter emission testing!