Monday, January 21, 2008

Spinning my Wheels

A typical January morning...
Hi all,
It’s another pleasant January day today. I just shoveled another 4-6 inches of powder of the driveway and the snow piles at the end of the driveway are over 5 ft. tall. After I finished shoveling, I took my customary mountain bike ride up to the end of the street and back. This silliness started around Christmas, and has turned into a small tradition. I just find a tire track to ride in, and make my way a block or two in the snow. I have found if I get into the powder the bike seems to “swim” quite a bit. It really is fun, and I get some very odd looks from the neighbors.
What the Randonneur reads while spinning...
At the end of the street, I rode up the driveway of my neighbor, Bill. He had just machine plowed the whole sidewalk, and I stopped by to thank him. We both agreed that we hadn’t seen a winter like this in five or six years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Ever lived through a drought? Ever had to save grey water just to keep your flowers alive? Yes, the snow is a pain, but it is a delicious pain, leading to full reservoirs and lovely gardens in the summer.
The Controller's stash kept at my desk. How helpful!
But, what about the riding season? Well, for me the riding season so far has been indoors. I have been spending mornings at the gym, specifically working on quads, all other circuit weights, and attending spin class. The spin class is a modern version of torture, a young, extremely fit instructor runs us through intervals for an hour, and works us over until we are nothing but a quivering mass of sweat and excessive heart rate. They tell me this is good for me, really.
All I need is music...
A clock for intervals...
My cozy "gym"...
The other training has been in the garage, spinning on the Barcroft. I enjoy this training more, except for the cold dreariness of the garage. I’d bring the bike inside, but I suspect that my Labrador, Harley, would chew the grip shifters, so to the garage I ride.
Look at this innocent face!
Not much other news this week. I hope to get my cross-country skis waxed, and get some trail time this next week. After all, there is lots of snow!

See you down the log,


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year

The view from Patsy and Rick's farm, Spencer Indiana
Hi all,
First off, hats off to my sister Patsy for sharing some of her photographs with me, and permitting me to share it here with you. Dad taught us well!
Now, to the news; Almost 20 days between posts. Sometimes my lack of posting is due to just being busy, and other times it's purely due to a lack of anything to say! In the case of this last absence, it’s a little of both. During Christmas week, I was able to enjoy the holidays with family visiting, and had a wonderful time relaxing with a week off from air traffic control. It was delightful. Lots of family, lots of food, lots of snow, lots of fun, and actual regular sleep!
The snow piling up on the fence...
And then, slowly, inexorably, I came to a complete halt in every department. On New Year’s Eve, I was at work, sitting at my supervisor’s workstation in a complete funk, no motivation, no energy. At home, I had been unwilling to ride or to go the gym, and although I had been spinning on the bike in the garage on my fluid trainer, it was obvious, that the riding year had truly ended in grand fashion.
Winter at the farm; Spencer, Indiana.
But, I guess this is one part of ending a year, and starting over; I just don’t recall ever hitting the end of the cycling road quite so severely ever before! I recall writing last February, a post about “New Beginnings”. In that post I wrote about the hardest step being the first one. Boy, was I ever right!
And now, a week later, the “year” has finally started for me. I have energy at home to get things done, energy at work to get things done, and a mindset towards training to ride. The pie is all gone, the coffee cake is all gone, and the chocolate is hidden away in the freezer. It’s time to start setting goals, and get on the bike.
A family Christmas tradition; Polish coffee cake!
I noticed that a lot of cycling blogs I read have made end of year posts, writing of mileage accomplishments, and looking back at the year. For now, I am going to look forward. The goals for riding have been set; 2500 miles, my first 300 Km Brevet, and raising my average distance per ride above 30 miles. There are other riding goals, but I will bring them to you as I ride.
Other goals have been set, too. Home remodeling, basic things that have needed to get done around the house, and making a firm plan for my future in retirement in the spring of 2009. That last goal is the biggie. I am about to embark on a completely new part of my life. It is an exciting prospect fraught with apprehension, excitement, trepidation, and even joy.
Want to come along?