Sorry for the lack of posts. The holidays tend to sap anything resembling inspiration from me. The good news is that the holidays are behind us and I've been logging plenty of outdoor base miles. It seems like more and more people are coming around to the idea of riding outside through the winter. That said, there are still plenty of people that think sliding around dodging snowplows is crazy. I wrote a post on surviving the challenges of winter riding last year, so I won't go that route again, but I will say this: These are some of the best rides of the year. Each season brings with it variations in training and mindset. Spring for me is for the local classic road races. Summer is for Tuesday Night races and Fall is for CX. Winter is for long rides on sketchy roads on a slow heavy bike with nothing to worry about but base miles. Wind it up to Z2/3, and let the conversation flow. Hill repeats have their time and place and I look forward to those workouts, but nothing clears the head or raises the spirits like 3-4 hours of riding in the cold and snow.
I must admit that there are moments, on unavoidable roads with icy shoulders and cars that are annoyed you're out there, it can get a little dicey. The prospect of getting mowed down in the summer by some idiot trying to text their wife that they're picking up KFC for dinner certainly crosses your mind, but it does seem that the frequency of driver stupidity increases in the winter months. I'm assuming that some of them are pissed that we're tying up their roads in the winter now too! Some of them are probably a little agitated already because it's 14 degrees out and their car is freezing since the window is open so they can smoke. On the other hand, there are just as many people that are impressed and happily wave.
One thing is for sure, the risks are higher, but the gratification is higher. I used to listen to some surfer dude or skydiver on TV say something like "hey bro, if this is how I die, I died doing what I love." Or, "If I get eaten by a shark, that's cool man, circle of life bro." In turn I'd think "what an a-hole." I think the last few seasons of riding in the winter have given me a similar outlook. The simple act of riding outside in the elements have become some of my favorite rides. I find myself at the end of long rides rolling down hill no handed just taking it all in. Racing and fast group rides bring on a tremendous high, but it's a sugar high. A sugar high has it's place, but during the winter months, I'm enjoying the long slow burn.
So, if I get hit by a snowplow tomorrow morning, know this . . . I'm well insured so Mrs. Skinny will be fine and up until the last second when the shark ate me, I was in love with my life.
Some random surfer quotes:
"I took off on a wave, went down the side, popped out the other end, and went, shit, I'm still alive!" - Greg Noll
"For those searching for something more than just the norm. We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going down hill, when we stop taking risks." - Laird Hamilton
"You either surf or you fight"
"If I say its safe to surf this beach Captain, then its safe to surf this beach. I mean I'm not afraid to surf this place, I'll surf this whole fucking place!"
"Charlie don't surf!" - Kilgore (Apocalypse Now)
And I can't resist a lame quote from Point Break:
If you want the ultimate, you've got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It's not tragic to die doing what you love. - Bodhi