I’d been sitting on my butt for too long, eating wonderful, fantastic-tasting food… I rode all summer long, an average of 30 miles a day, each and every day. My legs got big, strong, awesome lookin’. In three months I only missed two days. I felt good. Healthy. Stong.
Then hunting season came around and being one of those who doesn’t bristle when someone says, “If you had to kill your own meat you wouldn’t eat it” (You bet your butt I would, and just as much as I do now), I’m not going to miss hunting season with my buddy, Bill. Then crap weather. Put simply, I went from 1,000 mile months to 300 or 400. This is all quite normal and expected and absolutely worth it. Besides, it’s not exactly like I was sitting around on my butt, I was hiking up to an hour and a half a day, carrying between 20 and 70 pounds the whole time…
Then Thanksgiving came and I sat down. Just four days, but it’d been a couple of weeks since I really gave a decent effort. The mirror didn’t show it yet, but I felt thicker. I was still using the same belt hole but you know that point where you have to pull just a little bit and you shouldn’t have to…
Then comes the thinking. “Oh, crap, has it really been that long since I gave a solid effort?” “Not to worry, I had a hardcore summer, right?” “I needed some time off anyway.” “Maybe I should stop eating so much.” “Ah, but that belly-buster burger would be so good.”
This is where I know I’m screwed. I know this because I’ve run into it before.
In past years, I’ve gone the entire month, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, eating like it wouldn’t have implications. I knew I was going to be active again come spring so why not enjoy myself, right? This led, inexorably, to a rough spring. High mileage, dieting and dropping weight before the heavy summer mileage. This has gone on for more than a decade, heck almost fifteen years now and I finally grew bored with the effort required to get the spring train rollin’ again. This year I decided to cut out the springtime weight drop. Now, being a big fan of Thanksgiving and the entire weekend (big breakfasts, big dinners, movies, college football, pro football, card games and being lazy), there’s no way I was going to sacrifice that break. I need it. Christmas is going to be pretty close to the same but this year, why bother messing up the 20-ish days in between. That’s a statement, not a question.
So here I sit, writing this post. I rode, in one form or another, every day this week and we’ve got a nice 80 mile weekend lined up and I can’t wait.
I didn’t exactly sit still through Thanksgiving. We rode, a little bit, the two days it wasn’t raining but those two hours were just fun rides. I’ve got that voice in the back of my head. “It’s time to get moving. It’s time for action.”
I’ve had my fun, had my time off.
I rode Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on the trainer due to time constraints. Yesterday my wife and I rode, outdoors, on the good bikes and it was wonderful. Mostly sunny, mid-40’s and climbing… A little windy, but hey, a fella can’t have everything now. We took it easy, of course, but it was good. After taking it easy for a few couple of weeks, I was expecting to have a tougher time – I expected yesterday’s 17 mph pace to feel like 19, like it does in the spring. It didn’t. It was easy, smooth, comfortable – like it was in the summer, maybe even a little better because I’m rolling on rested legs.
The real test will be the next two days though. 40 miles each day and I’m going to be spending more than my fair share or it up front.
I no longer have that voice in my head, and it is good.