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Home » Cycling » Not Much of an Escape from the Cyclist’s Hamster Wheel…

Not Much of an Escape from the Cyclist’s Hamster Wheel…


My wife, four friends, and I took the mountain bikes out on Sunday.  We’d planned all week on taking the road bikes out but the weather turned out much colder that what was prognosticated.  Friday and Saturday were simply too cold to ride outdoors with temperatures well below my 20 degree (-7C) cutoff.

Sunday was being reported as the pick day of the weekend and temps were supposed to start at freezing and work their way up to almost 50 by 3 pm.  Unfortunately the wind was absolutely whipping in from the southeast and as with most of our paved routes, we’re pretty much limited to southwest and northwest except one decent east to west loop.  I picked that rather than fight what had turned out to be a 15-20 mph wind with gusts above 25.

To the west we headed, with a little help from the wind.  Something like twelve miles, head north with a solid tailwind for a mile, then east… and that’s exactly when it started sucking.  The wind was blowing so hard it didn’t matter where you were, you weren’t getting a break.  I stayed up at the front of the echelon, either first or second bike, for quite a while before deciding to fall back and try to take a break for a bit.  I only managed a mile or two before I realized I was having an easier go of it up front (less dodging of the potholes – we were, after all, on dirt roads).  I stayed up at the front the rest of the way back and couldn’t believe that I actually felt pretty decent when we pulled up to my driveway…  Good enough that I rode with my buddy Mike halfway to his house for some bonus miles.

At the beginning of the winter, technically on Novermber 23rd, 2016, I wrote the following:

Cycling and how I will get faster over the winter….  Notice, please, that I didn’t use the word “intend” or “plan” or “think I can” in the Title?  While this isn’t a foregone conclusion, as I still have to put in the saddle time, I have already started on the path….

So we’re coming up on the end of winter, and the results are in…  I think.  I did get faster over the winter, on my trainer.  Or maybe that’s to say I didn’t lose as much as I normally would over the winter, but I don’t think that’s the case – I really do feel quite good with where I’m at.  I actually feel faster, and so far the results have translated to the road.  One thing is undeniable:  I’m vastly stronger that last fall – I just have to translate that onto the road over hours instead of just 45 minutes a day.

The plan was to spend most of my trainer time in the third hardest gear (52/13) on the hardest resistance setting (on the trainer).  I ended up doing one gear better.  I moved up to 52/12 in late January and managed to get to a point where I can do a whole 45 minute workout horsing just that gear.  I’m even tinkering with my last gear every now and again (52/11).

In other words, I did even better than I’d hoped when I devised my little plan back in November.

This is where I spent all of those frigid winter days…

In addition, I started doing push-ups again and have stuck with that, five days a week, since January so now my upper body is better prepared for the upcoming glut of miles that should start in about two weeks.

In the end, I’d put on more weight than I’d hoped though, as one would imagine with a bunch of extra muscle – I’m sitting at a solid 181 pounds right now so I’ve cut out breakfast entirely and that’s begun to show positive affects as it always does (I know, I know…. I’ll do my diet how it works, not how you think I should do it.  Thank you in advance for your concern).

Unfortunately, that nice stretch of weather we had didn’t last.  It’s been cold as, well, it’s been really frickin’ unseasonably cold.  For the time being, it’ll be a little more of this:

Spring is close though, and I’m ready!

This is a wonderful place to be.  I’ve always gone into Spring a little tentative.   Did I do enough over the winter?  Will I get stuck playing catch up?  Not this year.  I’m caught up and good to go – so in light of a couple of revelations, I’m putting together a transition plan that I can refer back to as soon as the snow starts flying…. more on that later. 

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7 Comments

  1. unironedman says:

    Skip breakfast? Fair play; I couldn’t do it. I’d rather miss is it at the end of the day…

    • bgddyjim says:

      I know, I’m odd that way. I don’t know why but I have an easier time if I skip breakfast.

      • bpangie says:

        I’m not a breakfast guy. Cup of black coffee and I’m good until 12. Though once the eating starts…

      • unironedman says:

        Any takers on this? No? Okay, I guess I’ll be the one to annoy everyone so… breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day, and not just coz your Mammy said so. Get a bowl of porridge into you first thing, with your coffee, and those slow-release carbs will keep you going for hours. Otherwise, your body revolts around 11am and you hit the sugary snacks, and then it’s all over 🙂

        There’s also something here about instant gratification vs delayed gratification but I can hear those eyes glazing over like a chocolate doughnut from here, so I’ll stop now…

        Here endeth the lesson. I’ll get my coat…

  2. I don’t function without breakfast! My wife on the other hand dislikes eating breakfast (except on weekends when I make pancakes).

    Good work on keeping up with the turbo work. It’s a toughie. I’ve been trying to get in 4-5 trainer sessions per week. I need to start getting some longer rides in though. I’m stronger no doubt, but 2+ hour endurance had probably suffered somewhat.

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