Spring is a tough time of year that provides the dedicated a chance to get fit early – if you’re willing. It’s a difficult time for many. The roads are often wet, sometimes salty, and the temperatures aren’t usually conducive to cycling enjoyment. I have friends who struggle to get out in the “pre-spring” month of March, then April. It is cold up here in Michigan, usually well into May.
I and many like me, on the other hand, can’t wait to get outside to get some fresh air and stretch the legs. Low to mid 40’s (4 to 6 C) is just enough to get me fired up and out the door. If we have some sunshine, I can hardly contain the enthusiasm! I have no problem cleaning a little schmutz off my bike after a ride. To feel the ground passing beneath me and the speed of my road bike is enough to make me forget about the chilly air temp – at least for an hour or two.
With early starts and long, slow miles, fitness comes fast and easy (I can’t believe I wrote “slow”, but it’s true – it works for spring miles). On the other hand, if you’re sitting it out, you’ll struggle to catch up – sometimes all season long. I’ve seen it happen and it’s a bummer to watch a friend struggle to keep up.
With early spring training, the formula is simple; pay now or pay later – one thing is certain, you’re going to pay.
I really feel bad for those who struggle to get out early in the season to ride, and I get it. I have a friend who has the ability to enjoy riding in absolutely the worst conditions. 7 degrees F (-13 C)? No problem. Snowing? Not even a worry. I can’t do it. No matter how hard I want to, I just can’t get out the door in those conditions (and I have the right clothing to do it – I just completely lack the want to). So I spend a couple of weeks catching up to him in the early spring. I do, however, possess enough want to to make my trainer miles count, so I’m not completely pooched. If you’re like me, though, and have a hard time shutting off the eating over the winter and you’re carrying some extra wattage weight and you can’t ride outside until it’s 55+ (12 C) and you hate the trainer… well, if you’re riding with the fast crowd, you’re done before you finally wheel your bike out the door for that first ride of the new year. You’ll be struggling to catch up much of the summer.
I have to pick my poison, because I am going to ride with the fast kids, so I’ll pay now, thank you kindly.