Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

As Daylight Savings Time comes to an end, the door on after work daylight rides will slam shut on many of us. Sunset this Sunday night will take place at 5:13PM, which really sucks. That statement may be indicative of a bad attitude toward inevitable changing of the seasons, but cycling has made me into a bit of a Grinch when it comes to winter. Now that I've got that off of my chest, I'll take a deep breath of mellow and move on.

I poached the title of this article from Bob Dyan, of course. Bob wasn't writing about cyclists approaching winter, but I figured that I could glean at least a couple of appropriate lines:

For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled

Truer words were never spoken. Unlike many of you multi-sports types, I am, for the most part, a single-faceted athlete. I ride bikes. Sure, I walk and do a little weight work, but I don't do enough to offset the loss of ride time that winter brings on. Some folks can deal with the roller coaster of major weight gain and loss, but I find it to be a depressing battle, so I'd rather fight small skirmishes against the incursion of fat. Whether you drone on the dreaded trainer or deal with the elements, winter riding is less fun but still much better than stalling out completely.

The slow one now
Will later be fast

That's right, Bob. Long, slow winter rides provide a good base for coming back strong in the spring and help to burn off the candy, cookies, pies, dressing and gravy, cheese dip and all of the other stuff that we gorge on as the nights grow long and the holidays roll around.

I need to add some dimension to my winter program in order to maintain my momentum. My mountain bike is back in rotation for my annual re-learning experience and I plan to diversify! I am not making any resolute promises, but I intend to run a few miles a couple of days per week, start a yoga practice, and perhaps learn to swim proficiently. By way of early progress, I've made a couple of morning jogs (still don't like it), have been to a couple of yoga classes ( like it!), and have only threatened the swimming pool.
Sunset yoga on Sugarloaf at Heber Springs last Saturday. Adding some strength and flexibility has got to be a good thing!

The hard core crowd has already started the cyclocross season, and winter still holds quality riding opportunities; many are just shorter and require more planning and gear in order to stay comfortable. Don't hang your bike up. Instead, head to the woods on the mountain bike, do some running, a little boating, or some hiking; all of which are better done in winter, in my opinion.

 Not done quite yet!
Riders were taking advantage of the last days of extended daylight on Tuesday night.
The warm weather was an added bonus!
Don't pet the animals!
I know they're lovable, but remember that they are still wild.
Riders were not the only critters out soaking up the late season warmth.
Share the trail! Uh, sure, I'll be glad to move on along! This skunk was out in broad daylight and not too concerned about being crowded. We speculated that he was sick.
Enjoy the next few late sunsets, then stiffen your resolve to ride through the winter as you can and to broaden your horizons when you can't.

No comments: