Doing it all the hard way...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Seasons change

You get the idea
Thanksgiving 2014 is turning out to be a time of transitions.  In years past the holiday didn’t provide any watershed demarcations. When I declared my Cyclocross season over earlier in November I left the door open in the event I wanted to cap my season with a race at Enumclaw or perhaps the now pending UCI races the first weekend of December.  I wondered if my appetite for mud and racing would resurface.  It has not. It is with no great emotion I hereby shut the door completely.  Finito.
 Just another moment of reflection on my journey to nowhere
I am in full off-season mode.  Between now and January I am riding for fun and my only constraint is that I don’t go hard.  That may be difficult but I am willing to try and comply.  Following a season of hard intervals and hard racing, easy spinning is feeling rather enjoyable.  Sometimes you just gotta go slow.

With my beloved fire roads snowed over my gravel riding season for 2014 is done regardless of my emotions or desires.  What a revelation gravel riding was in 2014!  I may ride on some of those roads before next spring but I will do so not with a carbon bike and 35mm tires.  If I ride it will be with four inch wide tires at nine psi on a fat bike.  Riding a thirty-six pound bike on snow is predictably slower than a carbon bike on dirt but fun is what the season is all about and fat bikes are nothing but fun. Try and find a picture of someone on a fat bike who is NOT smiling.

They just closed Highway 20 for the winter so for the next five months our trips to the Methow valley go through Wenatchee. The driving requires more time but less mental focus so in my head it is about the same.  I recall this past spring how awkward the first trip over Highway 20 felt.   
Whiplaesch chillin'
For the next four months I will start most days checking the Nordic trail report for the Methow. Even if I am not there it is a thrill to keep up to date. It may sound silly but having a MVSTA season trail pass has been a dream of mine for years. Hottie and I will be skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking every chance we get.  I agree with you that I don’t deserve this. Pinch me.
Cozy !
My once or twice a week bike commute is dark both morning and evening.  Temperatures have ranged from the twenties to the fifties with wind, rain and ice.  My extensive glove and beanie collection is being exercised on a consistent basis. My love for the Showers Pass Jacket Hottie got me a while back has been rekindled.  It is a red security blanket. “Rain, I laugh at your face!”

Tux finds himself in transition as well.  His muzzle seems to get greyer each week.  He has stopped fighting when he has to get a bath after wading in at the beach.  He hurt his hip running several weeks back and he still favors it which makes me think it has done all the healing it is going to do.  As a result he hasn’t opened up at full speed on the beach since the original injury.  He’s still walking with Hottie and running with me as well as frolicking with other dogs on the beach, but he hasn’t flashed his jaw dropping speed for some time. His fondness for flopping his furry self on our high thread count bed sheets is unaffected.  Welcome to doggy middle age Tux.
The war wagon is entering its tenth year of faithful service.  I have asked a lot from the sand colored machine since it rolled off the lot nearly 170,000 miles ago. Just as we unconsciously adapt to our own infirmaries as we age; it is only after driving Hottie’s car that I noticed the clunking and creaking that I had grown accustomed to from the wagon.  There is a succession plan in place but it requires a couple more years of saving up.  We need to alter our thinking and weigh the vehicular endeavors rather than recklessly taking on all challenges.
The shed is taking on the look of a ski shop...
On my biking side I am enjoying riding as much if not more than ever before.  I am not lusting for any bikes or wheels or anything.  I’m thinking about the quality of the experience as opposed to flat out speed or weight. I am excited Hottie is now set up as well. The old rule of how many bike should a guy have being present number plus one no longer applies.  I’m set. That is a transition. 
Hottie loves me.  She'll follow me to nowhere...
A final transition that perhaps has been more gradual than the others but has reached a point where I noticed it is a hint of discretion in my thought process.  My decision to defer a ride from an icy morning to a safer afternoon, though prudent, is historically uncharacteristic of me.   I tend to get focused on something and ignore all data inconsistent with my plan.  I can’t claim this approach has served me well.  It also makes explaining injuries sustained while riding on icy roads or redlining on slippery trails after dark appropriately awkward.
Strutting !!
I enjoy the tranquility of an early morning ride as much as anyone. The chance to test yourself against the elements is thrilling. The sense of accomplishment, the buzz of doing something hard while others didn’t is a good feeling.  There are times, however, when the smart thing to do is sleep in and make waffles. 

After all these years of getting older maybe I am finally getting smarter.  It’s about time. 

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