Doing it all the hard way...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lions for Hawks

French Coffee
Despite ushering in the New Year, January isn’t really a month of transitions.  It is cold and dark at the beginning of the month and the end of the month it looks pretty much the same.  As someone who does a lot of things outdoors the lack of visible change means in many respects you just strap in and prepare for more of the same. 

More of the same doesn’t mean January is bad.  There is skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and base miles.  It is the chance to finally wear your winter clothing.  The prospect of the whole year stretching out in front of you prompts anticipation, retrospection and planning.  Lots to do and at least for now, it seems like there is lots of time to do it.   The hangover from the Holiday break lasts into the middle of the January.  It is dark when I go to work and dark when I get home. The prospect of doing yard work or really anything outside on a weekday doesn’t even enter your mind.  

February kicks off fast and furious with CX Worlds, the Superbowl and a long term weather forecast from a seemingly ambivalent rodent. Once that concludes; then we start to see changes.  The twelfth man flag goes down and is replaced by the Lion of Flanders.   We start talking about baseball and the spring classics. Even though we are riding bikes dressed like we are fishermen on “Deadliest Catch” we are dreaming of riding in sunshine with bare arms and legs.

In February the group rides are still cold and wet, but more and more riders join in. They know spring is coming. The pace is social and riders coming off the couch can blend in without too much pain.  March is very different from January and the transition is visible and welcome.  Daylight after work seems unexpected when it finally happens.
To the surprise of no one Gravel riding will be my focus for 2015.  I said a tearful goodbye to my absolutely awesome Carbon Road Racing bike and I have no road racing aspirations for 2015.  There are a handful of Gravel Fondos in the Northwest.  I don’t know if I should be amazed that they even exist or surprised that there aren’t more of them- but either way I am jumping in with both Giro-clad feet.
The lower key Fondo environment is also better suited to my evolving mindset.  I am unable to determine if I am older and wiser or if I remain shell shocked from the undeniable failure of my Cyclocross training experiment of 2014.  I still want to ride fast but the absolute lunacy of racing against a bunch of OCD Lycra-clad AARP maroons has gained undeniable clarity.  
We are about to mark our one year anniversary of cabin ownership.  We have used it more than we dreamed of and we don’t have any plans to slow down. The five months from March to July were a constant revelation as the scenery changed every week. I am almost giddy at the prospect of reliving that again this year.  

As excited as I am about spring being just around the corner there is still much of winter to enjoy.  Although I have ticked off much of my winter bucket list there are still a few items that need my attention such as fat biking at night. February is a great time because my mind can entertain both the spring and the remaining winter.

1 comment:

bikelovejones said...

"I still want to ride fast but the absolute lunacy of racing against a bunch of OCD Lycra-clad AARP maroons has gained undeniable clarity."

Well, yeah.

I rode in a "demonstration" event in November, a fundraiser for a public greenspace and my first ANYthing-related-to-racing since 2012 and my first 'cross event since 2011. I was slow, I fell down in the mud ad shivered in the unseasonable cold. I had a good time, and realized that I preferred the non-competitiveness of a "demo" event over the high-octane stress of racing. I would welcome more such "demo" events but doubt they will happen. So I take my mountain bike through the pockmarked, potholed back alleys of N/NE Portland and enjoy exploring, and I ride my city bike all over nearly every day. Most of my racing friends still race, and that's okay. May all your miles be scenic and sweet.