It is so subtle the untrained eye will probably miss it. For as long as there has been a team email list there have been random emails seeking company on weekend rides.
“Anyone want to go longer tomorrow?” is a popular one. “I’m going out for a couple hours around noon on Saturday if anybody wants to join” is another familiar flavor.
Thus one could easily miss the increased frequency of the invitations. The duration of the rides in February and March might also be a tip off to those watching closely. Many who historically take the post-cyclocross lull very seriously are out logging miles.
Without much fanfare we are all building up for our Dolomite trip. As El Jefe’ has at times reminded us, the mantle of leadership never leaves his broad shoulders. He has been a champion at making all feel welcome on some longer weekend rides. Chapeau to him.
The Dancing Greyhound of Flanders ?
Perhaps when we were younger we could cram our training into the last few weeks leading up to the big trip but as we confess to being on the right hand slope of the middle age bell curve we can’t afford to rush our training.
In February and March it is all about saddle time. Getting to the top of the climb first isn’t as important as all of us reaching the summit. There isn’t a hint of frustration as we wait for our slower brothers. We are all laying down a base and as the days grow longer some will go faster and some will just go farther.
We may all ride like lions in April but for now we are still lambs. We are lambs that are riding farther and farther mind you, but lambs nonetheless.
My goals for the trip have nothing to do with speed or rank amongst my brethren but everything to do with taking on the challenges. In the near term my goal is to say yes as often as I can to more kilometers. I need to make as many deposits into the pain bank as possible.
As we turn the page from February to March we all have a sprinkling of longer rides on our 2016 palmares but those are more exceptions than the rule. When we hit April the long rides should be routine and our legs should be coming around.
As we build for the Dolomites up our minds shift what we consider normal. Our Saturday rides grow from one to six hours as we approach the Solstice. I realized how much my perspective has already skewed when I saw a road sign that said, “Seattle 84 miles” and I thought, “Man that is going to take forever…” Then I smile as I realize that if someone invited me on an 84 mile ride tomorrow I wouldn’t think that distance was too far.