The cycling off season has it’s own rhythms. I’m not as obsessed about my weight, for example. [Gained 10 lbs, to be exact] I’ve been off the bike for coming up on two months, and finding the different routine surprisingly pleasant. I’m six weeks into my program of cycling specific weight training, and dutifully shuffle off to the YMCA to grunt and sweat three times a week. After six weeks I’m dead certain that I’m stronger than I was a year ago at this time…and 10 pounds not withstanding, still 25 lbs lighter. Strangely enough I’m enjoying my trips to the gym. It’s a different kind of good. Which brings me to my point…
I usually don’t tolerate changes in routine very well. When I like what I’m doing, I would rather it didn’t stop. Ever. [A nod to Taylor Swift’s bitter breakup ballad, We Are Never Getting back Together…EVER] I’ve lived too long to say the word ever with much conviction. Which is good – because life and cycling are seasonal. It would be nice if it were always full-on summer followed by the heartrending beauty of Fall…but that’s an unrealistic view of life. If we live solely for the four months of warmth, inevitably there’s two thirds of the year spent somewhere between longing and misery. I’ve known people who are alive only one third of the year. Truthfully I’ve been that kind of person. Hence the real gift of 2013: discovering different kinds of good.
I can’t say I saw this coming. Enjoying indoor workouts on…WEIGHT MACHINES?! My spirit rekindled daily with the glowing embers of past adventures? The DAILY GRIND seasoned with the joy of the right now?
The wind on my face is about 60 degrees cooler than a summer bike ride when I glide through the forest on Nordic skis. It’s very quiet: more often than not I see no one. There’s a unique cadence in the kick-and-glide that frees my thoughts, and turns some of them into prayers. I catch myself humming to myself or chuckling at some thought that catches my fancy for a brief moment. Right…left, kick…glide. I hope to ski somewhere around 150 Km before the end of March. It’s not so much the distance as it is insurance that I breathe some fresh air twice a week.
The snow is already deep – upwards of two feet, so far. Ever few days we get another shot of 2-3 inches to soften up the trails. It’s been seriously cold, too. Two days ago we woke up to -35. That’s 67 degrees of frost. The cold challenges me to be mindful and careful: carrying extra clothes, fire materials, an insulated thermos full of broth and extra chapstick – which does wonders to prevent frost nip on the nose. The glory of a different cadence.