How late into the year can I do this?

Garmin Data:

Not sure yet, since there are still a couple weeks left in 2010, but I do know that as of today, it is at least as late as December 19th. And, here it is only two days away from the shortest day of the year! Winter is flying by (which is just fine by me…).

Beth and I went to the 11am yoga class — our third Sunday morning doing poses like Downward Dog and Tree pose together. And, for the second time in as many weeks, I’ve come home energized from the session and gone for a bike ride. This week, my bike-buddy, Dave rode with me. Dave has been mentioned many times in this blog and you might also remember him as “Eddie” (of American Flyer fame).  Dave rode quite  a bit with me last fall and some this spring as I trained for the cross country trek. But, unfortunately, when I wasn’t around to crack the whip, he slacked off and traded his bicycle for a motorcyle and riding slid down on his priority list. So, today, Dave had to work pretty hard on a ride that he could have done with much less effort at the height of our training earlier in the year. Today’s ride was relatively easy for me. When I glanced down at my Garmin, as has become my habit, I noticed that my heartrate was about 105 as I spun along. Much of the ride I felt I should be riding harder — but that was not really my goal today. My goal was to enjoy a ride with my friend Dave. There were a couple of small climbs that required us to put out some real effort. I enjoyed feeling  the strength of both my legs and my cardio-vascular system. My heartrate spiked at about 160 bpm but my recovery was very fast.

It was a perfect day for a ride – again!  No doubt there will be hell to pay in January and February!  The temperature today was about 50 degrees F and there was no wind to speak of, just a slight breeze out of the south/southeast. There were thin clouds and the sun was behind them most of the way but I do remember seeing our shadows casting half way across the road as we headed east from Dave’s house. This time of year the shadows always seem so long. I forgot my camera today or I would have captured that image to share. I would also have taken some photos of the dozen or so other riders we saw. There were a couple of pairs of riders, but most were singletons. No peletons. Everyone else seemed to be a “serious” rider. Seemed like everyone had the appropriate gear and clothing for the season. Except perhaps Dave. He tends to make due with his general purpose sports clothing and he also overheats easily, so he can get away with wearing fewer layers than most of us (at least me!). Today he had on a CU football shirt and a sleeveless fleece along with his downhill ski gloves — they seem to work for a while, then he overheats and ends up going without any gloves at all. Brrrrrr.  Now, I know I’ve mentioned this. Dave is a big guy. He’s got to be 6’5″ and perhaps a bit taller and he’s built much more like a football player than a Tour-de-France cyclist who might excel in the mountains. He’s mentioned that his feet are too big and wide for any off-the-shelf cycling shoes. And, having seen his feet — I don’t think he’s just saying that! So, he rides in a pair of street/hiking sort of shoes and mountain bike  style platform pedals. No clips and straps, no clip-less step-in pedals — just a flat platform pedal. But, he doesn’t complain. Not about his equipment, not about the weather, not about the climbs. Dave keeps riding along at his own pace, enjoying being outside. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy riding with him so much. He just enjoys making the pedals go around and the bike go forward.

As we were heading up the last stretch towards the intersection where he goes right and I go left, I brought up how much easier it is to STAY fit that to get fit, lose it and fight to get it back. Dave agreed. He said that some of his happiest times was when he was getting up and riding every day. I thought to myself, how true that is! I need to remember this in the winter weeks and months to come. I’m no fool. I know this  is easy to say on a calm, warm winter afternoon… but I want to have the conviction to say it (and do it!) on a cold, blustery winter afternoon too. Clearly, I am motivated now, and want to stay that way so that  I  make it a priority to keep riding (outside or at the velodrome) and stay fit so when spring comes I am ready to do some serious training and riding instead of having to get into shape before I can enjoy riding again.