Sunday, February 12, 2012

At Last ... Some Winter Riding

My most recent indulgence of late season cross racing has rearranged my winter training schedule for sure. For something that I thought would upset my winter, I have been pleasantly pleased with how things have worked out so far. Probably the biggest factor contributing to my feeling pleased, is that the weather this winter has been quite mild. I had a planned week off when I got home from Louisville and had a chance to get out on XC skis one day, and had a few forced days off that were enforced by broken pipes in our house which kept me indoors for a few days cleaning. I was annoyed at the time, and don't wish broken pipes on anyone, but looking back now, these came at a good time.

By the time I was thinking about trying to catch up with some long road rides, the temps went up and I had some great long rides up in Harriman by myself. I looked at my log to see how far behind I was with my winter riding, and realized that I was not only ahead of last year, but February was already here. Before this insight, I was under the impression that winter had just begun. This made me very happy to think that spring was more than halfway here. February is also a great month because you notice the days are getting longer. This past week, I enjoyed some after work mountain bike rides with my teammates. How nice is that?

For the most part, the bulk of my mountain biking over the past four months has been mostly on less technical terrain. My home trails are so technical that I actually need a break from them. As cross season starts, I shift my focus to a different form of riding and let go of my technical world. Many will not understand why I do this, but it is something that I feel I need to do. I am not a naturally fearless rider, I actually have to work at it, and taking a break gives me a chance to start fresh each year. Take a break and you forget. You forget some skills as well as bad habits and fears. You then have a fresh slate. Fear is a funny thing, and little fears can haunt you and make you think you can not do things. So much of riding is calculated, and often the risks can be minimized with finesse, mad skill and balance. It's just your head that distracts you at times.

This past weekend the ground refroze and conditions were perfect at Wawayanda. I rode 2 days on 2 different bikes, both 26er and 29er and started working on my skills and confidence. All I can say is "I love to ride all my bikes!" We rode from Ferber circle which is like singletrack concentrate. Awesome fun! I can't wait to get back up there again. Hooray for winter riding with friends!

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