15 January 2009

Back in the Groove

The past few weeks have been yielded some peace and quiet for Mary and myself. The New Year came, and to say goodbye to 2008 we went out to Lynn's Paradise Cafe. They were having a pajama party, and I surprised MCC with it. She always complains about not being able to wear pj's in public, and I thought it would be fun. So here she is decked out in her Christmas pj's playing with dinosaurs(If you haven't been to Lynn's you wouldn't get it).

We've settled into our training for the next year of racing, and trying to get our schedules figured out. I've been doing a little trail running on days where I just can't make myself get on the bike before dawn, so it has kept me pretty fresh. Like I mentioned in the last post, I use cycling for more than just fitness, so I managed to finally get out on a long road ride this past Sunday. It was cold, but I really needed to get out on the bike for a few hours. All day long at the shop this time of year can just wear you out.

So, I got out with a couple of good blokes, Jeff and Billy, to freeze in a small group. We headed out southeast of town, out to some territory that I haven't ventured into. It was refreshing to get out on country roads with some nice little twists and turns. The route has some little climbs, but that just got you warm for an instant or two. Stopped for a mid-ride double americano to warm up, and we hit it again back into town. All in all, it was a great ride, and fired me up again.

Well, if one ride is good, back to back days is better right? Every time for me. That being said, while observing my "appointment only" Monday schedule, I hit the road again for a few hours. This was a peaceful solo ride that took me out to Iroquois Park. It may be the hilliest park in the Metro, with a steady climb to the top, which rewards climbers with a view of the city from all directions. Its one of my favourite rides within the Metro, and well worth the ride up hill.
My "loaded down" road bike. Courtesy of Rob Tsunehiro. Man I love the Garmin and Powertap!

Yesterday's ride takes the cake though. Now, most sane people would see temps in the teens and twenties as a sign to stay inside and put on 5 layers. I am not sane, I put on those same 5 layers and got out to enjoy a true winter delight; frozen trail. Its not something that seems to happen much down here, but its something I grew to love living up North (somehow Northern Indiana is still "The North" down here). You could count on it nearly all month long in January, and it was a great time to get off the trainer. Anyways, I got out a little before sunrise and enjoyed the snap, crackle and pop of frozen soil underneath my tires. Since there wasn't any snow on the ground, traction is abundant and endless. You can rail corners faster than any other time of the year, and you just roll. It was also the third or fourth ride on my new Rocky Mountain ETSX. Its the first full-susser I've had in a while, so it feels like a full-on downhill bike! I still find myself picking smooth lines, but it gobbles up stuff with ease when I'm changing music on my iPod (scold me later). It climbs really well too, even for the 5 inches of suspension. It went on a diet last night when Mary and I received our latest supply of Alpha Q gear. Stay tuned for a review of the great stuff they've sent us.

Well, its time to hit the road. Stay warm, especially for all the folks up North!