Off Season Blues

While Eric was down south basking in the sun with MTB phenoms, the rest of us were stuck in some of the coldest weather we’ve seen in recent winters. Most of the team had an indoor training session to flex the off-season fitness (or lack of) followed by some eats and friendly chirps. Unfortunately I had to miss out. I was up north with family which caused (allowed) me to escape the group indoor ride that I’m sure turned into a hammerfest.

Going up to northern Ontario to visit family is always a great break from the grind that I tend to fall into during the later months of the year. Trainer, work, sleep, repeat becomes mundane after the first two days. I planned to not bring anything but XC skis up north to give myself a break from the trainer. After having a great few days outdoors in central Ontario, including snowshoeing with Eric J, this seemed like flawless plan.  Lucky me, mother nature and I have a love hate relationship and it ended up being -40 almost everyday. With no place to train, my fitness took a hit as well as my waistline (it would be rude to say no to a second helping during the holidays). I left the North Pole a little plumper than I would have hoped, only being able to get in a few short cross country ski session when the weather let up to a balmy -30. On the brightside, Hearst Ski Club has well groomed trails and cheap access compared to southern Ontario, so I didn’t feel so bad cutting the sessions short when my eyelids began to freeze. The extreme cold turned base into intensity when my wax choices turned out as poor as my diet (still regret nothing). Talking with friends it seems I wasn’t the only one to over indulge a bit over the break, but it does give me something to build on I guess? Oink Oink.

Transitioning back the the trainer is never easy for me. After a poor decision to get rid of my smart trainer last April, I was having a tough time getting into the rhythm of indoor training. My older rollers are not as enjoyable as my smart trainer was, it’s amazing how you can trick the body to think your on the road. Zwift turned indoor workouts fun for me and the variable resistance gives you a small sense of accomplishment when cresting a virtual hill or seeing others riding. Misery loves company, but even with my fancy trainer last year I found that I had enough of inside really early. Mid-February and I was itching to get outside, opting for numb feet over a numb mind.

This year I’m trying to postpone using Zwift, saving it for when Netflix and podcasts just ain’t cutting it.  I’m hoping to beat the mid-feb funk by mixing up my entertainment, saving the best for last. Side note: I think being a movie critique and a cyclist in Canada would be a great gig, two birds one stone sorta deal. Do people get paid to review movies, or is it a rotten tomatoes free for all? Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was not nearly as good as the original but the soundtrack is pretty close, a major key for indoor sessions on the bike.

Although I do complain a fair bit, I am fortunate enough to get a decent chunk of my morning free to ride each day, empty house and all. I think my trainer is loud; my girlfriend thinks its like an airplane landing. An airplane that is landing in your living room for a few hours. I can say with certainty, empty apartment and a trainer is what is best for any relationship.

Although enduring (whining about) the indoor life, the upcoming season has me more motivated than ever. Last season was my first year racing bikes (not completely true, but at any level of seriousness) and I was happy with progression I made over the season. Fortunate to have the guys at Ascent take me under their wing, I learned so much from the rest of team. They made my transition into Cat 2 comfortable, something that I am grateful for and don’t take for granted.

This year, after a getting my feet wet in the Ontario race scene, I am looking forward to building on the fitness and skills developed last season. Coming in halfway through the year I raced mainly crits at the Elite level. I am looking forward to some longer road races which primarily occur during the first half of the Ontario road season. Currently, the OCA tentative roster has no races in August. Tour d’via Italia is the last race on the calendar (September) and always a great race. I’m hoping to fill the gap with some race days in the USA. Last year’s trip to Rochester Crit was one of the highlights of my season. Uncle Mike showing us how its done and laying down a karaoke cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” might be a contributing factor to that. Regardless it's always a pleasure travelling with your buddies and riding your bikes fast, the gap in Ontario Schedule seems like a perfect opportunity to do that.

Anyways, back to staring at walls and wishing for warmer weather. Thanks for reading my ramble, hopefully your off-season regiment is better than mine (if you have any ideas let me know).



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