Wednesday, September 26, 2007

After the equinox

I am back in Alaska. We are building toward inch 13 of our September rainfall. Temperatures no longer seem to climb above 49. The nights are officially longer than the days, and that can only mean one thing - winter training season!

I have been trying to formulate a plan about how I can get into "the best shape of my life" by February, all while maintaining my income and spotty social life, and hopefully avoid burning out on cycling. I am thinking about treating the next six weeks as a sort of pre-season base builder. I hope to focus on speed workouts - maybe see if I have it in me to go fast on a bike - and weight lifting. Late September and October are good months to do this because they are essentially the worst months to spend out in the weather. So I renewed my gym membership today. I wrestled with the decision to do so for most of the month. It seems like a horrible waste of money given my obvious preference for training outside - even out in the weather. At the same time, I spent all of last winter out in the weather, and paid for it with a long-term overuse injury. This winter, I am going to do some squats.

In November, I'll launch into endurance training ... slowly increase the hours I burn each week until I'm only marginally holding onto my income source and no longer have even a spotty social life. Hopefully by then there will be enough snow on the ground that I can spend more of that time building my spotty snow-riding skills ... even if it means hiking my bike up steep hills and white-knuckling the handlebars all the way down. There aren't a lot of maintained winter trails around here, but there are plenty of slopes. I have a hunch that Pugsley can plow through a lot when gravity is on his side.

I am really looking forward to winter training. It has been a while since I have had a goal, a real goal, to work toward. Goals always seem to make all the random adventures and myriad mishaps and glassy-eyed gym sessions swirl together toward some sort of greater meaning. What that meaning is ... I'm not yet sure. In the beginning, maybe a way to pass the time. In the end, survival.