It doesn't have to hurt
"Are we really going to do this?" Beat asked as the truck rocked rather combatively.
"Well, we already drove all the way here," I replied. "Here" was a pullout on Rollins Pass Road, a 45-minute drive from home. In the truck's bed were our fat bikes, recently refurbished after months of hibernation. My bike still had a Nome mileage sheet pinned to a pogie, and a once-cherished but soon-forgotten emergency collection of duct tape, zip ties, and parachute cord in the frame bag. We were here to enjoy the first day of fat bike season, but 45-mph wind gusts and an icy gravel road scraped clean of snow made it suddenly unpalatable.
After 15 minutes, we had pedaled all of a mile up the road.
"This isn't very fun," Beat said.
I nodded in agreement. "But what a great workout. My quads are already sore. I'm going to start doing leg lifts at the gym, that's for sure."
Tuesday: Rest. The man cold clamped down hard overnight. I woke up with a throat so sore it hurt to turn my neck, and I felt weak and feverish throughout the day. I was convinced I was coming down with bronchitis.
Wednesday: Elliptical machine "strength workout," 0:45. Weightlifting, 0:40. I had been quick to overestimate that cold, as it seemed quite bad for 24 hours. On Tuesday it was difficult to get up off the floor, but I felt significantly better on Wednesday morning. I went to the gym for low-impact exercise, using lots of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes, although I would think the contagiousness of my cold dissipated with my symptoms. I did still have a sore throat and the start of persistent congestion.
Thursday: Elliptical machine, 1:30. Weightlifting, 0:20. Still didn't feel strong enough to venture outside. I hear it got a bit cold during the week.
Friday: Mountain bike, 2:16, 13.2 miles, 2,233 feet climbing. A light storm dropped about an inch of snow. I still felt somewhat weak and was having some difficulties with breathing, and the added resistance of snow didn't help. But I really enjoyed this ride — a mixture of sun and flurries, and the trails were deserted.
Saturday: Run, 2:17, 9.1 miles, 1,631 feet climbing. I wore my Salomon Spikecross shoes for the first time since the 2015 White Mountains 100, and wasn't thrilled with the sudden impact of non-Hokas. Perhaps I've ruined myself forever with cushy shoes, but my shins and hips hurt almost immediately. I felt okay but hiked more than I usually would.
Sunday: Fat bike, 4:19, 23.4 miles, 1,705 feet climbing. I wish I could say I felt strong and that the Fat Pursuit is going to be great. No, it's probably going to be a disaster. What's new?