Base Season started on November 15, 2016, just like it always does. Clockwork. But instead of mega miles and hours of aerobic training in any and every condition, this year called for something different. Why do the regular to prepare for a season of the irregular— a season of Throwing Punches and Knife Fights? Also, I’m tired of being cold. I’m tired of riding into 75 mph headwinds, skirting arctic Naders and suffering medical grade ice cream headaches. Bottomline, I’m no longer interested in wearing arm warmers or leg warmers, let alone tights. If 15 degrees was the old cut-off, this year it was 65.
And don’t even start in with me about how riding in “the elements” builds mental toughness. Go do a 4.1 hour highly-tuned and thoroughly-programmed-for-optimum-performance endurance ride (in the basement, at night, while everyone else is watching TV) on the trainer, and then get back to me about mental toughness. You pedal for hours and hours on end with only some beeps and what amounts to a Richter scale to keep you company, then we can talk about mental toughness if you want.
In preparation for a season of irregular (me-centric and fun-based) racing and with my newfound commitment to staying warm and comfortable at all costs throughout the winter in mind, I decided to go all-in with the trainer program. No more wasted pedal revolutions. No more winging it and half-assed follow thru. This year is all about sticking to the plan.
Let the Wolf and the Eagle suffer through another wet Pacific NW winter playing Magazine Pro while mired in mid ‘80s training advice: “ride lots,” “don’t shave your legs before the day of a race,” “don’t sit in air conditioning,” “don’t have sex within a week of a race,” “bundle up but don’t wear gloves,” “have someone carry you up the stairs,” “stay in the little ring the first 1,000 miles,” et cetera et cetera. Not me. This year I decided to commit wholly and completely to Science and Technology. I purchased a Top of the Line Trainer, I subscribed to TrainerRoad, I outlined my goals, plugged in my dates, and I got down to it. Was it “fun” riding my trainer 123 times in 146 days? Well, was it fun not riding my bike outside for over three months? Maybe, but who cares? Because what is fun is being ahead of the curve. What is fun is to see it all working, in real time. What is fun is having proof on a screen that I’m demonstrably faster than ever before.
Also, I was never cold. 17 days and counting.