Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why I like to ride by myself

I like to ride alone.

Honestly, I prefer a solo ride. There's nothing quite like quietly slipping away from the world for hours at a time. No set plan, no destination (at least not that anyone else knows about). Phone turned off. Zero compromise.

I hate to compromise. I mean, I think I'm good at it, it's necessary to get through the day and all, and that's what I have to do. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

So my solo rides give me a break from having to accomodate anyone else. I can be completely selfish. It's indulgent, and I know it.  I can ride wherever I want,  I can change my course for no reason at all if that's what I want to do. I can ride at my own pace, get myself totally lost,  not feel responsible for anyone.

Some people might think that riding alone gets boring. But I never get bored. Maybe it's because I have a hard time turning off my brain (caffeine will do that to you), but after about an hour or so of head chatter, there comes a point when the inner monologue fades out and I'm left with the immediacy of the moment. It's like all of a sudden I wake up and here I am, on my bike, wind in my face and the open road in front of me. Maybe this is what meditation is like? (I wouldn't know, I don't have the patience for it). Maybe this is the closest I'll ever get to a Zen state. If it takes getting out on a bike by myself and losing myself for a few hours, so be it; I'm OK with that.

I'm not anti-social. I love a challenging group ride, and I crave those summer social rides with friends to get beer or pancakes. Some of my best memories involve cycling with friends. And, of course, one of the reasons I like to race is because of the team thing. (I raced before without the benefit of teammates. It sucks).

But please don't be offended if you ask me what my ride plans are for any given day, and I don't tell you.

We'll ride together at some point, but today, this ride is all mine.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Racing in 2013

This is the first year I'll be racing with the Summit Freewheelers, since we now have enough women to compete as a team. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this, and I'm planning on getting out and racing more this year. A lot of my races will be to support the team, and so I'll be doing more crits than I probably would have otherwise. And some of these races (like the TTs) are for my own personal satisfaction.

These are the bike races I plan to do in 2013:
Barry Roubaix
Races at the Lake series
Presque Isle Time Trials
Eastern Ohio Time Trial series (my favorite)
Tour of the Valley
Iceman Cometh

Other races TBD:
Track racing at the Cleveland Velodrome
Cyclocross (NEOCX series races)
Team-only Time Trial series in the Valley

Non-cycling, multisport races:
Nordonia Duathlon (the defending champion has to defend her title!)
Twinsburg Duathlon
Akron Half Marathon

It's gonna be a busy season of training and racing. Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Springtime in January?

Except for some 'still-haven't-gotten-around-to-taking-down-the-Christmas decorations' scenery, last weekend felt an awful lot like what springtime in Northeast Ohio is supposed to: kinda damp, kinda 50+ degrees, breaks of sun. Except, of course, springtime is still a couple of months away. You gotta pay attention around here, because when days like this are handed to you, you shouldn't refuse them.

I rode out from home to meet the Summit Freewheelers on their Saturday off-season group ride. It was great to see so many of the new gals, but our regular ride into Kent/Brady Lake was modified due to George having to ditch us early. No problem, we still got a great ride in, working on the rotating paceline thing (take a SHORT pull, then get to the back of the line. No lingering!), turning the ride into more of a social event. Sunshine will do that to you. Got about 2 hours of riding with the club, and another hour more getting to and from the Barlow Rd start. (Thanks, Julie, for keeping me company on my return trip).

I thought I'd be stuck on the trainer on Sunday, but the predicted 100% rain and falling temps didn't really pan out. Another gift from the Universe! I wasn't sure if the morning drizzle would turn into anything more interesting, so I opted to take my 'cross bike on a solo ride into the Valley. Nothing like revisiting my favorite hills in January, and the increased rolling resistance of my 'cross tires proved to be a good workout (and a chance to test-drive the Jamis over longer distances, pre-Barry Roubaix).

All told, I was able to do all my planned training hours outside, and logged about 100 miles over the weekend. And both Neil and Jamis got out for a while,  and then they both got baths, so they're pretty happy about all of this, too.