Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Friday, December 30, 2011

A winter ride in the hills

Winter time in our valley can be such a demoralizing place to be for cyclists. It's cold, often wet and icy and the days are much shorter. This makes it much harder to actually get a ride in outdoors. So, when nice days come around I try to take every opportunity to get outside. Such was the case on December 23. The temperatures were hovering around 30 degrees but there was no wind or snow in the forecast and the sun was blazing in the sky. The county road department had laid de-icer on the main roads so I wasn't very keen on taking a road bike out. The better option ended up being the 1993 Scott Comp Racing mountain bike. The ride ended up being short in distance (roughly 11 miles) but exhilirating from the a beauty, nature perspective.

The roads were frozen and the gravel not so prominent as vehicle had pushed them into the dirt when the ground was wet. The Department of Natural Resources has been up there clearing brush, etc. from the road edges so there are some small branches to avoid in the name of spoke safety. It was disheartening to see this work as the trees had branches just broken off the trunk and it opened up some corners that had made the ride so much more fun because you couldn't see very far in front of you. For a cyclists that can be great but I guess for cars, trucks and equipments it's more dangerous.

The ride was fabulous - I heated up too much on the way out (up) and had to take off a layer of clothss. But, on the way back out (down hills) it got much colder so that layer had to go back on. There was a stretch of snowy roadway - about 1/2 mile long and about 2 inches deep of hardpack snow) - but that wasn't hard to navigate. So, keep an eye on the weather and don't forget the mountain bike as an option in the winter.

Gotta have goals

I've written several times in the past about the value of goals and planning your cycling year. I was talking to another local rider in October and asked how the year went. He replied that it wasn't as good as the year before because he really didn't have any goals (i.e. rides) that he had planned for and done. In 2010 he had done some racing in the summer in Seattle and worked hard for some rides he did in California.

I was in somewhat of the same position in that my training the prior two years had focused on a hill climb ride in June and then a goal to ride the Manastash Metric Century in October as fast as I could. Those two goals kept my training focused and on track (even without power meters, heart rate monitors, etc.). At my age I don't really have a need for those things and have even started riding without a bike computer. It's worked for me even though I know "official training" methods could make a difference. In 2011 I focused on the 24 hr Round and Round mountain bike race in Spokane and nothing else. I found that not having that additional goal in October really affected my training in that I wasn't riding as hard as the year before.

We're now at the end of 2011 and it's the perfect time to set your goals - both short and long term - for 2012. Pick a ride or two to do and train specifically for it. Focus your training on whatever that ride is and then picture yourself being successful when your not riding and just in a relaxed state. Those two things will make you a better rider.