I haven't died, I still ride, and I still write. My computer did die, my tablet is on its last leg, and I don't have any internet other than on my phone, which is new.
So where has the winter gone? It feels like yesterday that I began training again in preparation for the Monaro Cloudride. The truth is, I've been in this training swing for nearly 3 months already. This winter has been very cold, very snowy, and far less than optimal for bike riding, especially for long hours. The snowmobile trails have been pretty well groomed, allowing for decent riding, but these temps have had me limited to 4-5 hours on most days. I've been getting a lot of 2-4 hour rides in after work under artificial light. Several times I've consideredgoing for over night winter bikepacking trips, but after long days in the cold on ski patrol, sleeping outside is amongst the last things that sound like fun. When the weather truly pins me inside, I spend as much time as I can tolerate on the trainer. Typically not much more than 2 hours before I go stir crazy. I've been pretty good about getting out to ride in the mornings as well, although lately most mornings have been spent on the trainer. I definitely have a few mornings each week where I just can't manage to get our of bed at 4 am to get a ride of any sort in before work.
"Winter training is finding the fine line between improvement and not killing yourself before the race season. It's like roasting a marshmallow. Light golden brown and delicious, or bursting into flame. Once you see the flames., there is no going back..."
The snow has been great, for skiing. The soft layers have been kind to my knees, although the combination of riding and skiing constantly keeps me on the edge of painful tendinitis. If I didn't have a race planned I think I would put the bike away for a while and spend more time hiking for fresh turns on skis. I'm not saying I wouldn't ride, but I would change my priority. Vermont hasn't seen temperature above freezing for already a month now, and I am certainly ready for spring.
The anticipation is rising, time is counting down quickly. For a shake down ride I have chosen to ride the Trans North Georgia Route. 350 miles, with considerable climbing. At this point I am only planning on riding it one direction, and getting a shuttle back, but a down and back is not out of the question if everything goes extremely well. After the TNGA, I come back to work for two weeks, and then move out of my apartment, and fly out to the land down under on March 30th, starting Cloudride on April 4th.
I wouldn't say I feel as good as I could, but I've stayed pedaling and fighting, against the will of old man winter. As Greg LeMan said, "It never gets easier, you just go faster." I'm not looking for easy, I just hope it's fast enough.