Friday Group Ride #342

Friday Group Ride #342

I said yes, because it’s easy to say yes to things that are happening in the future. Will I be there? Yes, absolutely. That sounds fun. The problem is that I don’t actually have a good sense of when future events are going to happen, nor do I do a good job of imagining the other things I might be committed to at a later date.

As it turns out, I have a lot of complications, one is nine-years-old, one is eleven-years-old, and the other wears a ring that says she comes before the bike on any day she chooses. I am, despite the phrasing, entirely good with this.

As an example of this whole scenario, I have agreed to ride Rasputitsa in April 2017. This is a 40+ mile bad road race in Northern Vermont, which doesn’t sound particularly daunting if you haven’t been in Northern Vermont in April before. Last year, there were long hike-a-bike sections where even fat bikes were unrideable due to snow-clogged dirt roads. Rasputitsa is less a race than a survival event. 40+ miles isn’t much, until you’re moving at 4 miles an hour, and it’s cold.

None of that is the point though. The point is that life happens in April. My kids have a school vacation, and even if I’ve managed to register for a race on a non-vacation weekend, there will be sporting events. Spring soccer will be in full effect, and I coach two teams. Practices will have begun and eaten into any available “training” time. The net effect is that I will almost certainly arrive in Norther Vermont with not enough miles in my legs, with not enough free brain space to properly prepare and pack, with not enough remaining enthusiasm to be really excited.

But I’ll ride anyway, cause that’s what you do. And I’ll have fun. Because bikes.

That brings me to the upcoming “holiday” period, which is invariably dotted with riding challenges such as Rapha’s Festive 500 and others. Every year I want to do one of these. Every year I get sucked into driving back and forth to hockey tournaments. What should be, in my mind, a “holiday,” gets packed with committments, so that we, as a family, don’t actually get a minute to sit on the couch together, and dad certainly doesn’t have hours to tune up his wintertime fitness. Again, this is all as it should be, or at least as it is, so I accept it and show up and my best. That doesn’t prevent me harboring some small, smouldering hope that my ass will meet saddle leather at least once between Christmas and New Year.

This week’s Group Ride asks, what are your holiday plans? Do you take on any of the big challenges, or are you off the bike now, bellied up to the kitchen table, going to fat and worrying what reentry will look like in the Spring?

Image: Matt O’Keefe

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  1. Ian

    Pot meet kettle. When I see the road this holiday season or into the early spring, it will be on four wheels portaging between indoor soccer games (i also coach two teams with player/sons) or spending quality time with the ring bearer. As it should be, but hope abounds for riding.

  2. Michael

    I hope to get in some rides between snow storms, nothing more than a couple hours realistically. I love riding in the cold! If all works out, we might go down to the Transition Zone in AZ, down at maybe 3500′ elevation, where we can do some bike-packing. Never tried it, but holiday gifts seem to be setting me up with the bags!

  3. 32x20

    I’m in a similar situation, except we’re carting the new baby around to various families. It’s good to see everybody, but the Festive 500 sure isn’t happening. I have faint memories of what it was like to be fit and fast, but a baby and a spouse who works 50-60 hours a week don’t leave much time for riding. Things should settle out (some) in a year, so maybe next year’s holidays will have some ride time included.

  4. Andrew

    I’m kind of taking a mental health break from the bike a bit this holiday season. Riding indoors some, nothing terribly serious, lifting fairly often. But mostly hiking/snowshoeing the dogs, keeping active without worrying about having to get in a ride. I’ll probably get serious again the beginning of February or something, probably do the indoor Tour of Sufferlandria to kickstart things.

  5. Jeff

    I work in manufacturing, and the week between Christmas and New Year is end of month, end of quarter, end of year. BUILD IT AND SHIP IT. So I never take off…but this year I finally managed to make it happen. I’ve got my sights on the Rapha 500, as I need some base miles and road season in Texas starts in late January. Oof.

  6. Winky

    Dislocated my shoulder on some black ice a few weeks back. Off the bike for now, but hopeful of getting some skiing in with the family in a couple of weeks. Back to riding in January, hopefully.

  7. Alan

    Tomorrow, Four Seasons of Horsetooth self timed mountain bike TT. 20 miles at less than 20F with new snow on the menu for the Winter stage.

  8. TomInAlbany

    I’m psyched for an actual winter! Last winter was a dud. We were in shorts and tshirts on Christmas eve and it took until February of ’16 to get the snow totals we’ve been able to accumulate this year in Albany, NY – and this year is no great shakes, yet.

    I like the change of season so that I can do different things. During the holiday, I’ll take the entire week off and hang with the family and try to convince them to go skiing at least one day during the break. Wish me luck!

    As for the bike, I’ve kind of forgotten about it. We’re on a break.

  9. Ric

    I normally ride pretty regularly thru the holidays but this year I am nursing a tweaked back suffered in a ‘cross race. Have not been on the bike since Thanksgiving and I am ok with that, Sort of. Starting to get a little anxious.

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