Motivation, it’s a touch-and-go thing this time of year. I’ve been on the trainer in the basement, eyes closed, loud metal driving me not forward. I’ve been back and forth to work in the snow and sand and salt, the leather of my snow boots caking in a white slurry not unlike seagull shit on a fishing dock.
There are flashes of what is good about cycling. The first few inches of snow in the woods, on studded tires, soft pedaling in the swaying pines. A five mile expedition in blizzard conditions, the air so thick with flakes that it was hard to breathe. Even a trainer session or two, the music so right, sweat beading on my bare shoulders.
At the same time, I find myself wanting dry trails, or roads not shrunken by snow banks. I want a few hours to spin with the sun on my face, and mostly that’s just not available right now.
The kids were on school vacation this last week, so we drove up to Vermont to do some skiing. As a New Englander, I always have low expectations for these sorts of trips. Our weather is so capricious. The likelihood of the entire family getting onto skis and pointed down a good hill can be low. But, we were blessed on this particular trip with good snow, warm temperatures and reasonable dispositions. We all skied. We all got better at skiing.
I thought a lot about riding while I was away. I didn’t so much as glance at a bike for five days, but something about the escape, the body-tiredness of skiing, and the reconnection with outdoors had me daydreaming on the way home. When we got back I had to wash a thick layer of Vermont mud off the car, and I took the opportunity to wash my bike. I researched good, new mountain bikes for my boys. I planned some theoretical summer trips with them, back north, to the woods, but this time on two wheels.
This week’s Group Ride asks, where do you find YOUR motivation this time of year? I’ve plonked down some money on an April race, back up in the Green Mountains, that I’m going to need to achieve some level of fitness for, and that helps. Do you sign up for early season races/events that force you back into the right pattern? Maybe it’s Het Nieuwsblad and Kurne-Brussels-Kurne, which go off this weekend, that get your blood simmering again.For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, just imagine coming into the last month or so of your own winter?