Back in the early ’90s I ran across a catalog for a Utah operation called Sierra Trading Post. It was the very first mail-order retailer I had run across selling closeout products from high-end outdoor manufacturers. The market has changed a great deal since then, with a great many new retailers entering the market and the paper catalogs giving way to Internet sites.
However one thing remains constant: Everyone loves closeout pricing.
New sites have proliferated at a rate roughly equal to political sex scandals. Of those, the site formerly known as Backcountry.com has relaunched as a site with more broad-based appeal, hence the name Department of Goods.
Nevermind the fact that in five years the logo is going to look more dated than an episode of the Brady Bunch, the relaunched site not only has great brands (Time, De Rosa Santa Cruz, Patagonia, North Face and Salomon, among others) but has products from these companies that you have likely lusted after. One of the issues I had with Sierra Trading Post back in the day was the fact that if they had my size, it was a color I didn’t want, or vice versa.
With the economy hitting incomes and more, rather than review another premium product that you may or may no accept at its given price point, when I ran across the Department of Goods I thought a heads-up might be in order.
The site is easy to navigate and the discounts real. Most stuff is at least 30 percent off, but deals of 45 percent off or more are there. I’m a big believer in brick-and-mortar retailers, but I’m a bigger believer in spending responsibly so you can afford your lifestyle.
Time is to a cyclist what bricks are to a mason. It is both the forest and the trees. We slice it by the season, the day, the hour, the effort. Because the lengths of rides can vary so much, it’s not enough to acknowledge the number of days we ride in a week. Six days of one-hour rides bears little in common with five days of three-hour rides.
Time is the barometer all bodies can read. No matter what you’re counting—how long the effort, the number of days since your last ride—your body knows the truth like no yardstick can. So it should be no surprise that we can use time to couch our aspirations as well.
Because fatigue accumulates in the legs like interest on a credit card with a balance, we must plan our riding if we hope to get more than about eight or 10 hours of training per week. And that seems to be the dividing point for this week’s FGR. Most of you who responded are simply trying fit the rides in, however, whenever, wherever possible.
While it sounds like few of you are getting as many miles as you’d like, most of you seem to have made peace with the many requirements of your lives—careers, children, marriage, some priorities are just that, priorities. More than a few of you are getting the bulk of your miles either on a trainer or by commuting.
A surprising number of you are riding four to six days per week. That fact speaks to the mindset of a cyclist. Each new day is another chance to ride, seized or not.
Unfortunately, very few of you who responded are getting more than a dozen hours of training per week. I suspect there are more of you who do, but I also suspect you’re too tired to write much.
For my part, following a dismal year last year marked by a wrecked neck, the addition of a bowling ball to my midsection and a 50 percent increase to my home’s population, I’ve managed to carve out a shelf in my crowded commitments just for training. My mileage is up, the highest it’s been in some years, and I’ll be ready for each of this season’s rendezvous. It’s not always easy to keep up the effort, but my riding feeds my writing, and without it, I’m not worth much as a blogger or a freelancer.
The revelation in the comments was how little spring has influenced your riding. It’s as if the change in seasons has yet to be recorded. And for those of you who ride trainers or at the edges of the day, the warmth the spring sun brings has yet to pay you any dividends. Here’s to hoping that as summer approaches you are afforded the opportunity to ride in the heat of the day, and to spend more of your days turning pedals just for the sake of it.
Gus_C summed it up best when he said, “I do what I like, kid’s healthy, wife is pretty and bike is delish.”
Does it really get better than that?
By almost any ordinary definition the season is spring. The Spring Classics have begun. Spring training is on the minds of cyclists and baseball fans alike. Some schools are on Spring Break. Snow has stopped falling in most states and most European countries.
Not that it’s necessarily warm, mind you, but the weather is cooperative enough in theory to allow most cyclists to train. Now’s the time when many cyclists are trying to build or complete their base miles for the season.
You’ve been at this a long time and know that there’s more to logging base miles than just decent weather. Work, children, better halves, any of these can derail a three-hour ride faster than instant coffee.
That said, we know your heart. We know you want to be out there. So tell us, just how cooperative has your life been? How many hours a week have you been able to train on average?
Image: John Pierce, Photosport International