Friday Group Ride #350

Friday Group Ride #350

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?

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  1. Stephen Barner

    I ride year-round, in Vermont, no less, and what really motivates me are those rare days when I can ditch the bike with studded tires and ride any kind of regular road bike. Inztead of slogging along with the patter of the Nokian tires’ studs flailing against asphalt, I feel like I’m flying when I can hit 20 mph on the flats.

    My biggest motivation is preparing for a double-century that we organize every year and which happens the weekend closest to the summer solstice. It is named the 100/200, or 200 on 100, depending on who you ask, and runs down the middle of the state, from Canada to Mass., on Vermont Rte. 100. This year will be the 18th time I’ve ridden it, and I’ve learned that the key aspects to enjoying the whole ride are pacing and preparation, and the best preparation is to be had going on long rides, early in the year.

  2. David Arnold

    This time of year it’s the Flemish opening races for sure that motivates me. Knowing that here in the Portland Oregon area race season is in a few weeks. I spent almost 5 yrs living and racing in Belgium during the 1980s as an Elite w/o contract, so I know the electricity that this weekend produces.

  3. Kayce


    I am a cyclist. Its what I do. No matter what I am riding 50 miles a week to work. And on my days off I get bored with other things so I have to ride.

  4. TomInAlbany

    I ride for fitness and fun. I consider trainers and spin classes torture most of the time. Like you, though, the right song can put me in a zone where I close my eyes and imagine I’m climbing a mountain or trying to escape a peloton.

    I did pay attention, sort of, to Omloop and KBK. That’s just the sports fan in me though. I’m also paying attention to the Red Sox in spring training and if the Celtics and Bruins can make a decent playoff push – doubt that.

    I haven’t skied yet this year. Shame on me. And the weather late last week and the schedule coming into March conspires against me…

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