Impulsive I am not, but when my gf sent me a link to a bike shop in Minnesota selling a fat bike for a song, my response was “well that’s nice.”
“You should get it.”
“I just paid down my credit card!”
“This is too good a deal.”
I did what any bike person would do, and I asked Twitter. The response was swift and clear: buy the bike!
So I did. Never mind I already have, between me and my son, 6 bikes in the house. And never mind that I have never ridden a fat bike. I didn’t even know if I would like it. Who am kidding, of course I would like it!
So it arrived Friday night, mostly assembled and lighter than I expected for a bike so beefy. I attached the front wheel, the handlebars, seat, and pedals. I was in business.
I rode on both Saturday and Sunday, in snow that was about an inch thick and very soft. The bike floats and fishtails gently like a boat in the water. The work is hard in soft snow. I rode through a few crusty sections where the pedaling was easier. I can see how a fat bike could get you skinny.
Pedal selection is subjective. I tried day one on platforms, and switched to clipless day two. Despite the frustration of snow getting packed into the pedals, I prefer clipless. But in deeper conditions I could change my mind. It’s great to have the fat bike as an option to ride outside in conditions that otherwise would be a complete non starter. Definitely more fun than the trainer!
This winter I’m taking a slightly different approach to fitness. This is afforded by a change in my workplace-namely my workplace is now my home. My local office closed and my new office is 65 miles away. I go there once or twice a week (ok, once a week) and the rest of the time I’m home or in the field. This allows me just a little extra time to workout before or after work, or at lunch. No commute means and extra hour to my day. The job is much more flexible and while I’m generally available during business hours, I still have the flexibly to workout daily if I want (or at lunch if my day isn’t too heavily stacked with conference calls).
As a result, I signed up for Zwift so I can pedal indoors during the winter months. And I’ve added running on a regular basis to my week. I run 2-3 times a week, starting with low miles (2.2 per run). I’ll look to ramp up to 3 or 4 miles, but really slowly, on purpose.
As the weather allows, I plan on exploration rides, and mountain biking rides. I want gravel and dirt and broken country roads. I’ve signed up for the Muddy Onion Spring Classic in Montpelier, Vermont at the end of April. I’m excited to do that ride. The famed Rasputitsa is the week before and I have a conflict. It’s also a race, and the Muddy Onion isn’t. No crying here–I’m excited for the Onion.
But before the Onion, I signed up for a duathlon that I’ve done before, but a long time ago–The Rockbuster Off Road Duathlon in Ashland, MA. 1.8 mile trail run, 5.5 mile mountain bike, 1.8 mile trail run. That will require some training, and it’s a good event to get me to the place I need to be fitness -wise.
Overall, I’m trying to balance my workout more between cycling and running, with occasional yoga for stretching, and hiking. I’m terribly out of balance from only cycling and the running seems to help me hurt less in my hips especially when I’m sitting at a laptop all day. I love cycling but I’m already in less pain while sitting with 2 weeks of running under my belt.
While I’m happy with this slight change in approach (more off road, more running), I have become very mindful of my body starting to change as I grow just a little bit older. My personality is go-go-go but as an older athlete I really have to take the time to slow down, stretch, and on rest days, to really rest. I still plan to go hard and push on days I should, to tackle hard climbs and push my mileage limits in order to gain the fitness I’m looking for this summer, but balance it with running, adventure, and fun. Check out what I’m doing on Strava
Last Sunday I drove down to Hartford, CT to watch the pro races at the US Cyclocross National Championship. The entire week had been a “spin the wheel” of extreme weather: rain, mud, snow, frozen ruts, frozen ruts covered by snow, frozen ruts with a layer of mud covered by more snow–they really had it all. I watched Katie Compton claim her 13th national championship title, and Stephen Hyde his first. Actually I had to leave about 15 minutes before Hyde’s spectacular finish with a broken derailleur, which I’m still shaking my head over–I can’t believe I had to miss that! Anyway, I shutterbugged and socialized and had a nice time despite the frigid temperatures. Here are some of the better photos–enjoy! -Karen
2016 was a pretty great year adventure-wise: I had a ton of fun and “got away from it all” on more than one occasion. I doubt I can repeat but will try to with perhaps some variations to my normally scheduled program.
On the list for 2017:
1.) Fat Biking. Never done it, and we’ve had the snow for it. I expect we’ll be getting more since it’s only January.
2.) Dog Sledding. I wanted to do this last year but there was no snow. There’s a team that runs twice a week in Windsor, VT. I promised my son we’d do it so now it’s a matter of booking the dogs.
3.) Kingdom Trails-again. I had such fun last year I need another helping of this slice of MTB paradise.
4.) An island…..or a canyon? My mom has offered to take the family on a vacation. The problem is, she can’t decide where. Oh I know, how unfair. It’s rough. It’s between Nantucket and Montrose, Colorado. Personally I’m in favor of Nantucket because 95% of the trips I take are to the mountains and sometimes I miss the sea.
5.) At least one Mountain Bike race. Whoever is in charge of scheduling nearly every single mountain bike race in New England doesn’t want me signing up for any MTB events. This seems to be true every summer. Right now Domarski Farm lines up with one of the 26 weekends I have free a year.
6.) The JAM Grand Fundo. The full Fundo this time. I missed last year due to childcare conflicts. I don’t know when the 2017 Fundo will be but want to attend.
7.) The Muddy Onion Spring Classic. This one I’m already signed up for with Laura. It’s not the Rasputita but its still 34 miles in late April on gravel roads in VT, which means mud. I’m looking forward to it.
8.) A Dog. Wait, what?! Yeah, I want one–have for years. The last of my cats left us 3 years ago and I’m ready to grow my little family again. A change in my work has allowed me to work from home up to 4 times a week, which means I can be home for an animal.
9.) Bikepacking, V2.0. We’re doing it again! Still working out details but locations under review are Fahnestock State Park in Carmel, NY, The Adirondack Trail Ride (TATR) in Northville, NY, or potentially just a bike/camp weekend in The Kingdom.
10.) Mystery Getaway. I have a vacation yet-to-be planned and I have no honest idea of what or where that will be. It’s been determined that Hawaii is on tap for 2018 so I need to save for that and be a bit leaner this year. I have time–it’s only January! I’ll figure it out…
11.) 3 more OCR Races. I’m already signed up.
12.) Cyclocross! I’m adopting a wait and see attitude about the 2017 season. I may back off a bit from CX and get a few weekends back to do other things. Of course when September comes I’ll be chomping at the bit again so who knows. I’ll stop when I’m dead.
And hiking, and camping, and so on, and so on…..
What’s your 2017 plan?