Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winter Ride

It always boggled my mind when I read any cycling book, magazine, web article, etc. on Periodization of Training that said that this is the time of year to build a base for the upcoming season. And, that base building should include lots of endurance time/miles on the bike spent at low intensity. Why does it boggle my mind? Because unless you live in FLA, TX or Sunny California...Southeast PA (in Nov-Dec) is NOT where you want to ride outdoors on the road for 2-4 hrs. at a time. It's cold/wet/icy/salty/windy/low-light/etc. And, the last thing I'm going to do is hop on my indoor trainer for anything more than an hour.
But, you don't have to stay in this Winter and ride on your trainer or on the road when you can ride "off-road" outside in the fresh-air. Just dust off an old bike, put some knobby tires on it and head for a place like the canal path between Stockton and Frenchtown, NJ. I'll tell you why I like it:

a. it's slow (averaging 12-15 mph), therefore it's really not that cold.
b. you get a good workout when it's windy and when the temps are in the 40s because the ground is soft/wet and increases your rolling resistance.
c. you're off the road and don't have to worry about: traffic, salt corroding your bike, stopping for stop lights/stop sigan, dark, etc.
d. it's a good endurance ride from Stockton to Frenchtown, non-stop, just what you want for base building Winter season training.
e. you get to stop at Frenchtown and/or Stockton and have a latte/coffee and a cookie/muffin, etc.
f. safe- always somebody on the path walking, riding, running, etc.
g. can do a group or solo ride at night with a light if you want.
h. rather do two hours outside than 2 hours on a trainer.
i. get some fresh air.
j. scenery is better.

So, next time you dread getting on your trainer and riding inside this Winter for a couple hours..grab your hybrid or mountain bike and head to a place like the canal path instead...the most important thing I didn't mention (above) is ... it's fun!

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