On Sunday mornings throughout the Winter I'll be riding my Mtn Bike for 2-3 hrs. If I had a cross bike (which I don't) I'd be riding that too. For me, it's just too cold to be riding my road bike at 20+ mph on the road. Plus, the nasty/sloppy road conditions of the Winter make it more sensible to be off-road- at least I think so. Normally, I drive down to the Delaware River in my car (btwn 9-10 a.m.) and park near the Black Bass Inn adjacent to the walking bridge to Bulls Island. From there, I either ride my Mtn bike on the PA or NJ side. I try to mix it up so I don't ride the same route more than once a month. The ride consists of intervals on the canal path along with at least three climbs (on the roads) in the hills surrounding the canal. Last week, for example, I rode down the NJ side of the canal towards Frenchtown and latched onto three cyclo cross riders. I rode at least Threshold pace for 10 minutes catching up to the group who had no clue I was in hot pursuit. (It was fun) Once I caught on, I drafted behind the cross riders for at least 10 minutes while chatting with them a bit. From there, my first climb was Tumble Idell Rd off of Watson Rd. For those of you that never climbed Tumble Idell Rd, it's a dirt/gravel road that has about a 10% average grade hill, with a max grade of about 16%. I ride that to the intersection of Hill Rd, which is about a mile long climb. From there, I turn around and head back down to the canal. Once back on the canal, I head back towards Bulls Island for my 2nd climb- Stumpf Tavern Rd. Stumpf Tavern Rd is not as steep as Tumble Idell but averages about an 8% grade hill for about a mile. Once at the top, I turn around and head back to the canal. The last climb is Quarry Rd Hill, at Bulls Island, which is only about an 6% grade hill. Although, after doing the other two climbs, it feels like it's an 8-10% grade hill. Quarry Rd. Hill is a lot shorter. Once at the top of Quarry Hill Rd. I head back to the canal for some more intervals. Depending upon how I feel determines how much longer I go, but I normally try to ride for at least 2-3 hours total. It's a great workout.
If you're interested in joining me..email me: firstname.lastname@example.org Most of you that know me know that I only have Cat 4 power- if that right now. So, if you're a Cat 3 or lower you can still join me and get a great workout in. That's because when I ride with stronger riders, which I almost always do, I either draft behind them and/or tell them to go ahead of me on the hills. I also tell the stronger riders to go longer than I do on the canal path. I usually meet back up with them at some point- always finishing together. I don't believe that stronger riders should have to sit back and wait for my slow a$$- just ride.
The ride is a Tempo ride for the most part because I really don't believe in going hard so early in the Training Season. The main goal/purpose of the ride is to get a longer endurance ride in that I'm not able to get in during the week on the trainer. When I hit the hills, however, I'm definitely at Threshold pace..sometimes VO2max before I convince myself that it's too much too soon..so I back it down. I think it would be cool to get a group ride going EVERY Sunday morning whether I'm there or not. I'll try to be, but sometimes I'm out of town. The ride, this time of year, is more social and just an excuse to get outside and ride longer. Sometimes I stop at one of the local cafe's for a small latte and cookie (for re-fueling). I don't like to stop longer than 10 minutes because I don't want to cool down too much otherwise it's too cold starting back up.
Just a heads-up, I'm always on my Mountain Bike when I ride in December and January. As I said earlier, I don't really like riding my road bike outside during the Winter months. I get enough interval workouts on my road bike during the week inside on my trainer. So, if you show up on your road bike I probably won't see you until the end of the ride because as you may well know- road bikes are much faster than a Mtn. bike. In fact, Cyclo-Cross bikes are much faster than my Mtn. bike. So, even if you only have Cat 5 power and you show up with a road bike..you'll ride away from me. I don't start riding my road bike on the roads again until February. That's when my road bike rides are specifically geared towards riding hills and developing power in my legs. February is also the time of year when I take a vacation to Las Vegas for a week and ride the hills of Red Rock Canyon. I find that riding the hills in February really prepares me well for Spring road riding/racing. Hey, if anyone is interested in joining me on that trip..send me an email. I usually ride in the mornings at Red Rock Canyon, then spend the afternoon and evenings with my wife (who doesn't ride) shopping, dining, seeing a show or whatever. Last year the temps were in the high 60s low 70s in Vegas (in February) and riding was awesome. Hotels are cheap in Vegas right now. i.e. $49/night.
Also, this Winter I'll be taking my Mtn Bike and X-Country skis up to the poconos (if there is snow on the ground) to get a workout in on both. For those Sundays, I'll be leaving Doylestown at 0700 and returning around 2 pm. You are more than welcome to join me. I already have a couple of riders that are interested in Mtn Bike riding and X-Country skiing. It will be fun. Plus, you'll be back in time to catch the end of any football game or do any chore around the house that needs attention.
Lastly, I'm considering taking a trip up to Blue Mountain once a week (mid-week) during the Winter for some nightime (under the lights) X-Country Skiing. That is, when I'm in town and not on business travel. I don't intend on buying a lift ticket just skiing the mountain and climbing back up. I can't see why I'd have to buy a lift ticket if I'm not using the lift. I don't know what the ski resort policy is, they may make me buy a lift ticket anyway saying that it's a greens-fee of sorts and pays for the lights and insurance. I guess we'll see. I use to downhill race at Blue Mountain (once a week) years ago and always had a great time- particularly at the bar for a beer or two after a hard night skiing.
Power ON! Coach Rob