So the first week back after Christmas, and everything is going pretty smoothly really. It is strange being in Germany again, although I do still enjoy it. I love the fact that I can just keep myself to myself here.
For those of you who don’t live in Europe, we are currently experiencing a proper winter. The UK has had the harshest conditions for 30 years. School kids love it, as all of the schools are closed, and everyone gets to stay at home. Look at this from the BBC…. now that is amazing.
For me, being in Germany, I have not been shielded from this. The last week has been super cold, but it was only on Friday night that we had snow. About 25cm dumped overnight. I love the beauty of everything covered in snow, and really don’t know why I didn’t grab the camera (actually I do know why, it is because I only have one pair of not very waterproof shoes with me here). However, I get over the beauty of it quite quickly. The thing is, I wanted to ride my bike you see.
The new training schedule means that I would like to ride the bike 6 days out of 7. At the moment I am just trying to see how much I can manage, and then I will tailor the rest of the year to that. The snow doesn’t really help with this, so yesterday I spent a fair amount of the day in bed, followed by trying to set up an alternative.
I have a turbo trainer here. It is as old as the hills, and the flywheel has quite a number of the resistance blades missing. It was given to me by a friend who hated it, and I have to admit, I understand completely where he is coming from. The bike that I have here is my old Kona, so I hoped in the car to buy a trainer tyre. There were none available, so I just got a cheapo semi slick and threw that onto an old rear wheel that was in my garage (the wheelset from my Klein prior to converting it to discs). About an hour later I was good to go. The bike was on the trainer (sort of) and I had grabbed a film to watch, connected the computer up to the hi-fi, put the big fan on, and opened the windows completely. The air outside was about -4 degrees C, but on a static trainer, with no wind cooling you, this is a blessing.
Turbo training is torture. I just find it SO dull. I tell myself that it isn’t about the ‘now’ but about the sunny day in the summer when I may be able to hold my own riding with some of our pro riders, and the feeling that will give me. It is a mind over matter thing, and I have no idea how my friend Felix used to manage 5 – 6 hour sessions. In fairness, at the time, he was looking to land a pro contract but still.
I could do 50 minutes and no more. It is such a constant work-out though. There is no freewheeling, no downhill, no technical section…. Just mind numbing crank turning. I’ll be back to it soon I am sure.
Throughout this cold weather spell one thing impressed me. A friend of mine Andy has been Facebooking his MTB adventures. He is actually a roadie in my book and so I thought why not?
Riding in snow is hard work. The bike has a bit of a mind of its own, and it is an exercise in weight distribution as much as for your legs. It zaps power too, making everything at least 50% harder than it would normally be. The woods were far from deserted, but it wasn’t until I was riding down hill that I realised that what I had thought to be tyre tracks were in fact sled tracks. I got about 3 hours of riding in, and feel a lot better for it.
Credit to Andy. Thanks mate.