It’s that time of year: office potlucks, white elephant/Dirty Santa exchanges, mall traffic, Christmas stress…y’know, fun!
It’s also the Ragnarok season of Five O’Clock Dark. This very morning the reality of it finally settled upon my tired shoulders. There is no time. No time to ride, no time to escape the rat race. Dreary.
I’m off work today. Bean asked me a few days ago if we could do some trail work over the break. I’ll have to make a plan for a decent weather day, but that’s definitely on the table. And some riding is in order. Not only is it Ragnarok, but it is (in Kentucky at least) the Season of Mud. Most of winter our temps hover above freezing but we get enough precipitation and not enough sun to dry out the top layer of soil. The dog creatures track it in. We track it in. Trails are coated with it. Mud.
It’s not all S.A.D. though. Despite my recent feverish week off from being sick I actually feel pretty good these days. My back feels amazing. For the first time literally in years I don’t feel the chronic tight, painful pinching in my right side lower back. And my knees feel the best they’ve felt in almost as long.
What’s my secret? Mandy and I bought a new bedroom suit including a new mattress. It’s helped that I got rid of the thirteen year old Honda Civic back in the summer. My current SOV has better seats and my back has been happier since I made the switch. But the new mattress has really made the difference.
Of course now that I feel better I have less time to exercise and recreate. I’m definitely not in top form for riding or running. I seriously lagged behind the group at the Gravel at the Gorge ride.
The opportunity I have right now is to start fresh with a healthy body. If I take care of myself, eat better, resist overuse, allow myself to recover after hard activities, then there should be no reason for me not to get back on top of my game and maybe even exceed the fitness levels I’ve enjoyed in the past. It’s time. I’ve wasted so many years on stupid behaviors and poor diet. I moan all the time about wanting to rock climb again, to be a stronger cyclist, to be a better runner, etc., etc.
I also don’t want to be the fat slob who organizes a bike race in order to hang onto my glory years. I want to be the kind of rider who can race my race. Maybe not win, but at least hang with the big boys and girls.
Oh, did I mention I’m going to need to ride the course to test it? And I want to do the Backcountry Byway in a single day. That’s going to take an increase in my fitness levels. I also want to at least do the 100k version of the Mohican this year. Maybe the hundred mile if I can get my butt in gear.
I hate these posts where I pontificate and speculate on what I will be doing in the coming months. I much rather to simply report on my everyday adventures. I’ve tried to get away from this kind of post, but as we near the end of the year I feel the urge to plan and to make promises that will be hard for me to keep.
I’d decided a long time ago that I will return to accounting and reporting on my monthly cycling mileage in 2017. I’ve not kept up with my mileage totals since 2013. After my last Leadville race I decided trying to keep up with it was just depressing. But I realized a few months ago that not keeping up with my mileage dulls my motivation to ride more. I need goals and aspirations. And yeah, maybe my numbers won’t be as impressive because I’m not a full-time bike commuter anymore, but I need to hold myself accountable and provide some kind of template for inspiration in my life. I’m not doing as many events anymore so there are fewer goals to shoot for. And the events I am involved in are more as a participant than as a performer. Heck, I couldn’t even place in the fat guy category at the Bluegrass State Games mountain bike race last summer. I need to up my game.
I may take a little time off next week from writing. Or at least public bloggular writing. But after the first of the year I’m going to try to nail down my format. It won’t be a drastic change. I’ve typically been reporting on Monday of the weekend’s adventures and trying to fling out a Ramming Speed Friday that expounds on the weeks observations about adventuring and life in general. I’ll keep this pattern, maybe try to do a more regular hump day post as well, but I fully intend to post up at the end of the month my mileage totals for road cycling, mountain biking, and running. I may toss in my progress on health and weight management, but I don’t have a solid plan yet for how I’m going to tackle that in 2017. But things must change. I can’t keep eating like a teenager at 43 years old.
So until we meet here again in this back alley of the internet: