Sanity vs safety

It's no secret that I love getting out on my mountain bike. I've posted pictures of Nick and I in all kinds of weather - snow, rain and the dark of night. We have the clothes for every condition and plenty of toys that allow us to play. And as a mountain biker, doing my workouts on singletrack emulates the conditions of my races. There's a different style of training needed for success on singletrack and as the days get darker, its harder for me to get. Darkness falls early, often just after I get off work. I've done plenty of night time workouts and it's always fun. Pure riding, focused on the bike and the effort, not the numbers. I have to turn internal and get the feeling of what the numbers mean physically. But come winter, the darkness is joined by cold. Sometimes the cold isn't bad and it's easy to want to get outside. Other times, the cold is deep and biting. Not conditions I want to get caught out in if something happens. I have the clothes, yes. But if for some reason I can't put them on, they don't do me any good.

So safety become the priority. And that means the garage and the trainer. While workouts in the dark train me to focus internally and feel the effort at different power levels, the garage is totally different. There is nothing to distract me from the numbers staring me in the face. I've never been good at listening to music - the noise distracts me from what I'm trying to accomplish. So it's just me and the silence of the garage, the whirring of my trainer and my breathing. The cold still seeps into the garage, almost negating the need for a fan. I still have to bundle up with wool socks and knee warmers and can see my breath like a dragon. Steam rising from my arms as I pedal - doing the work in the safety of my solitary, stationary world. 

It gets the work done, but does nothing for my sanity. Even as a runner, I hated the treadmill. I was outside as much as possible - unless there was risk of injury. That need for fresh air hasn't changed even as my sports have changed. I can tolerate the sessions in the garage, knowing that I can play at some point. There will be night rides with Nick and the  Procycling shop rides. There will be adventures on the weekends - fat tires, skinny tires or fatter tires. And most of my runs in the crisp dawn air, watching the sunrise creeping up. It's those little things that provide me the sanity I relish while still maintaining focus and safety. And dreaming of summer and the reasons for the hard work right now. 

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