Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I was finding it interesting how quickly the body can adjust to temperature changes. Not just slow ramp ups but major changes. Last night while riding in the cold and dark, that's what most of my riding will be for the next month if I want to avoid the trainer, I thought wow I'm really warm. Almost to warm. Now it was just above the freezing mark during my ride and I was more than comfortable for the 1.5 hours.

Now I think back to a couple weeks ago for that night cross race at Hardwood where at one point I could barely feel my fingers and that was only a 30 minute race. I was wearing about the same amount of clothing and I was actually working harder at a slower speed being on dirt and grass while riding at intensity. Normally much easier to stay warm. So what changed? Nothing except for the fact that it has been cold for the last few days in the evenings and I've been out in it.

On the reverse side of the thermostat I look at how hard I blew up at Mountainview Ontario Cup race when the heat went through the roof in the course of the day, I popped hard, less than a week later in the same conditions I rode to the win at the 9 hour feeling amazing. A couple days in the heat and the body adjusted. Many years ago in my former ski instructor days I remember being out in minus 30 and being fine all day by mid season but yet those first few days of the season it was almost impossible to keep the fingers and toes warm.

So obviously my body adjusts well to the changes but I wonder about other people. You know the ones that say" I hate the winter" or the ones with "the heat kills me" Is it that they don't try to adjust or is it that there body can't adjust as well? I guess this is part of the reason that I ride in shit conditions instead of opting to the trainer. I got a message from a friend involving having a hard time making himself go out in the rain and cold. Mentally he just didn't want to be out in it. Yep, it sucks being out there but it's still better than the trainer. The other thing is you may have to race in unfavourable conditions. This season has been completely crap for cold, rainy, conditions or extreme heat. I don't think there were to many races that weather was what it "Should be!"

So what is more important, training the body to be strong and in peak or training the mind to be ready to deal with the worst conditions? In most cases it's harder to do a controlled workout while being out in the most unfavourable conditions but yet the mind is getting ready to be completely miserable but yet on the trainer with wattage or heart rate you cant be very precise with intervals and be as strong as possible. It's a hard debate because both are at the top of the scale of importance.

What am I going to do? For this winter season my plan is to do as much of my endurance rides outside as possible and all my high end intervals on the puke machine. I think this will give me the biggest benefit. Ok now the truth, I want to do everything I can do avoid 3 and 4 hour rides on the trainer, it's boring even with movies etc. I also want to take advantage of the wattage trainer and push my legs as hard as I can. 3-5 minute intervals are bang on consistent when i set a wattage on that stupid machine where out on the road there are slight ups and downs on the road that will give my legs a break during those longer intervals.

I'm hoping that we don't have a repeat of the 2009 weather next season but at least I will be as prepared as I can be going into it. It would be nice to not spend longer cleaning the bike than it does to do the race that makes the mess (o-cups) and hopefully the endurance season brings only rainbows and butterflies with trails made of chocolate.

Time to work.

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