Friday, January 14, 2011

The buried winter

Every mile is two in winter. - George Herbert (1593-1633) Jacula Prudentum

Ray's Weather has officially buried their mild winter forecast having realized that we are experiencing one of the coldest winters in quite a while.  Their previous seasonal forecast said we would have a very mild winter with no snow and warmer than average temperatures.  As I write this, it is 14 degrees celsius, the roads still have patches of ice on them from last Sunday's snowfall, students have been out of school all week and are on a 3 hour delay today.  So much for a mild winter.  It is little comfort to have your hopes dashed and then receive an apology for having them built up in the first place.  But such is the nature of weather forecasting.  Despite our best, most advanced attempts at quantifying data and observation into prediction, Nature just does not neatly fit into a data table and behave as it should.

Winter for a cyclist can be a grim and lonely affair.  The warm group rides of spring and summer are like hazy mirages seen in the distance.  When group rides do occur, they provide relief from the loneliness of riding the trainer, locked up with your thoughts on a solitary hamster wheel in your basement, but the quest to remain warm, to keep blood flowing through your extremities can put a damper on the camaraderie of the group.  

Few cyclists are solitary creatures.  Sure, there are the time trial specialists who prefer to suffer alone in the quest for perfection in the balance of power and aerodynamics and there are the triathletes whose complex multisport workouts don't lend themselves to more than a training partner or two at best.  For most of us though, cycling is as much social interaction as it is athleticism.  The bonding ritual of shared effort that comes from group rides is of great importance to all but the most elite cyclist.

This is what is missed most by me in the winter.  Seeing friends.  Riding with friends.  Meeting new people out on the bike.  Having new people come visit the shop and ride with us. So how do we capture the magic of the balmier times while suffering through the bitter doldrums of winter?  Rather than putting off riding until it is warm, or grinding away on the dreaded trainer in solitary penance for your misdeeds, the answer is to ride indoors together.  

In our ongoing effort to eradicate SCAD (Seasonal Cyclist Affective Disorder) from the world, we will be holding group trainer classes beginning Wednesday, Jan. 26th and then every Tuesday/Thursday after that.  Classes will be from 6:15 to 7:30 (please try to arrive by 6:00). Classes will be $10 per session or 8 classes for $60 paid in advance.  These will be structured workouts featuring loud music, lots of motivational yelling and anything else that can be done to help you through this bleakest of winters.  You will need to bring your trainer/rollers (we have a couple of loaners), a towel and water.  We need to have 5 people prepaid by Monday, January 24th in order for the class to take place.  No matter what level of cyclist you are or hope to be, a solid winter base will help you achieve your riding goals for the coming season.           
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