Every summer I look back on the winter and ask myself how I ever managed to slog through all those miles in the ice and snow. Well... here we are, smack dab in the ballz of Michigan winter and I seem to be tolerating it once again. I'm getting all my workouts in, and Old Joe is keeping a close eye on my progress and making sure I don't do anything stupid.
This past Sunday, I found myself riding alone up the shoulder of Orion Rd from Rochester to Lake Orion followed by that god aweful stretch up 24 to Oxford just after we got 7" of snow the night before. It was the only road clear enough to ride on. I can't imagine what people must have been thinking as they drove by. Some drivers are furious and honk in dis-belief, while I get a thumbs up and a "go Lance" from others. I often ask myself if all this slogging through the snow is necessary. Unfortunately I wasn't born with a super metabolism and I love food, so taking the winter months off isn't an option if I want to stay competitive at this level.
Besides, with the right conditions, riding in the winter can be peaceful, and even enjoyable. Must be that Finish blood in me. It does take a lot of practice though. Your bike and all your gear has to be totally dialed. The lessons can be painful, like that time I wore my camelback outisde my coat, or that other time I didn't throw in toe warmers... or worse yet, the time I didn't wear my wind proof undies!
Sure it would be nice to be riding in 70 degree temps and sunshine through a mountain valley somewhere in Spain, but there's a little bit of pride to be taken in the fact that you survived training through a Michigan winter. It makes you mentally tough. And when you find yourself in a tough race where your luck runs out and the weather isn't cooperating, you can rely on that mental toughness you built in the winter to get you to the finish line.