I’ve been riding a lot this year, even in this cold weather. I know that cold weather doesn’t keep “serious cyclists” from their training rides (and sometimes, cold weather just means riding the rollers or the trainer), but it keeps me from doing a lot of things. I hate the cold, and I really hate the darkness that comes with winter.
Last year at this time, in addition to hating the cold and the dark, I also hated my job. I knew that I would be job searching in the spring and I became obsessed with finding a job in a place with warmer weather. Cliff was a bit difficult to convince, but I just knew that warmer weather would make everything better.
It turns out that warmer weather was not in my future… Cliff got promoted at work, and I eventually took the job at Lake Forest College. While I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be staying in Chicago, I was excited about my new job, and hoped that would be enough to make the cold winters more bearable.
Then, along came cross season. I “raced” cross last season, which meant that I did a few races and merely hoped to finish without killing myself. I dropped out of one race because of a crash that sent me over my handlebars, but I finished every other race that I entered. But, I wasn’t riding on non-race days because it was cold and dark out. If the temps dropped below 40 degrees, there was no way in hell I was getting on my bike – and I barely got out of bed to hit the gym once or twice a week.
This year, I decided that my new goal was to finish every race, and to just not be last. I’ve continued riding even after the temps dropped below 40 degrees and I’ve found that just the act of getting on the bike each day makes the winter more bearable. Of course, warmer gear helps, too. With only one more race to go, I’ve met my goal in every race!
Over the past four days, I have ridden outside every single day, for at least two hours each day. Once cross season is over, I will more than likely hang up the bike for the winter and start hitting the gym, but I’m proud of myself for making it this far into the winter.