Recently I spent a little while during a long, lazy autumn morning trying to plan when I would pull on my kit and go for a low-intensity, get-the-legs-moving ride in Prospect Park. In the bathroom, brushing the coffee out of my teeth, I looked down at my legs and realized that as much as underemployment might give me plenty of time to ride, I'm not making the most of it. My legs are unshaven. My excuse or reason is that there is no need to keep up appearances when race season is over. The reality that struck me, however, was that I haven't done a whole lot of riding in recent weeks.
I did squeeze in a really wonderful Century a few weeks ago, out to Montauk. Al and I put our heads into the wind and ground along for five hours, then stopped for a bunch of pizza, to watch the cold wind and the waves on the abandoned dunes, then climbed on the LIRR for a lazy train ride back. Six days later I did sixty or seventy miles through the city, up toward Nyack, and then down into New Jersey for family reasons, and the fatigue in my legs suggested that I had been lazy with my recovery - I hadn't ridden between those two long rides, and my recovery is best when I'm riding almost constantly. When I'm not tiring myself but always keeping my legs going.
In order to better be able to evaluate myself and keep myself on a schedule, I put together an excel spreadsheet that will let me track my riding and make plans and changes where I need to. One of the downsides of no longer living up in the Bronx means that everything I do no longer has a twenty to thirty mile round trip associated with it. This eats into my base miles.
However, this week I'm starting part-time work on my bicycle, which will get me on the bike every day and putting in some miles. That, combined with my excel spreadsheet, should keep me moving, thoughtful, and motivated.
It's been rainy a lot in the past couple of weeks. As November starts to get dark and grey it will be harder to really want to ride, and despite the fact that I welcomed autumn with open arms this year, it won't be long before I long for those warm spring days when you take the first opportunity to dress lightly and go out for long rides under the new sun. I plan to be well-prepared for next season's racing, though, and that will require me gritting my teeth and getting the miles in throughout the winter.
We'll see how I do.