Getting Ready for Cooler Weather

trainer

Cycling seems to have taken over most of my hobbies this past summer. While I have done other hobby things, I have put more passion, time and energy into cycling. My strength and stamina are definitely way up. Sadly, my weight has not improved. This is because I have not been able to break up with pizza. Diet is crucial….but that is a blog for another day (and a different site–see here)

Autumn is here and winter is coming. Traditionally, owing to wonderfully frigid temperatures, around here people tend to hibernate more.   For a hobbyist this means getting into indoor pursuits. I can look forward to more time with the models, more time with the trains, more time watching hockey…..

While all of this sounds wonderful, it sounds as if all the gains I made in stamina and energy might go to waste. It is with that in mind that I contemplate spending a big chunk (perhaps the whole chunk) of my hobby budget on a cycling trainer. I am not talking about your average stationary bike. I am talking about using my road bike as my exercise bike for the winter.

The advantages

  • I will use the muscles that I have to use when riding on road courses–unlike a stationary bike, which is great for fitness but isn’t really my bike and won’t work exactly the same muscles.
  • I will better simulate my cycling because I will be wearing my cycling shoes and practice full pedal strokes.
  • The trainer itself will take up much less room that a stationary bike does during the summer when I am not using it. (or using it less)
  • On rainy days, if I elect not go out for a ride, I can still use the trainer.
  • There seem to be quite a few apps that work in conjunction with this–not that I have a smart phone, but ……someday. Either that, or I will set up a tablet.
  • Riding the same saddle all winter should make it less of an adjustment when I get out riding again.

The disadvantages

  • While there are cheaper options the one I have pretty much decided on is a significant amount of money.
  • If I am lazy, it will not have been money well spent. I love going out for the group rides, but I am unsure if I can push myself to workout alone. If I don’t use the machine, it will definitely make me feel guilty as I watch TV and gorge on pizza.
  • I will have to invest in a “training tire” as these machines will definitely put substantial wear on my rear tire.

While nothing has been decided, this is definitely where my head is at right now.  I guess another option is to bike all winter.  This sounds rather hard to me, but one of my favourite bloggers does just that.  If that sounds interesting (or mildly insane), take a look at her blog.

Car Dreams

It may sound corny, but one of the things I want to in my life is build a Cobra replica car.  Knowing my track record with such projects, I should just work hard, save my money (maybe win the lottery) and just buy the thing.  The project would probably take too long and too much space in the garage…. but I just can’t let go of the idea.

Why the Cobra?  That and the 1967 Mustang are my two favourite cars.  It probably isn’t a coincidence that Carol Shelby had a hand in both of those cars.  They are both beautiful cars.  It also isn’t a coincidence that neither of these cars is suited for Canadian weather.  If I had them (and could afford the insurance) they would both be summer cars.  That would mean having them and my winter car….and people say money isn’t a solution.

I came close to buying the 67 mustang once.  I went to look at it with the hopes of purchasing it, but the owner, despite making the appointment, didn’t stick around to show it to me, or even talk to me.  I guess he didn’t like the cadence of my voice over the phone.  Luckily the car was parked outside his house (not a great option in winter in Canada).  His neighbour talked to me about it, but he didn’t give me the hard sell and I was able to leave with my money in my pocket.  Realistically, it wouldn’t have been a good purchase.  I was in the middle of my studies and within a 16 months would be off to Japan.  I didn’t know that at the time, but it is funny how fate works out.

I have never been close to that car again, but I still think about it.  I have seen them build those cars on various TV shows, and every time I have been a little envious.  I really need my own TV show.  They could let me build my dream car and document my mistakes (and probable injuries) for everyone to see….. I had better start working on my pitch.

In England, there is a car company called Caterham, which allows you to build one of those funky roadsters you see in British TV shows from time to time.  It comes as a kit and you assemble it.  It sounds like a dream, except that I watched those guys from BBC’s Top Gear get fed up and argue constantly about it.  They said that you might get satisfaction out of building it, but everyone else around you would go completely bonkers.  Of course, according to the video you can buy it assembled for an extra 2000 British pounds.  I am not sure what would be best.

Winter seems to have started early this year (there is snow on the ground), so I guess I had better put off the idea until spring…or I could just let it nag away at me all winter.  Such is the life of a dedicated hobbyist.

A Day on the Mountain

There is something to be said about spending a day skiing.  There is also something to be said about spending a day anywhere but work.  I guess you could think about that in many ways, and probably suggest warmer alternatives, like spending a day at the beach or something like that.

True.

I like both options, but I live in Canada, and January is simply not beach weather.  If I want to go to the beach, one day off is not going to be sufficient.  I would need to take a week (of course, going to the Rockies to ski would also take a week…..hmmm)

Skiing is a pretty good adrenaline rush.  Careening down hill, sometimes in control, sometimes not, is pretty thrilling.  A double black diamond run can really get the heart pumping.  And the windburn you get on your face roughly approximates a tan.

I can’t lie to my readers (well I could, but what would be the point) I am not a great skier.  I am an intermediate skier with less of a death wish than most people on the mountain.  Sometimes I am cautious, sometimes I am reckless.  I guess it all depends.

I am a skier, not a snowboarder.  That is just a clarification, not a snobby declaration.  Snowboarding looks pretty cool, and I wish I could do it, but I am worried about being too old to learn it.  A good snowboarder seems very graceful, carving turns with ease, riding the mountain like it’s a wave on the ocean.  Of course a bad snowboarder is just one more obstacle in my way, and an unpredictable one at that.

I might whine about having to shovel snow, but without snow there would be no skiing.  And if there were no snow, I couldn’t take a midweek break to go skiing.