It’s that time of year again: thermal vests, woolly hats, gloves and scarves – and that’s just for indoors! But do you welcome the change in seasons or hanker longingly for summer the instant that the clocks change?!
Mud: It’s time to bring out the trail running shoes and lube up the mountain bike. With sub optimal weather a perpetual threat it’s great to have some motivation to get outside – even when it’s manky! I don’t mind getting dirty (and moderately chilly) when I’m cruising the tracks, trails, mountains, forests and hills. With the off-season in full swing, training becomes less about speed, distance and time and more about puddle-jumping before succumbing to inevitable soggy feet; measuring the success of a mountain bike ride by avoiding near-death situations and remembering to put the central heating on “timed” before leaving the house.
Woman Cave: Whilst winter training is generally more relaxed, there are times when the numbers count. For those times I have me a “woman cave”: the converted (in a “Honey-I-ruined-the-house-type-fashion) garage/gym. In one half there’s a veritable mix of power tools, garden furniture, bikes, bits for (and of) bike and innumerable unidentifiable items that appear to have no discernible purpose. This side of the garage stereotypically belongs to my husband! The other side of the garage is the winter survival zone where I spend the majority of my time! It is equipped with a treadmill, computrainer, cross trainer and sound system. Best of all, it just gets the wifi signal from the house. Cue endless hours of vacuous TV watching to relieve the boredom of indoor training.
Playing “Catch-Up”: It’s time to have a social life. This is the time of year when I beg forgiveness from my friends and family who have been disgracefully abandoned during the racing season. It’s time to enjoy the odd glass (or bottle) of vino (sparkling please) and some traditional stick-to-yer bones stodgy winter food. I’ll have the odd night oot – this weekend it’s a trip to the velodrome to catch a glimpse of some bulging, lycra clad muscles!
Mud: At best my mountain biking skills are “challenged”. Mix some common muck into the equation and it’s a sure recipe for ending up bathing in the stuff. My skin is in uncommonly good condition….it’s a pity that it’s covered in black and blue blotches!
Woman Cave: Time passes inordinately slowly when you’re exercising indoors, regardless of how luxurious your woman cave happens to be. Some days start in the cave before daybreak and end in the cave when the winter sun has disappeared below the horizon. Vitamin D supplements are my saviour!
Playing “Catch-Up”: This is the time of year when I have to deal with one of my major pet hates: leaves. Piles and piles of soggy, damp, smelly leaves that smother the grass and block the drains & gutters. No matter how many times I rake them up, more appear. Days and days of groundhog gardening. It’s also the time of year for doing the tax return. I’m good at procrastinating over this. It generally gets completed after I’ve dealt with those leaves…
All things considered I can’t actually complain. I’ve just had a productive couple of weeks training in Lanzarote and if that wasn’t enough my plans for Christmas and New Year involve ditching winter in Scotland and chasing summer in New Zealand. I’m all for winter, if I can spend it in the Southern Hemisphere!