With the return from Sedona, I’m reaffirming my commitment to Three A Week…my mental shorthand for ride counting. My criteria:
1. A ride must be at least 90 minutes of actual ride time to count. (Preferably longer).
2. Must ride at least 3 times per week. (Preferably more).
3. No more than 1 ride per week can be indoors–regardless of weather. (Preferably none).
The first criterion is aimed at a fitness goal that can only be achieved by consistently working on my speed and endurance over intermediate periods of time.
The second criterion is aimed at fitness and fun. If I commit to the TAW, I’ll do it. And even on days when a ride starts out as less than fun, I’ve found that getting out and spinning improves my spirits. But with my personality, I prefer to have an objective standard to meet. TAW is doable with my schedule.
The third criterion is aimed solely at fun. Sounds odd, as there are a lot of weather circumstances that may make riding outside not fun. But getting out and riding outside is exactly what makes cycling enjoyable, regardless of weather. If I don’t commit to #3, cycling could become an exercise routine–and I tire of exercise routines quickly. The variability of the outdoors–and the ability to ride different trails, different roads, and different towns on each ride–keep it engaging for me.
This morning, as if to test my commitment to TAW, the weather delivered single digit temperatures + wind + winter’s darkness + crusty, cruddy snow. The first 10 minutes or so were cold and uncomfortable, and made me reconsider the #3 criterion (if not the first two as well). But after settling into a rhythm, I warmed up, the bike warmed up, and a cruisin’ we went. Because we haven’t had any real snow in Illinois yet (2 snowstorms), I’m still learning a lot about bike handling in different types of snow. As that experience base builds more, I’ll have a future post on different riding techniques for different snow conditions.
At the outset, though, I would note that the relaxed riding position on my Mukluk 2, coupled with the setback Thomson Masterpiece seatpost, puts me in an ideal position to run very low rear tire pressure and have enough traction to grunt through just about anything I’ve found. I’m looking forward to doing some back to back comparison with a Pugsley in the snow, to see how the more aggressive riding position (which puts more weight on the front tire) changes the handling and traction. Riding in the snow last year on my Rumblefish, I frequently had to dramatically shift my weight rearward to maintain traction and forward progress. That hasn’t been an issue thus far with the Mukluk–predominantly because of the seating position. And with that relaxed position, the Jones Loop bars offer the perfect angle, reach and leverage to be able to manhandle the Big Fat Larry’s up front around.