Over six months have past.
Elm Creek Park Reserve.
Home of the 15 mile and 28 mile bike trails that were my bike training hub for the past 3 years of Ironman competition.
It was cold today. The mercury was in the mid thirties. The winds made it even more painful.
My last ride here was late August. My Ironman journey was about to come to a close. So was my cycling season. Less then two weeks later, my bike was in the basement…and there it had stayed. It was to get regular use over the winter on the trainer. That never happened.
Last year, the snows were heavy…and they lingered. I needed an early to start bike training, but it was impossible. We finally saw a brief warmup in late April and I eagerly got my bike ready and on the trails…only to be turned back. At every turn, there was still packed snow along the wooded trail. Training had to wait.
Today, there was no bike, no running shoes, and no plan.
I was just driving by…and I wanted to see.
The cycling season would be very different this year. It will likely be my lightest season since I purchased my bicycle.
2012 saw my first half-Ironman. My odometer rolled over the 1000 mile mark as the snow was starting to come down.
2013 saw 3 half-Ironman’s…starting in early June. I was frustrated by a late training start with such an early season long race. I finished the year with 1250 miles.
2014 saw an early season sprint triathlon and another late start to the training cycle. It also saw a late April attempt at a century ride…which dwindled to a mere 27 miles with tempuratures in the high 30’s, sustained winds averaging 21 mph, sleet, torrential rains, frostnip, and hypothermia. It was the year of the Ironman. I completed six century rides that season (four in Elm Creek) on my way to 3000+ cycling miles.
2015 will be different. Very, very different.
I may not see 500 miles.
My first event of the year is in mid-July. My finale is in late August. Five events (4 in 16 days) and every one of them will be a sprint. The longest I will ride in competition will be 16 miles.
I knew last year that my 6-8 hour riding days were behind me. But I expected to be registerd for a 70.3 (56 mile ride) and an Olympic triathlon (25 mile ride) but that never materialized, and I am grateful. No, my rides do not even have to start until June…and will be 1-2 hours long instead of my predicted 3-4. I might be out here in May (or maybe April) when we see the first gloriously warm spring day…and I get a sudden desire to get out here and just enjoy.
Today is not that day. I am in street clothes on a cold and bitterly windy spring day that winter does not want to abandon quite yet. I am doing recon. A short quarter mile walk. I am alone here, not a soul to be found…
The paths are clear. There is no snow in sight.
I will return soon enough, with my bike and the anticipation of a new season. The rides will be shorter and more fun. I hope to learn to love cycling again.
I today, I knew that the trails were clear, and I leave with the knowledge they will be ready for my return…