Good-Bye Bikes Hello Snow

The biking season is over in these parts. After a fun day on the cyclo-cross bikes in Almonte, racing in the last race of the Eastern Ontario Cyclo-Cross Series – the snow arrived on Monday morning. I would like to thank Mother Nature for her impeccable timing – I for one was not enthusiastic about racing in the snow…

The last day of racing in this outstanding series was another in a series of most excellent Sundays. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I had so much fun on my cyclo-cross bike this year. I had some decent rides. I had some not-so-decent rides. But through them all, I was smiling and enjoying myself. Each race really was an experiment – how would my body respond to the race intensity, would my technical skills show up and help me out, and what could I learn from each race. I think one of the best aspects to this race season were my fellow competitors – I got to know some women who I wouldn’t have otherwise had a chance to get to know and I got to see some outstanding young teenagers out racing their bikes. As an extra bonus I got to hang out with lots of great people during Marc’s race – chatting and cheering away. Really, some very good Sundays were had (and I’m looking forward to doing it all again next season). A very good sign is when the season ends and you’re already looking forward to the next one.

The snow on Monday also signalled the end of bicycle commuting days. I know there are many hardy folks in Ottawa who cycle year round – I am not one of them. My route takes me on a range of bicycle paths and busy roads and I find that the ice build-up, snow, dark mornings and evenings combined with some rotten windchill doesn’t make cycling that enjoyable.

So what to do to get fit, blow off stress, and enjoy being outdoors? Well this winter is all about embracing snow. I used to be a rather keen skate skier so I’ve dusted off my skate skis and thanks to Graham at The Cyclery, my skis are ready to go. I’ve also acquired a pair of Atlas Run snowshoes – this winter I’ll participate in the Atlas Mad Trapper Snowshoe Series. I had a pair of running snowshoes when they first came out but once I started going to Belgium for the cyclo-cross season, I gave them to my mom. I’ve never snowshoe raced but I hear it is a lot of fun – so why not? Along with this huffing and puffing up hills on skis and snowshoes, I’ll also be out running around in running shoes. I’ve always had a “thing” for running and I’m excited to get back into it again. I don’t plan on breaking any records, rather just getting out for some lunchtime and evening runs during the week. (Of course Dawn did plant a seed that is growing rather fervently – The Ultimate XC 23 km trail run…

So in other words, the winter looks like it will be very good. I’m looking forward to the skiing, the snowshoeing and the running. But even more so, I’m simply looking forward to being active and slowly rebuilding some fitness and overall body strength. In between all this outdoor activity, I’ll be doing lots of yoga and spending a couple hours on the Computrainer.

Yes, this all sounds like a lot but I assure you that it only appears this way on your computer monitor. In reality I’ve figured out how to squeeze an extra four hours of daylight into each day so I’ve got plenty of time to do all this activity along with working and general house stuff. (Yes, I could be high on endorphins right now…)

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