Friday, November 7, 2014

A Cycling Pause

Somewhat typical for this time of year, I have found myself not really participating in longer distance rides and instead opting only to really ride for transportation. Although the behavior is quite normal for me as we approach the end of the year, I can't help but feel as though I didn't make the best of the warmer months in regarding to cycling this past summer season.
Oddly, we have had an unseasonably pleasant autumn thus far, that came on the tail end of an unusually moderate summer, and I think my brain is having to do a bit of adjusting. The mornings are cool (well, cold actually), but the days have warmed often into the 70s F throughout October and November. This is quite rare. By mid-October, we can pretty well expect a storm or two to have rolled through and dumped some snow; however, this year we've had a bit of rain (highly unusual) and no real snow (we had a fake out one day several weeks ago that dropped just a smidge, but it didn't stick).

This, in short, has been the fall I've dreamed of since moving to Colorado over a decade ago. It's perfect for biking as it's never too warm and I don't worry about ice because despite the morning and evening temperatures reaching down below freezing, there hasn't been any significant moisture to cause the ground to have slick spots.
Unfortunately, I haven't been enjoying it on my bicycle very frequently, and it's hard not to feel as though I've wasted a beautiful season thus far. I have little doubt that this is partially due to the wait for the new bike, but I also know that normally such a thing wouldn't stop me from getting out and riding.

It's an odd sensation to want to get out and yet consciously be making the choice not to ride. I think my brain and body have just needed a break. As is typical for me as we approach the colder season here, I find myself enjoying the short transportation rides more than the thought of pushing myself into taking on longer rides. I have decided that it's a bit of a cycling pause and it happens at various points throughout the year and for different reasons, but I think in many ways the short breaks help me appreciate the longer distance rides even more, and also increases my awareness of the sensations I have while riding simply to get me where I need to go.

While I understand there is nothing profound about this kind of cyclical occurrence, it always takes me by surprise when I find myself slowly letting go of distance on a bike.

Do you find that you experience changes in your habits with riding a bike throughout the seasons, or perhaps other markers throughout the year? Are you able to keep the same amount of effort or momentum continually, or do you find the need to allow yourself a bit of a break?

8 comments:

  1. I ride year round now. I've often heard cyclists that push themselves need a break periodically. When I first started cycling I rode every day but in a recreational way - building up. That would make me need to take a break of a couple of days to a week to rest, depending on how hard I pushed. Now I usually ride every other day. I suppose, the more exertion, the more rest that is later needed.

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    1. I definitely enjoy the recreational rides. Though building up strength and distance is its own reward as well.

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  2. I get the odd week, maybe 10 days at most, where I just lose my cycling 'mojo'. So I just take a break til it comes back. It always does and fairly quickly too. My mileage definitely drops during the winter but that's mostly due to weather and opportunity (just fewer group rides on offer to supplement my solitary 12-15 mile pootles). I commute year round though, so the cycling doesn't ever really stop.

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    1. I miss commuting via bicycle. I suppose it's one of the down sides of working from home, but I still get to run errands by bike, which has been a nice substitute. :O)

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  3. I commute about 50-60 miles per week and then do recreational rides with longer mileage (though still nothing huge) on the weekends. It's funny because I also need a periodic break from the fun rides, but for me those breaks come during the summer. Of course, you are in Colorado, and I'm in Memphis. That probably has something to do with the timing!

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    1. I can understand needing a break in the heat of summer. We get our share here, but I'm grateful we don't have humidity to deal with. It was nice this summer to have a pretty easy going summer - I just wish I'd taken better advantage of it. :O/

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  4. This time of year is what my husband and I like to call "the dip" in our cycling. We work fairly diligently on the bike from January through August or September, and then we really need a break from riding. We still ride, but it's primarily transportation or shorter rides (50 miles or fewer) when we feel like it. Now I use that time to do some running.

    I actually wrote a post about it once, called the Bicycle Cycle. Some people seem to be able to sustain a certain level of riding all year round, but I like to develop a solid base, peak in my fitness over the summer, and take time to ride like I feel during the fall.

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    1. It is interesting that some seem to be able to maintain year-round. I suppose there is a part of me that longs to be that sort of person, but I just seem to need these little breaks on occasion to allow myself to do other things. I think it helps me appreciate riding when I come back to it too.

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