The clear days fade into the spring snow,

Clear and crisp is replaced by ice and snow.

Knowing when they will come to go back inside and rest or get on the rollers.

When you get to Wednesday and the week owes you nothing, you are doing your part.


Merckx used to say he would weep on the bike. Whatever that means to the guy who won 1 in 3. Maybe because I was never good at math in school numbers fascinate me now. I know what 1 in 3 means but I can't imagine the suffering he went through to get that ratio. Holy shit! What did I know, riding my bike at 5 am in high school, for what I had no idea, it's what I had read in Winning that you were supposed to do to get fast Merckx said "Ride lots" Coppi had another analogy, similar point, clearly. Now, the internet has given us all insight into lives of the pros, or the guys we admire, we know their routines, their regimens, or, what they want us to know. It's clear I had NO idea what I was doing in 1986, I showed up for my first race and couldn't have sucked more, no direction no sage advice from an older more experienced racer-I sucked and would continue to do so for a long time. I wished I knew the potential I had in my legs, maybe I would have taken up RC racing, cycle racing was this inexplicable draw for me, the hours alone on the bike appealed so deeply, the dedication, the history, all of it, I wanted that! After college I raced poorly, mtb races were the ticket into the pain cave. Appealing only after they were done, I hadn't yet learned to enjoy the suffering while it was happening, that was a long way off. Still, I did the work I thought I needed to advance, still, no idea what I had to accomplish to break through, access to the insights was only slightly better in 1992. Today we almost know when Boonen shifts to climb up the Muur in training, winning isn't the goal for most of us, getting out and doing the work well is the goal. I do the work, but I have no idea how well it will work. Reluctance to toe the line just yet, fearful that I did shit work this winter instead of the good work. Kind of like when you lay it down hard and you have that trepidation to look at the extent of your road rash, how bad did I fuck myself and my machine up. Today we know what it takes, we know that fat=slow and just because you love it doesn't mean it will love you back. Take care of the million things you have control of because the other 10 million are beyond your scope of control. More and more time is getting on the pedals, more difficult to turn them in the snow, rain and sun.



Getting out the door has never been easier, too many goals to list but none that are pushing the door open, maybe that's the goal, just get my shit outside, simplify and divide. Keep the legs turning, that way, they never slow.



Diesel fumes, pot and cigarette smoke; the rain and snow brought all of that through my nostrils today. Concerting to a point of not getting the confidence that grows from 8 or 9 straight days on the bike. Not big days but days. All of it pouring into the form trough, at some point I'll go there and take a little out. My time in to get the results out.

Tractor training

At my first bike shop job a long time ago I worked for an eccentric (to put it nicely) guy who had a full Campy tool kit. He would take the grease out of brand new hubs, no matter who made them and overhaul the hub with "Campy peanut butter grease" before the wheels even rolled a single outdoor revolution. This level of commitment fascinated me, the maintenance habit and the dedication to detail intrigued me. Today I have a bit of that, only directed inward, careful to a fault not to use a glass that has been used by someone else, acutely aware of being full and how that slows and detracts from the digestion process. Cognizant of all of it and trying not to acknowledge my growing neurosis. I like that level of dedication, who cares what it yields, it feels good inside. I went back out for another hour in the Rain/Graupel today because I had had too many afternoon snacks and not enough riding. The field gets plowed regardless, I can only hope the tractor is ready.


The ache in my toes migrates up to my shins and finally settles nicely into the Achilles,

Constant no matter how many times I step off the bike and run next to it,

Keeping up, trying in vain to coax the blood back into the ends.

The cold bites through the high end fabric that works for the first few hours,

It's now too far in to expect anything shy of a hot tub and a fire to warm my core.

Still I'm enjoying my pedals,

Turning over the cadence that carries me into spring and brings a smile.

It doesn't lessen the suffer I'll get to feel in a few months, it only succeeds in polishing it.

I don't want the Spring to be new to me, I want to hash out every eventuality

Pre ride every second of the first few races a 100 times.

Taste my own blood that should be back in my toes,

But instead lingers in the back of my throat.

Outside pushing through Winter,

Maybe when the others are warm on the couch,

Not all of the work is for the races, But, it is always for me.



The wind speeds go up as the temperature rises, it's not so bad, at least the ringing in my ears is tolerant right now. The time is getting in, the legs are still way off from not being categorized as pokey. I like the feeling though, sometimes the process is better than the product.


Due Process

One of maybe three things I might be sure of is the process, enjoying the days in the rain and snow and the constant upkeep of an aging machine. Without all of that would a good result (whatever that is) feel as good? Would you want it if it was easy, or, it came without effort? Some days you get the sun and other days you get inches of standing water looking to derail your efforts. Better that way, I think, to know that work was getting done, dishes to be broken but that it didn't have to be in the rain or snow or shit both days.


Consistently trying to get and stay out of the way,
whatever it takes to quietly plow my furrow,
not always head down-then you miss things like this-but always remembering the pleasure in the work.
The lines to avoid are getting broader and then finer,
Pick the tangents and the intersections wisely,
Look back and see you were 70% successful.



Listing out the things that need to get done is bad. Maybe what needs to be done today. Or this week, whatever it is I know the order or operations, it comes down to simple F.O.I.L.-first, outer, inner, last. What was that, 7th grade? Maintenance is hard right now, every ride a new adjustment needs attention, another overhaul, more work. Math, take care of everything you can so the remainder is just that, left over.



If I stayed inside every time it seemed proper I might have a spot of form for about 10 minutes in late September. Other than that pushing on a day like today makes the warm sunny days that much more like delicious gravy. Mmmmmm gravy.


Opening and closing doors all day, sometimes weather, sometimes time, all adding up and subtracting from the first race. I wonder if I will hit bottom this Spring. I have no time to take off to escape and be warm, no real plan to pedal in the sun. I think I'm the eskimo cyclist.



More solo time after getting to ride little ribbons Sunday. Dry, becomes relative this time of year, sometimes it's frozen other times it's just less sloppy.


Not yet assimilated

Pushing away from the garage and getting that first blast of cross wind nearly put me in the gutter, this, the first 2 minutes of the ride. After a few miles though the rhythm and cold air moving thru my lungs had me oddly settled, I don't dance, I can barely walk from here to there without an ache or a pain, the body I'm left with set up for one activity. One trick pony? Nah, I'm customized, not assimilated to a proper multi sport, weekend warrior, "Hey, what's on the schedule this weekend?" No. The little niche I have carved out does one thing-reasonably well; the idea of focusing on more than one sport wakes me up in a cold sweat-fools me into thinking I might be a real athlete. Plenty of other shit falls by the side in favor. If I sucked much more I probably would attempt "other" sports, 5k? Sure. 1/2 Marathon, sign me up. How comforting to get lost in a crowd of soccer moms and post angioplasty new lease on lifers.


Tempo doesn't warm feet

Jumping in between squalls that very easily could have become storms made me sneak out. In the first 5 minutes as I roll across what I thought was ice, punched thru standing icy water all over my shoe cover-less foot, somehow tempo doesn't warm your feet. What helps is pushing and clawing uphill into a headwind with a studded wire bead cx tire. Yeah, at least that got done today. About the only success on the day. That subtle tailwind hand on the small of my back pushed me halfway home in half the time. I felt guilty for that, it's not supposed to be easy.