Before I jump into this week’s blog update I wanted to explain why it is so late. Real life, in the form of my job, intervened on my best laid plans. As much as I would love to be a full time writer, I am actually an environmental compliance specialist for a utility company. I originally had today off and planned to spend the morning writing an end of season wrap up, instead the phone rang at seven and I was called out to an issue. A full 11 hour day later and I am sitting down to write. I love my job and I am proud to be involved in my company’s emergency response and today it is the reason why the blog is late. I also want to say that getting called into work on Veteran’s Day also lends some small perspective. I choose to do my job and I really do enjoy it. Even at its most dangerous, it is nothing compared to what our veterans go through to provide our chances to chase our dreams. Don’t forget to say thanks, even if you end up reading this reminder a day or two after the actual Veteran’s Day because it was so late.
I spent the weekend raking leaves and trying to finish the rest of the fall yard work. It has dipped down into the low 20s overnight here in Connecticut and I think that the riding season it just about over for me. A season that started with trail riding to train for the 5 Boro Tour and ended up riding my road bike around Martha’s Vineyard was a success. I might get a few more trail rides in before I hide inside on the trainer for the winter, but my traditional Thanksgiving Day ride has been canceled due to continued employment. I have to be on call over the holiday but I am more than willing to do that as it means that I still have a job and that is something to be thankful for this year.
My outdoor season started this year training for the 5 Boro Tour of New York. To do this I participated in the 30 Days of Biking Challenge in April. All 30 days I managed to ride somewhere, even if it was for 10 minutes circling the block. I also spent many weekends preparing to ride 40 miles through all five boroughs of New York City by riding the local rail trails. As I said in my blog post, it is an amazing ride and I can’t wait to do it again this May. While I was in Manhattan the night before the ride I had the idea for a meet up. Would anyone be interested in meeting before the 2014 ride? We could pick a bar or other spot and get together before the ride. I am hoping to bring some more friends or family with me next year.
After New York I concentrated on some local rides. I had one memorable failure when I wasn’t able to tackle the hills of Tolland and had to quit early. It was humbling, but it taught me a valuable lesson. You can never over-train. If you think you have trained enough, get back on the bike. I used the failure to push myself harder in preparation for my next challenge.
I rode in my third consecutive Tour of Hartford. It is a great ride that circles Hartford and ties in many of the local parks as well as some of the city’s landmarks. Each year the exact route changes and you get to see a new part of the city. The ride is large enough to be an event but small enough to not be overwhelming for new riders or families taking one of the shorter route options. The same weekend there was a new event in Hartford, a crit race through downtown. The streets were closed and the races were fully supported. One of the best events was the Citizen’s Ride, a chance for slowpokes like me to ride the course. It was a great companion event to the Hartford Tour.
The early fall brought my first mud run, the Rugged Maniac. I expected to hate the run and I was only doing it to support a friend who didn’t want to run alone. I managed to rope in another couple of friends to run with us so we didn’t feel so alone with all of the competitors that run these obstacle races all the time. It turned out to be one of the highlights of my year. I had more fun than I thought I would. I managed to complete each obstacle and I can’t wait to run my next race. I am even adding running to my training to be able to complete the races faster.
The very next weekend was the Cycle Martha’s Vineyard ride. It was once again a highlight of the year. The trip out to the ride over the ferry is impressive. Cycling around the island is a challenge, but one that offers so many varied views of the local scenery that it is worth the effort. You travel rocky overlooks up through cliffs to a lighthouse then back through wetlands to tidal marshes through local beaches and finishing in a tourist town full of gingerbread houses.
That brings us to the end of the season. I did miss my goal of finishing the hill ride, but I did succeed in completing my metric century goal. I am starting to fill in my event calendar for next year. I know I will be attempting my second 5 Boro Tour and I am going to train for the Seagull Century. I want to fit in the Hartford Tour and at least two 5 K mud races. I am also going to attempt the 30 Days of Biking Challenge again this year. I just need to find some more events to keep me motivated for the rest of the warm season. Anyone have any ideas?
Before all of that I am actually looking forward to my indoor training season. I am going to try out a new program and review the videos for the blog, so it has the benefit of getting me in better shape and providing some content!