Fighting Through Winter Doldrums

It’s been a tough winter.  I know things could always be worse.  I could be trying to cycle in Boston, which just had two feet of snow dumped on it.  I could be Tuckamoredew’s neighbor in Edmonton.  But I happen to live in Virginia, where the occasional pleasant weekend is normal in the winter.  Being here tends to raise your expections for good riding weather just a little bit. Sadly, the nice weekends haven’t come and the pleasant days (such as they are) have happened during the week.

Yesterday was a pleasant day, with highs in the low 50s.  I got off work a little earlier than usual and managed to complete a 26 mile ride to Brentsville.  The first six miles were done in daylight, which is always a pleasant sign for a weeknight. The sun is definitely staying out longer and I am counting the days (22) to March 10th when Daylight Savings Time kicks in once again.

Mixed use path on Rte 234, with the sun setting over Prince William Forest.

Mixed use path on Rte 234, with the sun setting over Prince William Forest.

I’ve ridden 207 miles this year, about 160 of them at night.  My longest ride has been 27 miles.  I need to step things up a bit.  The DC Randonneurs 200k brevet is now three weeks away.

Sunset over Bristow Road

Sunset over Bristow Road

The forecast for Saturday calls for snow flurries and a high in the mid-30’s.  Same for Sunday.  It gets a little warmer and drier once again during the week.  It looks like its just going to be “one of those winters.”

Once again in the dark, outside Crosby's Crab Shack.

Once again in the dark, outside Crosby’s Crab Shack.



20 thoughts on “Fighting Through Winter Doldrums

  1. Oh pal I feel your pain! Every weekend here in Seattle has either been wet, or foggy and cold or all three. With using the trainer and getting outside when I can, and one day playing hooky from work, I’ve gotten the miles in, but I am also waiting for daylit savings AND better weather. Our first ride of the year, the Chilly Hilly (both names suit it well!) is next Sunday, only 33 miles, but I would love it if it even approached 50 degrees! Good job getting the ride in, and love the pics!

      • We in Seattle LOVE people to think that, cuts down on the California folks moving north! I do the CH every year and it’s always a blast! I post pics of the ferry full of bikes afterwards

  2. I sympathize–hell, I empathize! My last ride was on January 12th; shortly thereafter I got the flu and have been either getting slowly better or grounded by the weather ever since. Hoping to go out this afternoon. Weekend doesn’t look so great here, again.

    C’mon, Spring! Good luck on the upcoming brevet!

  3. I think we are all suffering the same lack of mileage symptoms. I know its been bad for me. I get 1 or 2 rides into what I think is finally going to regular pattern and Pow!! the weather or sickness hits and its back to square one. Us ‘old guys’ need plenty of regular rides to keep in shape..!!! 🙂

    • This will be an interesting year for me, Brian, as I attempt to maintain some level of cycling fitness while upping my running game and trying to remember how to swim at the same time. Good weather will be a big help.

  4. The best thing about being old is that you can generally take advantage of a decent winter day. That’s something for you to look forward to (though perhaps 200k brevets will look a little less appetising then).

  5. Some blogger I really like to read calls it “the gloom” … sound familiar? Of course your weather sounds good to me, but 200K this early in the season sounds totally daunting. I’ll do a 100k probably on St. Patrick’s Day. I admire your after dark riding, I’m chicken.

    • You have excellent retention, Suze! We are definitely in Gloom Period. We’ll see if my complete lack of distance rides effects me on the brevet. I’m hoping that my muscle memory will kick in and all will be well.

  6. I think last winter spoiled us (at least around here). We managed to get out a few times in January, but lately the decent days haven’t been scheduled on the weekends. Who’s in charge of that?

    • Whoever he/she is, they’re doing a poor job!

      In 2010-11, we had a terrible winter with 70 inches of snow. In the three winters since, we haven’t had 70 inches of snow combined. I guess the snowblower I bought has made a difference! Although the snow has stayed away, the temperature is colder than last year’s very mild winter. At least we’re able to get out on the roads. Three years ago I couldn’t even get my car down my street, let alone my bike!

  7. In 3 weeks? That’s quite early for such a long ride. How do you take photos like your 1st one without losing balance & falling off? Looks like you have to lean quite low.

    • These randonneuring cats really aren’t concerned about weather or seasons, Cherry. Granted, most of their winter rides are “only” 200-300k, but they’re out there in all conditions.

      As for the photo, I just lowered the camera to about pedal height and took a bunch of pics. Most of them aren’t very good but if you take enough of them you’ll find one you like!

  8. Hang in there! The change in season is close. Today it was was so unseasonably warm here that I rode home without a jacket, gloves or hat. Just because I could. Shocking! Thanks for the link.

  9. Today was the day – the first day Belgium felt like we might be leaving winter. Rode the whole way to work without worrying whether I was going to fall off.

    yes yes yes!

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