Winter Cycling. – I’ll ride it out.

zig zag is a good thing.

zig zag is a good thing.

Winter is here bringing with it on most days, bitter cold weather with strong winds and very little sunlight.

I try my best to juggle things around to squeeze a ride in when I can but it’s a lot harder while fighting the elements.  I don’t mind not going out as regular during this season.  I’m a guy who enjoys taking a short break from training hard every day.

Winter is a time to get back into the gym, work on the upper body and the core.  It’s also hockey season and skating is another great cross trainer.  Still, I like to get out on the bike at least once a week so the legs don’t completely forget all that hard work they did throughout the year.  The gym also has a trainer that I ride every day for around 30 – 40 minutes. But they should replace the word “trainer” with the word “boring”.

It serves its purpose.

I’ll be excited to ride come March.  I have a new TREK Madone 6.5 waiting for me and it’s sure to bring a load of inspiration.

For now, I’ll ride out the winter.  🙂

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Giro de Hotaka, 2011

Lots of hills in Gunma

Yesterday, I went to my friend Yukiya’s boutique shop and in the back room we filled out the application form for the upcoming race called, “Giro de Hotaka”.  It cost a whopping 8000 YEN (around $90 US) to enter.

Sometimes I think anyone fool enough to ride 120 km in wet zero degrees Celsius weather (around 32 F) for over 5 hours should get paid to enter.

I haven’t ridden that distance all year since I work 7 days a week. My regular trips are around 50 ~ 60 km.  I’ve had a few 80 plus km’s when time and weather permitted.

Now that evening is setting in early (5 pm), finding time to ride has been even more challenging.  At any rate, I will ride it but not race it.  My knee is still buggered so my goal is to finish without being legitimately bagged or in pain.

Will update how it went in two weeks time.

Wish me luck!

UPDATE:  Race is finished.  Click here for the post race blog.

My Knee Has Me Worried

Riding in Japan.

I’m probably a rare breed of cyclist that deals with knee pain. I believe the injuries are mostly ice hockey related from the old days of playing semi-pro. I had complex knee surgery last January to ‘save’ my meniscus from being removed. The procedure is new and only one doctor at this famous knee and shoulder hospital had studied how to do it in the USA. There were no guarantees but after it was done and 6 weeks in a leg cast, I worked my ass off to rehabilitate it. I got on the bicycle for the first time this year in mid May. The knee hurt at first but gradually felt stronger and better. Come August I was pain free and feeling like a million dollars.

Then, like a light switch, a week ago, in the exact same spot but on the other knee, really bad pains started to stab me. On today’s ride, I couldn’t even stand up on climbs. I’ve been limping around like an old man for a week but I’m praying and hoping that it’s not the same problem I had with the other knee. Being 42 years old doesn’t help matters but I’ve kept myself in good shape my whole life and am frustrated by this.

Sorry for the rant but I am quite bummed out. I have always loved cycling and I don’t want to lose it. Plus, I’m spent with surgery (I’ve had a total of 7 in my life time – most injury related).

Anyone else dealing with pains or injuries that affect their cycling or daily life?

Oh, on a lighter note (if you’ve made it this far), I saw the strangest thing today. I saw a middle age heavy set woman walking along the side of the road carrying on her front a HUGE LIVE turtle! I’m talking the shell was the size of a car tire! It was hugging her as she struggled to carry it. Where they were going I have no idea! English school maybe?

Today I took my video camera with me to try to take some footage of my route. It was more of a pain than anything (except my knee – lol )