The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

No, not Christmas, though I do love twinkly lights. I mean: BIKE TRAINER SEASON. (What's a trainer?)

Yeah, I'll be taking that back in six weeks when I'm sick of the cold and the short days and dream of long rides on spring mornings. (Yes, I will whine about how I want my life to be MORE magical and pampered.)

But today I was so excited, it felt like birthday morning. It's winter! Time to be on the bike trainer, on Gogo the beautiful road bike, working from spinning to suffering to satisfaction.

I am not barking mad.

It's about options. I enjoy riding a bike and running and doing strength exercises and yoga and swimming. And my body wants its satisfaction, through intensity, endurance, and reflex challenge. It wants this satisfaction every single day.

My body responds with good happy chemicals if I give it a balance of stresses over time. So, options — ways to combine the activities I enjoy to satisfy my muscles at a range of intensities.

For instance, Friday I rode my mountain bike for a couple of hours, then ran for half an hour on the trail. This weekend, it was 20 degrees outside. My legs didn't want a run, I wanted recovery, and there was no way I could in good conscience leave N. alone in the kitchen with the paint buckets while I'm off to the trail for god knows how long. I mean, I'm the one who ripped down the wallpaper. But anyway.

Today, my legs, hips, and obliques begged me: Pleeeease we want to feel alive. What to do? Look! The bike trainer! Intensity right here in my house! Forty minutes of high-cadence pedaling, some out of the saddle stuff, and one particular interval that made me yell out loud with the effort — ow! OW! Make it stop! No, no! Keep me going! Wow! Concentrated effort, BOOM! ENDORPHINS! LIKE CHAMPAGNE TO THE BRAIN! BLOOD TO THE MUSCLES! PEDAL STROKE FROM THE HIP! WORK! SWEAT! POWER! WHOOOOOOOO! BIKE TRAINER!

Instead of regular stretches I did a cool yoga sequence afterward. That's a whole new combination of activities I hadn't tried before — a whole new option!

As I progress as a cyclist (by which I mean acquire sufficient cold-weather and night-time gear), I expect my outdoor riding season to extend through more of the year. I hope new worlds of options on bikes keep opening up for me, season after season.

But today, I love that the season has brought the bike trainer back into my routine.

It can't compare to a spring morning surge on an open road. But like every option, it welcomes embrace — the only way to squeeze out all the satisfaction! — so winter, bring it. Here we go.