The price of sloth

1 01 2018


Suddenly August seems so very far away. And yet frighteningly imminent.
Last year was not a good one for me on the bike. My 2,337 total kilometres was my lowest mileage since I started keeping track in 2003. It was also less than half of what I’d managed in 2016.
Even worse; until New Year’s Eve day I’d only been on two rides since September, neither of them particularly substantial. A November during which it rained practically every day didn’t help.



Finally, the motivation to ride. Even if it means bundling up for the cold.

So it was with heavy legs and an even heavier belly I joined a handful of fellow FRFers on Sunday for what was supposed to be a quick, flat roll to Iona Beach and back, about 60 kms. But it became pretty apparent pretty quickly that without sufficient kms in my legs, I just couldn’t keep up.
Even as the crew kept sending someone back to keep me company in the bright, cold sunshine, it was pretty dispiriting to realize how far my fitness had slipped. Lactic acid burning my thighs and the frosty air burning my cheeks, the return leg turned into an arduous slog that seemed without end.




Alas, my view for most of the route.

It was not the best bonding experience with my new N+1.
Earlier in the fall, as my motivation to ride floundered, I decided a new approach might be just the shot it needed: gravel riding.
In its never-ending quest to extract money from the bank accounts of cyclists, the bike industry has conjured a new niche of riding gravel and dirt trails on specialized road bikes with clearance for wider tires, a more relaxed geometry, and disk brakes.
I always enjoyed the short stretches of gravel or dirt paths we sometimes encountered on our group road rides even though an errant rock sometimes meant a pit stop to repair a puncture. And, as I’m no longer inclined to thrash technical mountain bike trails, it seemed getting a bike that would allow me to do the former without making a mess of the Franco would be a good way to keep me riding through the off-season.
So I made a list of features I wanted, set a budget that would allow me to attain those, and started researching online and in the local bike shops.
The Norco Search I ended up with exceeded my feature requirements and budget, but it was such a good deal on a closeout sale, I couldn’t not buy it.




The new Norco takes a break on its first trail ride.

On its maiden trail ride and two subsequent road rides, the Norco has been a lot of fun, despite my faltering fitness. It’s quicker and more responsive on the dirt than the heavier mountain bike, and its 35mm tires roll assuredly on the slick, frozen winter pavement. Riding without worrying about mucking up the Franco has been liberating.




Rides nice on the slick winter roads as well.

Now, I’ve just got to do more of it.
You see, Princess of Pavement threw down the training challenge at Christmas when she signed me up for Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria next Aug. 19. And she didn’t hold back; she registered me for the full 162 km (that’s 100 miles!) option.
So I’ve got some work ahead of me. Eight months can roll by just like that…