This weekend saw the gun firing on the Christmas season. Earlier than usual, I’ve seen FB friends posting pictures of their newly decorated homes, all taking advantage of the first of December falling on a weekend. We even have the tree up at our place after our kids declared it Christmas now the advent calendars are in play!
All the signs point toward a long month of over-eating and under-exercising. What that means for us cyclists though is that all that later summer fitness which we’ve been surfing on for the past couple of months can no longer be taken for granted.
In fact, I’ve hit the hibernation zone a bit early. Last month was a poor month for my riding activities despite a lot of Mole action from everybody else. I’ve had a minor virus and a level of exhaustion that I blame on double ended candle burning (stop it Lee…) which has meant I haven’t made many Molefather appearances. Dave, coincidentally, is also in the Emergency Ward and has probably reached the ‘medical experiment’ stage of treatment.
Grand Mole Kev has also been out of action with man-flu like symptoms (note man-flu, not flu-like!) but has started on a recovery path.
Dandy and Jonesy (possibly the name of a new comedy act) are still just about in one piece but Krazy Karl has now gone and broken his fibula (ouch Karl, get well soon…). All in all, it’s a sorry state of affairs and only a matter of time before Markymark the Weatherman declares a sinus infection.
So what can we do? This time of year is notorious not only for illness, but also the call of the duvet. Don’t moles hibernate?
Well, not this one. I’ve hatched a plan which I’m calling ’10K a Day’ with the aim of riding for a minimum of six miles a day through December. I did it a couple of years ago and it turned out to be a really good way of keeping the effects of homemade mince pies and icecream at bay (I had two last night). The ’10K a Day’ rules are pretty self explanatory, but I allow any kind of riding – commuting, mountain biking, road, urban lifestyle, anything goes. In an effort to wind up Colin with the minutiae of my riding, it all has to be Strava logged.
The benefit is that by riding every day you get accustomed to being outside which means the cold, dark, grey days (and nights) seem far less intimidating. Rather than thinking it’s all far too cold and not knowing what to do to layer up without overheating – and using it as an excuse to stay home – you end up pretty clued up about what you need to wear to stay warm and pretty well organised about getting out. By January, you know you’ve ridden through the darkest – if not the bleakest – part of the year and hopefully there’s a solid base for the year ahead.
Last time I did this I really felt I’d kept off the winter blues, even if I was pretty tired by the end of it. That’s why I’m allowing any riding, at any pace, with the aim being to make a positive out of this annual negative.
If anyone wants to keep me company on rides that are likely to be shorter and less intense in general, let me know. For example, my first ’10K a Day’ ride yesterday was 12 miles on a meandering loop from Bookham to Effingham and back into Leatherhead on the road, at about 15.5mph, taking about 45 minutes.
I expect to get some decent mountain bike miles in of course, it’s just that time and weather might not always allow it.
It will be interesting to see how I feel by month end!