Are you finished being confused about the title? You aren’t? Read on to understand why it’s hard to not bike race from Kat.
I know what you’re thinking: “This is a bike racing team, so why are you writing about not bike racing.” Just give me a few more sentences and you’ll understand the theme of this post. From March to August or September of every year, most of our (“us” being bike racers) nights are filled with training rides and our weekend are filled with traveling to bike races and racing. That’s a good chunk of the year spent living in the bike racing bubble. During that time, we become pretty one dimensional, both physically and mentally, so it’s always a strange transition at the end of the season when we usually take a few weeks completely off of your bike. This year my season ended on the earlier side as I hung up my race wheels at the end of July, realizing that I was just toast and ready for a break. So what have I been doing with all my free time?
Well, it’s hard work not racing your bike. I volunteered at a few local races, helping out with marshaling, registration, and post-race clean-up. Bike racers, you should thank organizers and race volunteers more often. It’s not an easy talk to pull together a bike race, and it’s not easy to stand out in the hot sun making sure that no cars, pedestrians, or runaway dogs or children find their way onto the race course. Holy moly it’s so much easier to just show up for one race of the day, race, and then head home. Volunteering is hard work!
For a few weeks post-season, yoga and hiking replace pedaling my bike. And boy are those activities hard work. Bike racers move in one plane. And while we may have lungs and hearts of steel, ask us to do anything else with our bodies and you find our kryptonite. In truth, bike racers are actually as weak as babies. We lack lateral strength, upper body strength, and by the end of the season our core strength is pretty much gone as well. So everything that is not bike riding becomes hard work. In addition to yoga, I’ve discovered “barre” classes at a local fitness studio. Imagine yoga, dancing and pilates all wrapped up into one. Yeah, it hurts….for days afterwards, in muscles I didn’t even know that I had. Riding a bike would be so much easier!
We also took on a fostering a homeless dog. So rather than riding my bike, Loki and I spent the past few weekend mornings exploring the local trails, Loki happily running back and forth, tongue hanging out in a complete state of bliss, leaving me out of breath and wondering how it is that I can ride 20 mph on a bike for multiple hours at a time, but ask me to walk up a hill and it leaves me out of breath. Dog walking is hard work.
At home, all of a sudden there are a number of lightbulbs in the house that need to be changed; weeds in the yard to be pulled; and as I pull the weeds, I notice the mulch is looking pretty pathetic. That leads to multiple trips to the hardware store to pick up 14 bags of mulch for the front yard. And the next day every muscle from my butt to my big toe is sore. Walking downstairs becomes painful. Yard work is hard work.
Next up on the not-bike-racing agenda is to move inside for some fun off-season home improvement projects. That faux brick wall surrounding the fireplace that some previous owner installed in 1972 has been begging to come down for years. And then there’s the wall we have to build to create a new office. And lots of room need to be painted. If that sounds like fun, email me and I’ll give you our address so you can come and help.
All of this non-bike racing has left me sore, aching, and exhausted. And it’s only August. I’m already looking forward to getting back on my bike in a few weeks, hopefully having built up some new strength, one homeless dog adopted, and with a few projects around the home completed.