November ?

November was a little like April – it started slow and then sped up rapidly.

The countdown to the election felt like slow motion at times. I knew we wouldn’t have answers on election night, but that didn’t stop me from refreshing the coverage regularly on my phone.To help, I added in a planned Zwift Academy ride to keep me distracted from 7:30-9PM. But even still, it felt like a long night. The week after was long too. Biden won, and won again, and won again. Certainly more heartening than 2016, but also both unsurprising and still frustrating to see the amount of support Trump had. Anyway.

Speaking of Zwift Academy, Paul and I both joined the once a year program on Zwift, which was quite fun. It allowed me to do my first group rides and races on Zwift, and to complete some planned workouts (which I otherwise rarely do on the bike). Speaking of that ramp test — for a while it had me thinking I was a really good amateur cyclist. Turns out I’m not as good as it first suggested ?‍♀️ Ah well, I’m not unhappy with where I actually am, and now I have a goal to work towards.

When that wrapped up on 11/25, I was trying to decide what to next. And while I debated I did some baking:

Pumpkin pie and quiche
Apple pie

Along with some stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted rutabaga (maybe my first ever?), potatoes, and the like. There has been no shortage of food in the house this month.

And then I happened to come across this thing called Basecamp. A four month cycling training program in between coaching and a free training plan. I debated joining for several days. It’s hosted by some pretty well-renown folks who I respected (a former Olympian, a longtime adventure rider, an excellent coach, etc), and would push me to keep up my training over the winter. BUT, there was this nagging part of me that somehow felt like I was ruining things by signing up for a training plan. By that I mean, these were the thoughts I was having:

Don’t I know how to get stronger? Do I really need to pay someone to plan my workouts? Didn’t I figure out how to Everest on my own? What if I paid and it doesn’t even make me a better cyclist? What’s the point of being a stronger cyclist anyway? Am I one of those people that cares about my WATTS now (spoiler: I totally am)? Will this mean I do more biking on the trainer than outdoors? Shouldn’t biking just be for fun anyway?

Eh, turns out I decided that it would be fun to try something new. And being a stronger cyclist will keep cycling fun. I am, in fact, a fairly competitive person (mostly with myself, and a little bit with others). Why not be able to quantify if I’m getting stronger? If cycling stops being fun, I’ll stop. Plus, I’d be extremely arrogant to think I couldn’t learn from these experts. The program is designed to connect (via multiple platforms) with the other folks participating – so I might make some new virtual friends (or at least get to chat with others about cycling). Plus with COVID travel restrictions, this is a rare time where I can’t imagine I’ll be traveling, or even pulled to do a lot of other sports (skiing, climbing, hiking, backpacking, etc). So if I was going to go all in on cycling, this seemed like a reasonable time to give it a whirl. Testing week was this week (I got a little behind because I joined late)… and it all *officially* starts tomorrow. More on this to come, I’m sure.

Last but not least, Paul I decided to go play outside on Black Friday. I saw an Instagram post about this “Secret Groad” ride (gravel + road) that was unofficially happening. There were five designated waypoints (plus a bonus) sprinkled around Boulder. The goal was simply to ride to each, do some pushups, and continue on. Given that we don’t have gravel bikes, and there’s quite a bit of melting snow out there, we opted to take the mountain bikes out. A pretty incredible day: 56miles, 4,500ft of elevation, snow, mud, ice, dirt, and a bit of pavement too:

Turns out, biking on snow for 3mi up some 750-1,000 ft to end your ride is quite tiring. I have new respect for the folks that do serious snow riding. Also, if I didn’t already, I now REALLY see the appeal of a gravel bike. N+1 ? All in all, a very solid day.

Now, as December is rapidly approaching, I suppose it’s time to start thinking about a new challenge for 2021… As of yet, I don’t have any ideas.

Author: cartwheelsandcake

Cyclist, climber, hiker, trail runner, back country skier, dabbling mountaineer Lover of cake, chocolate, brownies, and sweets. Excellent napper.

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