"Raise your hand if you plan to wage a ruthless assault on your power:weight ratio in the next 36 hours" [raises hand]. Personally, I'm hoping to knock off about .1 out of about 3w/kg (I actually have no idea what my PWR is. Shoot, did I say that out loud?).
Thanksgiving is a symbolic time for cyclists. It's a symbol of bad habits, really. About the third week in November (In New England) it starts getting really cold (see last post), and all of a sudden that second bowl of oatmeal and cup of joe starts looking a lot better than your morning ride. At first you manage to transcend, maybe you'll go chase your race partner around a ribbon of frozen dirt in Western MA on a silly bike with a number pinned to your back. Maybe you'll even laugh when he decides to eat it right in front of you in the sandpit on the last lap and remind you what it feels like to fly (if anyone caught that on film, PLEAAAASE send...), but eventually you will grow tired, your fingers will get numb and you will turn to other sports, say, like camping:This photo was taken YESTERDAY (Tuesday) in Southern CA. Now I know it's a little hard to get out riding these days with the rain and the sub-crystaline temps, but a backpacking trip to the west coast to be first in line at Best Buy on Black Friday is, I assure you, not the solution. If you're going to put the bike in the garage for a while and hang out in a tent, at least go someplace pretty, and don't get me started on why the above image is a harbinger of the demise of our civilization...
Even if you do manage to find a pair of gloves warm enough to keep you venturing out, the onslaught of fitness-busting influences is just getting started. Convention states that this time of year you have to start spending time with your family, regardless of whether you like them or not. Tomorrow you'll get in your car (it's totally taboo to show up to Thanksgiving sweating through your skinsuit, though I'm thinking of trying it this year), and motor over to grandma's. After about 20 minutes you'll be done having your life choices critiqued (if you showed up in a skinsuit, then you asked for it) and transitioning from amused to annoyed by your 5yo nephew. Trapped in a house full of people who can't even begin to fathom the awesomeness of your new Stan's tubeless conversion, there's nothing left for you except the Thanksgiving bird and the asteroid belt of pies hovering around it on the lazy-susan. A kilo or so later, you're rolling home swearing "Never Again", until it's time for leftovers on Friday. Rinse-repeat for Christmas (or your consumerist holiday of choice), wash down the memory of your transgressions with a bottle of bubbly for Auld Lang Syne and by January 1 you'll be ready to apply for a job as the next Thomson seatpost poster-boy (right).
Make no mistake, from now until year-end you are at war! True, you're only up against a couple of hams a few fruitcakes, but they'll make sure you get tipsy and then take you out when your guard is down. It is no time to go it alone (down the road for hours at a medium pace). It is time to enlist an army of your friends to peer pressure you onto your bike for childish amusement and good old fashioned rivalry. Race each other around your local MTB loop (for beers). Do hillclimbs (for beers). Do whatever you need to do to stay motivated to ride (for beers). Keep the intensity up to stay warm (the beer will be cold). Keep it close to home (you've been drinking), and most of all, stay out of the wind.
Image credits: Ridemonkey, LHThomson