Monday, March 9, 2009

Let's call it "Cross-training"

You know your head is a little too deep into conditioning when you start having to justify your extra-curricular activities to your training plan, no matter how shoddily prepared that plan may be. 

When one of my best buds rang me up last week and said, "Pack your bags, we're going to Colorado!" I nearly bailed, and for all the wrong reasons. Sure, I didn't want to spend the money right now, and I have a pile of work to do when I get home, but the straw that nearly broke it (the camel's back, that is) was the prospect of another five days away from the bike.

Coming back from two months of shameless atrophy has been a mental and emotional struggle--all of a sudden having so many weaknesses it's difficult to know where to start--and being obsessive by nature, the obvious solution is avoiding all unnecessary distractions until I'm back at 100%. Skiing, of course, was not on the gym schedule.

Sitting here in Phoenix, after three days of crashing trees and hucking cliffs above 10,000' (thanks to Amy for giving me endless crap until I ponied up and hopped a plane), I've now had adequate time to develop the appropriate rationalization for cheating on my wife, er... bike for the long weekend. Two Words: CROSS TRAINING.

First of all, we have the altitude. There's nothing like panting through a quarter-mile of moguls at eight times that distance above sea level to get your cardio in order. Not to mention the extra aerobic benefits of running an adrenaline overdose for half a day at a time.

If the altitude isn't enough to convince you (myself) that powder-chasing is a worthwhile training exercise, consider the experience gained operating in adverse conditions (right). I may be aging, but my beard isn't that white yet. It is however, a pretty excellent snowflake magnet, even when compared to Pat's beard-cicles (far right).

Third, the line-finding skills required to negotiate a mountainside full of tight, un-tracked trees is not that unlike threading the needle through gnarly singletrack. As you can see below, I'm a lot better at singletrack.

And finally, I was provided with yet another reminder that there are plenty of things way scarier and more dangerous than mountain bike racing.

...and there's nothing more valuable than perspective.

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