Friday, November 13, 2009
The Off Season & The Road Not Taken
Years ago, there used to really be an off-season for those of us who practiced summer orienated sports like triathlon. These days not so much. Many of the bigger more important races are now deep into the fall and people start getting ready for races in the late winter and early spring. Then there are people like our friends from Australia, who we had spent some time with at Ironman Hawaii - they were going home after Ironman Hawaii to summer. For them there really is no off season. I am not sure how they do it.
For me, I have always enjoyed having four distinct seasons and the varying weather that comes with each of them. It gives the year, and the training a natural and organic ebb and flow. It was this time of the year, the late fall that was and still is particularly enjoyable to me - strange as it may seem. It is at this time of the year that the formal and structured training can stop for a bit - just train every day, however I want. Just do something and stay active. Also, cross-country skiing is hopefully just around the corner. We have been on-snow here in Southern Ontario as early as the last week in November.
Near our cottage in Muskoka there are networks of cottage roads and gravel and dirt roads, like the one above( Paolina in the picture above looking out our cottage road). At this time of the year, with all the leaves off the trees and before the snow comes, is the perfect time to ride these roads and trails. It's quiet. There are no bugs and the views through the forest are rather nice. To borrow from Robert Frost, it's nice to take, the road not taken at this time of year. Although, surprisingly many have already headed indoors and are riding their bikes bolted to the trainer! Boring. But to each his own. Too soon I'll be doing some of that as well.
Back in the 90's a spent an entire year traveling in the tropics. For me it was a whole year without winter. I arrived home in Vancouver at the time, in the fall of the year. I had never looked more forward to the cooler weather, the change of seasons and the coming of winter, than I did that year. I recall going for a run in an early winter blizzard of snow and loving every minute of it. Perhaps it's the Canadian in me, but I think what having four distinct seasons has done more than anything else, is keep me fresh, physically and mentally over the years. If nothing else, there is always something to look forward to in the next season.