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.


Matt said...

great post, I too love this time of the year, easy to just leave HR zones and stuff at the door and just enjoy sometime on some singletrack or gliding thru some fresh snow!

Kevin M said...

On my walk home from work today I thought about how refreshing it is outside, even in the dark. I lived a year in OZ and really missed the Canadian seasons. The unstructured training at this time of year really helps to recharge the engine. Be patient people! May is half a year away!

Sunny said...

That is just lovely -- both the photo and your thoughts on the seasons. Being from California, winter always seemed just wet and boring. Now in New England, I LIVE the 4 Seasons. This year will be my first year mounting the Tri bike on a trainer...or will it? :-)

Cheers, -Sunny