So it’s officially changed seasons up here.
Well, so much for wishful thinking anyway.
It is that time of year though when activities that were good and fun in the previous months are no longer so, and those that will be fun in the months to come are still sorely lacking an important medium: snow.
Until that stuff starts shaking loose from the clouds, I’m in an awkward and annoying period of limbo.
As I’ve said in this blog too, while skate skiing is fantastic training for pushing pedals, it’s not a mutually beneficial relationship, so I can’t just keep riding my bike into the waning daylight until the trails are groomed with perfect corduroy.
On Monday I headed into the woods with ski poles all the same, picked a hill and did what might have been construed as some sort of ancient rite before the forest spirits, but is otherwise in small circles referred to as “hill bounding.”
Basically you pretend you’re skiing by, ya, bounding up a hill, practicing different techniques.
It’s actually no easy task.
As the name implies it involves hills; and the incorporation of poles means upper body and core muscles get used in ways they haven’t been in a long time.
The hill bounding, however, I can mostly tolerate because I know I’m strengthening stabilizer muscles that I’ll be happy aren’t floppy and weak like the rest of my body the first time I get out on skis.
Ditto for the indoor circuit training we do afterwards.
But with the specific ski centered training also comes running.
Snarky comments about running being an activity that I only participate in when I’ve got a hungry bruin that want’s my rumpsteak on my tail aside, I actually do try and make a habit of running through most of the year at least once a week.
At that level, it’s OK.
But now, I feel like I’m running a lot, or, at least 2-3 times a week, so I guess that’s a 200-300 percent increase.
Let me say a few nice things about the sport that is running.
It is a heck of a workout. I feel muscles flushing with blood and lactic acids that I don’t usually notice in other activities. You never stop while you’re out there either, and during the week any activity I can do that works me hard in a short amount of time gets points.
It’s also slower, and great for enjoying the scenery. I couldn’t believe the things I was noticing this week on a pleasant afternoon on trails that I’ve skied and biked literally hundreds of times.
I also like the sense I get running uphill.
I’m not sure about that either, but there’s just something satisfying about chugging away up a long climb.
But once up top, well, it’s all downhill from there.
As I see it, I guess, humans evolved to the place that we currently hold on the food chain not because we kept running downhill, but because we learned to take advantage of our gravitational conquests.
I don’t climb mountains all winter to walk back down them.
I don’t ride up long glacial valleys so I can hop off and walk my bike back down either.
If there was any confusion about that please know now that it’s all about that ride (board or fat tire) back down.
But every time I beat my throbbing legs over the crest of a hill on a run and a small wave of euphoria washes over me, it’s robbed by the prospect of knowing that the plodding will just go on.