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It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in the mid west now for six months already. Even though we are constantly being reminded of how this winter was milder than anyone could recall, and record high temperatures that had been standing for 90 years were being broken, it still seemed damn cold to us. I pretty much gave up trying to ride my bike, except for the three mile commute to work. I ran a fair amount, and started swimming occasionally after the New Year, but truly enjoyed a real off season. Without working out much, we explored a lot of what Chicago has to offer. I still haven’t answered the question of what people do with their time, because I still got in about five hours of exercise most weeks, and we did a ton of stuff, yet it seems that a lot of people moan about having no time for anything.

The past two weeks we had a great break in the weather. I was excited, thinking spring was finally here, but kept hearing how temperatures were 30+ greater than normal. It was a good time to get on the bike, however, and we heard about criteriums over three consecutive Sundays being held just a 30 minute drive from us. Molly wanted to do some crits, and I hadn’t done any in about 20 months, so we went for it. We had a blast, getting back on the bikes, and racing for the first time in months. Molly did one race each day, 35 minutes +2 laps (0.7 mile each). I did two races each day, 40 minutes +2 laps. My laps were also back to back races. It was great doing six races over a 15 day period. They were close enough that I got to see how my comfort and skill improved with each one. The intensity was awesome too, because I tend to do a lot of long zone 2 workouts.

Our team is Activator Cycle Club. It is new, and associated with Activator Cycles which is just two miles from our house. I have no doubt that the team, its group rides, and the races will continue to grow. We had six riders at the first date, and three at the second and third.

Below are some pictures I took of Molly’s races.

My files are all posted on Strava. You can see them here.

I’m fortunate to be selected as a Strava ambassador for the second year. You don’t even have to own a Garmin to use Strava now. They have free apps now for android and iPhone, both for running and cycling. You can do a lot with the free version, but you can try the premium membership for a month free. Use the code cook12 to get the free one month trial.

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March 10, 2012. It seems ridiculous that it has taken this long to get out on a Saturday for a good ride. Actually it is ridiculous. But here in the Midwest, cycling is not quite the same as Southern California.

I am not sure why I hesitated when I saw a post from my new team, Activator Cycle Club, that there were criteriums just 20 miles up the road over the next three Sundays. I suppose it’s because I haven’t been riding hardly at all, and don’t exactly feel in racing shape. It could be that I am a little in disbelief that we are entering spring. Mornings of 20 degrees and 20 mph winds haven’t been that unusual. Occasionally the sun does come out during the day, and it looks warm through the window, which is completely deceiving because it is rarely above freezing.

Finally I realized I’ve been waiting for the weather to become tolerable, and I’m not sure how much longer I can wait. Today is was 28 degrees in the morning, but at noon it warmed up to 48 degrees, so Molly and I joined in with Activator Cycle Club on an easy spin before tomorrow’s races. The winds were still fierce, but it felt good getting back out on the road.

Details of today’s ride are here. Tomorrow should be interesting. Who starts their training with a race?

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