Friday, January 15, 2010

My Alternative Lifestye

My friend's interest in Telemark lessons has receded. Coincidentally, I've had opportunities to scrabble around on the Nordic trails, enjoying the most complete exercise ever devised.

As great as cycling is (and it is), Nordic skiing provides one-stop shopping for full-body conditioning. With the right trail network, it also provides some excitement. You have to control your effort on climbs and control speed and direction on descent. You have to hold your line in corners and be able to adapt instantly to changes in the surface or sudden obstacles. The speed range is different, but many of the mental qualities are similar to bicycling.

I would much rather go outside and do something appropriate to the season than simulate another season's activity indoors. I just can't get jacked up for spinning classes. I've lost my drive for weight training. When I can cross-country ski I don't have to worry about anything else.

After ski season I do bring some excess arm and shoulder mass into bike season. The extra muscle is good for the needs of daily life. It only seems like a bother when I'm pedaling up a hill and I can't use those poling muscles. So I do change shape a little from season to season.

We're in a snow drought right now. We've been farming the same meager few inches for a month. Now we're getting a thaw. So I may be back on the bike for a while, if we lose what little we have. It's hard, because I can't rely on the steady schedule of the commute. So I'll be back to weights and rollers, occasional outdoor rides, hiking, and whatever else I can put together.

We can't count on winter. I've seen several years with no usable snow. I've also seen winters in which buildings collapsed under the weight of it. I've seen winters shift from one type to the other. No one seems to be able to predict it. They know why it's happening when it's actually happening, but that's about all. You must adapt to what you cannot change.

4 comments:

mountain_racer said...

I can totally relate to your post. As a Nordic/tele skier and cyclist, I find the skiing a better workout but less accessible. Whether its the poor snow condition or the lack of available daylight hours, skiing opportunities are less frequent than I would like. So, at night I tear down bikes and put them back together or if all else fails, I ride the trainer!

cafiend said...

Hey, Mountain Racer!

I always hope to be able to string together enough XC skiing to make it a genuine part of the program. In recent years I have still had to supplement. As for doing my off-season major maintenance, I manage to procrastinate until spring and then do things a bit at a time: a hub here, a hub there, a headset...

The rollers become a bigger part of the schedule closer to riding season, when I need to reacquaint my buttocks with the saddle before the serious commuting starts.

Steve A said...

I look forward to the day I get to learn to tele...

cafiend said...

Steve, Tele ain't what it used to be. With monster boots and fat, fat boards it might as well be alpine.

I like to use the turn as part of a set of exploring skills, not strictly as a gravity-fed sport and an objective in itself. Not that I've gotten out much in the last several winters...but I could.