Tuesday: 3.5 hours, variable endurance
Wednesday: 4 hours, v-endurance, light tempo on hills
Thursday: 4.5 hours, v-endurance
Saturday: 4 hours, v-endurance
Sunday: 5 hrs, v-endurance
Well, I am almost through my first week of training in sunny Santa Barbara. Conditions are about what I expected: sunny and 70 degrees, every day of the week. I won’t bore you with the details of every training mile logged, and I won’t enrage you with detailed descriptions of how lovely the climate is here in Southern California. Suffice to say, it is a new experience for me to dedicate the majority of each and every day to my training. In some ways it is welcome, in others, it feels a little unproductive. While I am still early on in this 6 week block of focused base training, I find my productivity in other areas waning. Even writing essays like this one seems to take an inordinately long amount of energy compared to when my training is mellower.
What I find much more interesting than training is spending a considerable amount of time in a new and exciting place. Santa Barbara is an interesting community. Obviously, the weather is beautiful and so are the people. What I’ve noticed is that people seemed to have a relaxed and somewhat sincere demeanor out here. I haven’t encountered nearly the amount of cynicism or sarcasm that you would find in New England. Now, don’t take that the wrong way. It’s actually the thing I miss the most! I have come to the conclusion that New Englanders have a special character because of an experience of shared suffering. Winter is long and cold, and it’s easy to get lost in a feeling of isolation. In order to stave off the loneliness, we develop a camaraderie marked by an often dark and ironic sense of humor.
To be fair, the wildfires out here must have been pretty terrible. I can see the aftereffects of the destruction they left in their wake, and it isn’t pretty. There are also mudslides, overpopulation, and a surprisingly large homeless population; not to mention the infamous SoCal traffic! Nevertheless, the pleasant weather has a way of giving life here a languid and easy-going feel. I’m already worried that it’s going to make me soft, as I’ve often attributed my resilience as a bike racer to training in harsh New England winters. That said, I’m sure it’s nothing that a few nasty weeks of mud season won’t be able to cure upon my return to the Upper Valley!
I’m taking the Garmin along with me on some of my rides, so you can follow my progress on www.strava.com, if you are so inclined. I’ve also included a few photos I took on my phone during rides. They universally fail to capture the breathtaking beauty of my surroundings. I guess it’s about as much as you can expect from a cell-phone camera.
Keeping a public journal does not come naturally to me. I would greatly appreciate any input that readers have to offer. If you have any comments or suggestions for topics to cover, they would be more than welcome. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.