Okay, I guess we gloated about our mild winter weather once too often. Because now we’re encased in a sheet of ice that is about 1/3 inch thick and 75 miles wide.
Just last Saturday, I rode my bike for a little over an hour on the rolling backroads to our south. The weather, while a bit windy, was quite comfortable for riding in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey. Sunny skies, no problems of any kind; the highlight of this uneventful ride was when I ran over a license plate that someone had lost. Told you it was uneventful!
That was Saturday. Sunday was pretty and mild, too. Monday was cloudy, and the wind started shifting gradually around to the north. By 11:00 Monday night our windows started rattling. Rain, sleet, gale-force winds that tried to jerk the front door open if we so much as unlocked it.
Tuesday dawned to reveal an icy lawn, driveway, sidewalks, street, trees… No trash pickup, no way to get to the appointments I had made; no bicycling . . . oh wait — we CAN bicycle… indoors! See, about 45 minutes after Secondborn moved to Denton for college, we had set up his “old” room as a workout room. There’s a TV in there now (unlike when he lived here :P), and two indoor trainers (frames for holding a bike stationary so you can ride it inside). Brent and I can play cycling workout DVDs and ride together. I like this because no matter how much I might slack off, I never get left behind.
Some of the DVDs are of the “Spin Class” persuasion, where a coach tells you what to do: this RPM, that RPM, gear up, gear down, etc. There’s also a rather terrifying race simulation one, with real helmet-cam race footage. But my favorite is one that came from virtualriderhd.com. It is a nice, normal ride along some coastal highway in Australia. The camera shoots from a motorcycle that follows an actual rider, so if you set up close enough to the screen and squint a little, you can fool yourself into feeling like you are outside on the road. There’s a “gradient” indicator that cues you to change gears: shift to a harder gear to simulate climbs, and lighten up to simulate descents. Sometimes the DVD cues you to try to beat the guy in a sprint, or stand out of the saddle and chase him up a hill.
The best thing about it, besides the illusion of riding with somebody on the road, is that all the cues are visual. With no audible instructions to worry about, you can turn down the background “cadence” music and crank up something that you like to listen to. Well, the real best thing is that you can stay in out of the cold and still work out.
If, like me, you are stuck indoors and find yourself battling cabin fever, I encourage you to get creative and find ways to exercise anyway. Maybe you already do Pilates or use a treadmill — but if you don’t have “real” indoor workouts in place, how about turning some other activity into exercise? For example, if I run out of sedentary things to catch up on, I’ll probably break down and start cleaning house. Loud music can help give the tamest chores a little cardio boost, besides making them more fun. Less un-fun. Whatever. Anything to shake off the inertia.
What is your inclement-weather exercise solution? Do tell!
This morning I’m linking up with the Company Girls for an extra cup of hot coffee!
Thanks for reading!