Monday, November 17, 2014

Knobby tires, swinging hammers, and trainer time.

Well, I've made it through the first week of training for 2015!

My off-season went by way too fast, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I got to spend a few days with my parents in Texas before returning to Colorado where I had barely parked the car before I was on my mountain bike. My skills re-acquisition could have gone a bit smoother, leaving me with some minor scrapes and bruises, but hey, it's mountain biking. The good news is that my skills were sharp before we hit the road for Moab, one of the most famous mountain biking locations in the world. Our merry crew was filled with collegiate teammates from years past, and we enjoyed the scenery and incredible riding. For those wondering, we made sure to use our 3-days of riding well, hitting Slickrock, Klondike Bluffs, and Porcupine Rim. 29ers all-around, and most of us on hardtails. It was punishing at times, but a ton of fun.

Trying to look tough

Slickrock is nothing but an enormous sandpaper rollercoaster!

Pick a line, any line
 After another few days of trails in Colorado, Shane and I were on a plane bound for California, where we'd board a bus and drive to Mexico for my second house build. Of all the opportunities that cycling has given me, these builds are my favorite. This weekend was on my calendar before last year's build was even finished, and I knew that I had to bring Shane along this time. You can read Shane's take on the incredible trip here. The weekend ended far too soon after many friendships and memories were made, and I can't wait to go back. And there's no substitute for the perspective and thankfulness gained on a trip like that.
Hanging drywall with Tanner Foust
Our build team with the family
Shane and I returned to Colorado as Snowpocalypse 2014 hit and ended up spending the night in a hotel room just 60 miles from home after driving for 2 hours without even reaching the ring-road around Denver. After getting back to Colorado Springs the next morning just as the next snow storm started, I kicked off my 2015 season with a ride on the trainer. Then I spent the next 5 days on the trainer, too. You know it's bad when you actually go through the trouble of putting on the trainer tire. That's accepting that you won't be outside for a while!

As un-enjoyable as all that trainer time was, I got through it with relative ease with this thought: I just helped a family in Tijuana with nothing build a house, and they were so thankful. Can I really complain that I'm being paid to ride my bike inside for a week?

The first week of training is always a big adjustment, though. Mentally, it's getting back in the routine of training. There's also the readjustment of eating like a professional athlete again, moving away from the off-season indulgences. The most difficult adaption is physical, however. After a three-day block of riding, lifting weights, and running, I was moving really slow. I felt weak on the bike, fighting off the fear that I'll never regain the fitness I once had. But I've been here before and know that I just have to push through the first week. Sure enough, by the end of the week I was riding 30w higher and 10bpm lower. Training at this time of year is addictive for me because the gains come so quickly and easily. I'm so excited for next year!

Thanksgiving is coming up, and I have so much to be thankful for. I get paid to do what I love and see the world in the process. I get to meet incredible people and call them friends after a weekend spent building a house for a family in desperate need. I'm thankful for the time I get to spend with friends and family before I leave the country in 7 short weeks. Today, specifically, I'm thankful that my dad gets to celebrate his 55th birthday. He's riding a tumultuous rollercoaster, still fighting his cancer for the third time. The doctors can barely agree on what to do with him, as he's in uncharted territory. He is the cutting edge of treatment, as it is a rare patient that gets to the five-year mark. My dad is a rare one, though, and we Hagas are fighters like you wouldn't believe!

That's all for now, I hope you can all enjoy time with family next week!