Winter is the time of year when we start planning for the next Triathlon / Biking season.
(Yes, I know it's not winter yet, technically. But it's damn near December, we've already driven through one major snow storm, and that's close enough.)
Our season wraps up in mid-September, when fall chores catch up with us and the weather turns cold on weekend mornings when we prefer to get out and ride. At the end of the season, the idea of another event makes my stomach twist. By the beginning of October, I'm burned out, tired, and very much wanting to spend a few Saturday morning snug in my bed instead of getting up to load bikes and drive to some race venue.
Something funny happens in November, and by December, the plans begin anew. By late December, all kinds of crazy things are possible. Charity bike ride the next town over? Sure. Triathlon series that bounces around the state - 7 races in 6 months? Sounds great. Half-Ironman Swim-Bike (no-run) a full timezone away with a $250 entry fee, 2 nights at a hotel, dinners (i.e. about a $1000 weekend for a 4 hour race)? Well, I should do it this year since I'll already be in shape. Multi-state thousand mile bike ride? Sign me up.
Everything seems more plausible when it's 6-9mo away. I was barely able to take the trash out this morning, and here I am plotting thousands of miles of training and races. How exactly does that happen?
The first piece of it is of course the absence from the bike. It's easy to forget why you enjoy the sport; getting some time away gives perspective. Most seasons I end up taking most of Oct and Nov off so I can get settled for winter. I spin a bit at the gym, but the long hours on the bike are done for awhile.
The second piece is the family events that pop up in the holiday season. Chatting with friends and my brothers about all the great past events we've done makes me pine for events of the future. It's not a competition thing - my brothers and I don't overtly compete with each other - it's the shared memories and the "wouldn't it be cool if...." factor.
Anyway, I typed all that so I can type this: Next year, I'm looking at more bike distance, fewer Triathlons. We did three multisport events this year, and I'd dial that back to one, maybe zero. In exchange, I'm hoping to knock a couple of events off my biking bucket list. Some of these are specific charity rides nearby that I'd been meaning to do. The big one is the Imperial Century (100mi). Most bikers hit this in their first couple seasons; it has eluded me. Several times I've been trained up but the weather on the appointed day didn't cooperate. A couple of times I punted in order to ride with family at a slower pace, knowing as I did it that it would put me off pace to finish the target mileage. This year's plans are focusing around several possible Imperial Century attempts in case one or more doesn't pan out.
And we'll see how it goes.