A new winter cycling route … 🤔

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I live right down there. If you look carefully, you can see my house from this lookout.

I have often talked about my ride home. I live atop a mountain. A large hill really. Every ride home ends with a 3 km climb, parts as steep as 9% in some sections depending on the route. There is no question, this regular climb has made me a better, stronger cyclist.

I like to roll out the back gate and head north, west, or south to my favourite routes. The problem is I have to travel 10-15 km on the bikeways before reaching streets with little traffic and no stop lights where I can cycle uninterrupted. Usually, I don’t mind but now the cooler, wetter weather has arrived, I began thinking about alternatives.

On one of the GCN videos about winter cycling, they suggested not cycling as far during the winter, but harder. Get out, even in the bad weather, ride for less time, but harder. This got me thinking.

I’m not quite at the top of this little mountain. Almost, but not quite. Half a kilometre up the road, there is a large park with a paved road that snakes up to the summit pictured above. Despite living in the area for 35 years, I have never cycled in this park. I walk it a lot. But, I have never cycled in it.

Well, I did this week. And, to my surprise, discovered the road in the park is an excellent workout. It snakes up one side, and down the other. One loop is 5 km of either climbing, or descending. There are no flat sections. And there are two steep grades that average about 10%. In 45 minutes, I did 3 laps, and completed a zone 3/4 workout.

So, I have a new winter workout. It is close to the house. The road is smooth with very little, if any, traffic, particularly this time of year. It is all climbing and descending. Two of the climbs, at the beginning and end of the loop, are steep.

It’s a perfect winter cycling workout. It’s difficult, technical, and taxing where I can work on my climbing and descending skills. I plan to make this a weekly workout, regardless of the weather.

Thanks GCN for helping me rethink where, and when, I ride. It’s good to think out-of-the-box sometimes.

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Here’s the thing … 🤔

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Here’s the thing.

Since returning from Camp PedalWORKS, and completing the Whistler Gran Fondo, I have lost focus. I still ride, and train. Perhaps more than ever. But I have lost direction. And, I’m certainly not motivated to write.

I need a new goal.

I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos. And, sharing some of them with you (instead of writing). Videos about riding skills, training on the bike and in the gym, touring, bike maintenance, and much more. GCN, Cycling Weekly, Bike Radar, Bicycle Touring Pro, The Vegan Cyclist, Bike Fit Adviser, and Ride On Cycling are my current favourite channels. Not to mention Netflix series like Suits, House of Cards, and The Crown, but that is a whole other discussion. I watch riders of all levels attempt, and complete the RAAM. I have watched the remarkable achievements of Mark Hall, and numerous tributes to him since his untimely death. I have watched Mark Beaumont cycle around the world in 78 days. That’s just crazy!

I’m not about to race around the world. Or, to attempt the RAAM. But, even at my age, I believe I can improve my cycling skills, get fitter, cycle longer, and even faster. I am heading to Phoenix, Arizona for a week in early December to attend my daughter’s grad school graduation. And, I’m going to take my carbon bike. Lou. The weather will be warmer and dryer with lots of new routes to explore.

Maybe this trip will give me the inspiration I need. Shake me up. That’s what I need. New hills to climb. New routes to ride. And, new cyclists to share the roads with.

So, I need your help. I have a TC-1 hard case that I have used for years, but it is on its last legs. When I travel, I worry it will break open and all the parts will spread all over the tarmac.  I am considering a soft case from EVOC like this one.

What do you think?

Have you used one? Did you like it? Would you recommend it?

Please let me know.