Challenges in February …

I took on this STRAVA Challenge in February to walk 4 days a week for 4 weeks.

It wasn’t difficult. Since COVID, I walk most days regardless. What was different is that I considered these walks as workouts, progressively walking further, faster, and climbing more. I have often spoken about the local park located at the top of “Little Mountain“, where I have trained on my bike for many years. Since COVID, it has become my go-to place, where I walk, ride, do repeat hill climbs, relax on a bench, take photographs, and stay safe.

Each walk is 90-120 minutes long. I climb up-and-over the top of “Little Mountain“, and I usually stop for a coffee and muffin along the way. Two of my favourite local coffee roasters are nearby. Each has outdoor seating, but one in particular has an outdoor patio facing the afternoon sun, comfortable chairs, and overhead heaters. This is usually where I stop.

In the warmer weather I cycle, but this time of year outside rides are not much fun. As least not for me. So, instead I walk. And, like when I ride, I search out the steepest routes I can find. When I first began this routine, the climb to the top was difficult, and slow. Yesterday, I did it 6 times from different directions. And, surprisingly, I felt like I could have done more.

This is my time. I always walk alone, but never feel lonely. I have said this before. On the contrary, I’m comfortable with my thoughts. Every day I photograph things that interest me. Things I never knew were there before. When the lighting is right, I may take as many as 10-20 photographs. Many I keep, and some I post on STRAVA along with the walk. I return feeling relaxed, and energized.

When Spring arrives, I will cycle more, and walk less. Maybe. I say maybe because I look forward to these walks, and believe they are good for both my physical, and mental health. Of course, cycling is as well, but the slower pace, and reduced effort, is more relaxing making me more aware of my surroundings. The smells, lighting, and found objects. On a bike, I race by.

I have been cycling indoors with a smart trainer. Initially, I thought I would only do this during the winter. Now I’m not sure. I find that I can do an effective workout in less time, easily vary the difficulty of a ride, not worry about traffic, or the weather.

I also completed a STRAVA Cycling Challenge in February.

Ok. I know. 400 km is not a lot in a month. But, and this is a big but, those km were more focused, and harder than they would have been on the road. They included more elevation gain than I could do locally. I was climbing in the Dolomites, Pyrenees, Alps, and Mallorca. Sometimes, I was even racing with professional cycling teams.

So, this is what I think. I think I’ll continue to train indoors, just not as much. Maybe only a few times a week, or as a warmup to a ride outside. I’m not sure about this, but that is what I’m thinking right now. Like my daily walks, these indoor smart trainer sessions have been more enjoyable, and beneficial, than I expected.

The walks have kept me local, learning more about my community, and appreciating it more. The smart trainer sessions have me travelling, at least virtually, all over the world completing epic, exhilarating rides.

It’s no so bad.