Adventures of Cycling the C&O Canal Through the GAP

Lost in Time

After the second day of our 7-day adventure of cycling the C&O Canal through the GAP (Great Alleghany Passage) from of Washington DC to Pittsburg – I had found that time had become a meaningless blur of green foliage and the endless crunch of tires on gravel. I was lost in time and I felt as if we had been on this gravel path for months.

Perhaps it was the rich history of the C&O Canal pulling me away from reality or perhaps it was the strong and steady pace we maintained through the continuous tunnel of forest. Time moves differently here. To the green tunnel, it was just another summer on planet Earth without a particular year. It could have been 1817 or 2017. However: in 1817 we may have terrified the mules on the C&O Canal towpath.

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Off-Season Switch Up

To the disappointment of many and the exhilaration of a few hard-riding fools – the debate about whether or not to go ‘off-season’ is continuously leaning towards consistent training verses an abandonment of strict discipline in favor of late mornings, leisurely base miles, and general enjoyment. It has historically been a time when a racer pulled out the old winter bike, enjoyed a comfortable coffee with mates, and generally didn’t focus much on a training regime.

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Battling the Wind

No, I’m not reminiscing about the occurrences after binge-eating Mexican food. What I’m talking about here is REAL wind… you know the pushy, back-talking, grabby atmospheric stuff that you sometimes encounter during your training ride. The wind that trashes your mph average and leaves you frustrated, sore, and exhausted.

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Off Season Over-Dressing Syndrome (O.SODS)

It has only taken me 8 years to figure out how to not over-dress during the winter. I’m kind of slow at some things apparently. I’m not fond of cold weather: especially of damp, windy, and gloomy bike rides. I’m also incredibly stubborn in my loathing of any sort of trainer work-out. So: I ride outside anyway and naturally, I want to bundle up like the kid in the ‘Christmas Story’.

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Off Season: Are Base Miles Just Bunk?

There’s some discussion bouncing around the internet between whether building slower-pace winter base miles or shorter, harder intensity efforts is the way to go to prepare for race season. Josh Horowitz, coach and trainer, says that Off-Season Training is just a myth. It’s all very interesting and can get technical with discussions of elevating your VO2 Max, increasing blood flow to the muscles, etc… Sounds great, but which training regime is best?

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