Sometimes The Only Thing Left To Do Is Cyclocross

Yup, it feels that way sometimes.

When Jeff sent me the email informing me I was picked to be on the Singletracks blog team, I almost turned him down. At the time I sent in my application I was living in Philadelphia, a 15 minute ride from the sweetest trails imaginable in Fairmount Park and I had a stable of bikes in the garage to suit my mood on any given day. But by the time his email came I had moved to Madison, Wisconsin for a new job without a single bike. I was living in a hotel (still am) and didn’t even know where the trails were. But I’m working on it.

Seeing as it’s winter in Wisconsin at the moment, hitting the trails isn’t in the cards right now so I’ve done the next best thing: I bought a bike that will be my workhorse and jack-of-all-trades: a 2011 Trek Gary Fisher Collection Presidio cyclocross bike. I chose the bike for the sweet steel frame and great 2×10 drivetrain but most of all for the ability to mount fenders. Bad weather and wet roads have never been an excuse to keep me indoors so I wanted the bike to be ready for anything. So on went a pair of fluted Velo Orange aluminum fenders and now me and the bike stay nice and dry (well, drier anyway).

When the snow started coming down I was happy to have a good headlight for visibility and the Bar Mitts to keep my hands cozy.

On my first ride in over a month it felt great to start getting back into shape for when the snow melts. I’ll be using this cyclocross bike as a commuter, a light off-road steed, and an around town bike to tackle the snow covered trails that tie Madison’s neighborhoods together. Today I got in 35 chilly, hilly miles doing a dry run on the route I’ll take when I start commuting to the office. It’s humbling to realize how little time I spent in the big ring, but after a winter lazy spell you’ve got to start somewhere.

Since the cold, snowy weather will be around for a while longer (so I’m told by the locals) I’ll have some non-singletrack posts to fill the time until the thaw. I’m almost through reading the book Bicycle Technology and a review will be up soon. I’ll also be starting an MTB-specific strength training program to get pumped for the season. Hopefully between that and my cyclocross miles I’ll be ready for the dirt in short order.

And the sooner I can ditch this gear, the better.

When the snow is flying and the wind is blowing, the less skin exposed, the better.