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The last month of the year, when I can maybe get a bit of a jump on next years fitness. Maybe.

I’ve finally got a good jump on resurrecting my old training, equipment and gear tracking spreadsheet from ages ago. I’d lost the old EXCEL file somewhere along the way and of course began relying on Strava to maintain the metrics. When I quit Strava a while ago, I lost all that due to deleting my account. But, I have a data point for the odometer for the Roubaix which is about all that matters from the Strava days. From the point I stopped Strava I still have my Wahoo head unit data so, easy enough to keep track of the odometer now.

Anyway, December started off as November ended, slowly recovering from yet another cold. No, there is nothing dread wrong with my health, just grand parent after school child care magnate here suffering the rewards of time well spent with our grandson. There is simply no greater joy. At this point a few more days and I’m back to cycling. As we can open the house more, I figure these serial infections will slow.

I hope.

The plan here is to work in heart rate zone two more and burn off this flabby middle with long rides beginning a bit earlier than have been my habit. My diet and daily routine are slowly working into a habit. My body has figured out when I should be getting ready. I now get going on the nightly routine beginning about 8:00pm. I want at least an hour to read before turning off the lights for sleep at 10. This I figure will eventually lead to waking closer to 6:00, or 6:30, come morning. And that will get me on the bike by about 8:30 or so. That I figure is about as early as rush hour traffic on surface streets will allow.

My diet is working out pretty well. I’ve been able to slowly trim my portions to more reasonable size. I’ve paused all alcohol intake until I reach my weight goal. At least that long. This may last longer as I’ve found I don’t really have much craving for any libations. Meals I’d normally accompany with a couple glasses of wine don’t hold that over my head. Cocktail hour recalls a steaming mug of tea and a short read if anything. It has been pretty nice to experience this result so far. Each of those wine glasses are about 600 calories which works out to about 50 km of my once usual route, or about two hours cycling. Replacing those glasses of wine with water means those two hours I rode are now focused on my middle rather than barely breaking even. Portion control and elimination of junk food will be and is a continuing struggle, though not a out and out bar fight, just a jostling a bit here and there. Replacing chips/crisps with sliced fruit is my favorite, but not a consistent trick enough to become routine. But, we are working on it. My wife and I both hold this up as a goal, so strength in numbers and all that. As I’ve grown older, sweets have been less and less a part of my cravings. All I really need work on are the celebration sweets that seem never ending when loads of family pile their birthdays into this time of year. From Halloween candy to Christmas candy, wave after wave of sweets. I’m trying hard to slow the tide and wade out of the sugary surf. The other day we stopped for a light lunch and I ordered a flat white and a butter croissant. I found I preferred that to a pain au chocolat. Walking four or five miles helped to burn those calories.

Eventually these longer rides will have a coffee stop in the middle somewhere. So far I’ve not found the right spot. More routing and exploring to follow.

Finally my first week of riding in December. A cold then travel for a week have left me beginning the week prior to Christmas. Our weather is warming to epic, so I need to make hay while the sun shines. My first ride was wearing Voler base layer under an old Specialized winter jersey, GCN Castelli leg warmers and a Voler vest. I never felt overly warm. Zipping and unzipping and re-zipping the vest, but never tempted to remove it on that first day. The second day was as seen above, Castelli GCN leg and arm warmers, Voler base layer and summer jersey. Perfect. A bit chilly on the first few miles along the coast and the last few along the coast back, but otherwise as good as it gets. Temperatures varied around 15°C. My pace was slow these first two rides on my flat-ish route out to Ortega and Antonio and back. On Monday I had a group of folks who looked to be about my age come by on my final flat leg of the ride along the Coast Highway. I shifted to the big ring and spun up the middle of the cogs to ride the rear of the group. I noticed once things were settled in there was a straggler off the back. If I’d been a week more back to riding, I would have dropped back to bridge them back to the group. My legs got worked. At the final climb from North Beach through the neighborhood, I passed the whole group as they had been grinding big gears in the small part of their blocks on the flat indicating to me these were not climbers. And they weren’t. I pushed deep into the red zone anyway on that climb, just to see how my body was doing. I was beat once home, but fine. No coughing fit, just sore quads. My HR never hung so not that big of a workout for me. Still good. The next day I did a repeat of the previous route but was plenty slower. We’ve have on shore breeze that is just enough of a headwind on my warm up leg to wear me down and more than enough to use what is left on the ride back out to the coast and Dana Point Harbor. Slow, but good. I’ll take it.

December turned out to be yet another month of on/off colds thanks to pre-schoolers and proximity.

My total for the month is 288.63km, 1,634m of climbing, across twelve hours and thirteen minutes.

Total for the year 2022:

3,459.09km of riding. 19,171m of climbing and 143 hours, 33 minutes of riding. Not anywhere near where I wanted, but there it is.

I’ll get back on track as soon as I’m over this latest cold.

My goals for 2023 are still 10,000km of riding and whatever that stacks up to for climbing and however long it takes. The bike is ready and so am I.

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