I was just looking at my training log, and my Monday ride came back to me with full force.
We were hammered by late-season snows on Sunday up here in eastern North America. "Hammered" might be too strong a word, since, although 15 cm fell, most of that melted pretty quickly. Still, snow on the last weekend in April is pretty hard to take, even in Canada, so I had to blow off a ride on Sunday.
Monday dawned with a substantial amount of snow on the ground and melt coursing along the streets. A road ride was out, so I decided to take my cyclocross bike out to Mount Royal [my cross stomping grounds -- I'll post some pictures I took on Easter Sunday to give you an idea]. It was about 5C, and the caleche road and trails were covered in sticky, squidgy white stuff; where there wasn't snow, there was slushy mud and muddy slush.
It was wonderful.
A good part of the caleche road was impassible due to the snow [it was the kind of show that packs like a slick-topped gel saddle and gives no traction], so I focused on the top loop, which is about 2.5 km of dirt road. Near the top of the climb, there's a rough-hewn stone stairway up to the cross at the top of the mountain [this is Quebec, after all], with a narrow goat path of about 300m leading to a short, heavily eroded run-up before descending and starting the loop all over again. It's all quite picturesque, with a beautiful view of the city beyond the trees of the park.
I did the loop repeatedly for an hour -- grind up the muddy climb on the caleche road, dismount, run up the stairs, mount, down the goat path, dismount, run up the hill, mount, descend, start again. My HR peaked at 164 at the cross, and 172 on the third and second-to-last runs. I was covered with mud, soaked through, with my head pulsing from the effort.
I had a blast!
It occurred to me that I was getting back to the roots of the sport; trying to get a workout on a cold, snowy day when the roads were impassible. I flattered myself that I was racing Dufraisse and Morenhout and holding my own. That wasn't hard, considering that the only people around were a couple of [very cute female] Montreal horse cops patrolling the park. [They thought I was nuts.]
With the 30 minutes it took me to warm up and get to the park and the 20 minutes it took to get off the mountain, not to mention my hour-or-so in the mud, I got a good 2-hour workout and felt very close to the roots of the sport.
In a strange way, I can't wait for it to snow again.