Out of the Cold

Okay, I guess we gloated about our mild winter weather once too often. Because now we’re encased in a sheet of ice that is about 1/3 inch thick and 75 miles wide.

Just last Saturday, I rode my bike for a little over an hour on the rolling backroads to our south. The weather, while a bit windy, was quite comfortable for riding in shorts and a short-sleeve jersey. Sunny skies, no problems of any kind; the highlight of this uneventful ride was when I ran over a license plate that someone had lost. Told you it was uneventful!

That was Saturday. Sunday was pretty and mild, too. Monday was cloudy, and the wind started shifting gradually around to the north. By 11:00 Monday night our windows started rattling. Rain, sleet, gale-force winds that tried to jerk the front door open if we so much as unlocked it.

Tuesday dawned to reveal an icy lawn, driveway, sidewalks, street, trees… No trash pickup, no way to get to the appointments I had made; no bicycling . . . oh wait — we CAN bicycle… indoors! See, about 45 minutes after Secondborn moved to Denton for college, we had set up his “old” room as a workout room. There’s a TV in there now (unlike when he lived here :P), and two indoor trainers (frames for holding a bike stationary so you can ride it inside). Brent and I can play cycling workout DVDs and ride together. I like this because no matter how much I might slack off, I never get left behind.

Some of the DVDs are of the “Spin Class” persuasion, where a coach tells you what to do: this RPM, that RPM, gear up, gear down, etc. There’s also a rather terrifying race simulation one, with real helmet-cam race footage. But my favorite is one that came from virtualriderhd.com. It is a nice, normal ride along some coastal highway in Australia. The camera shoots from a motorcycle that follows an actual rider, so if you set up close enough to the screen and squint a little, you can fool yourself into feeling like you are outside on the road. There’s a “gradient” indicator that cues you to change gears: shift to a harder gear to simulate climbs, and lighten up to simulate descents. Sometimes the DVD cues you to try to beat the guy in a sprint, or stand out of the saddle and chase him up a hill.

The best thing about it, besides the illusion of riding with somebody on the road, is that all the cues are visual. With no audible instructions to worry about, you can turn down the background “cadence” music and crank up something that you like to listen to. Well, the real best thing is that you can stay in out of the cold and still work out.

If, like me, you are stuck indoors and find yourself battling cabin fever, I encourage you to get creative and find ways to exercise anyway. Maybe you already do Pilates or use a treadmill — but if you don’t have “real” indoor workouts in place, how about turning some other activity into exercise? For example, if I run out of sedentary things to catch up on, I’ll probably break down and start cleaning house. Loud music can help give the tamest chores a little cardio boost, besides making them more fun. Less un-fun. Whatever. Anything to shake off the inertia.

What is your inclement-weather exercise solution? Do tell!

This morning I’m linking up with the Company Girls for an extra cup of hot coffee!

Thanks for reading!
Tailwinds,
Jan

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15 Responses to Out of the Cold

  1. Jen Ferguson says:

    I have to admit — the ice storm hit just in time for my week of non-running (recovering from the half marathon). Although, now I’m starting to get a bit itchy and hope that I can get in a run this weekend (looking like Sunday at this point). Cleaning house is great exercise. Not sure I’m that itchy…

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    • Jan says:

      I know; I’d rather park my rear in my desk chair and blog about cleaning house than actually do anything about it. Congratulations on finishing the half!

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  2. Brent Johnson says:

    I never can tell if I’m winning these indoor rides or not since your bike is positioned a little ahead of mine.

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  3. diane says:

    At least you found a way to work off the excess energy from being house-bound. Up here where we have four months of cold, we go out anyway (well, *other* people do =) and ski, snowshoe, ice skate, or walk around looking at ice sculptures (international ice carving competition in a town near here). Brrr. I’d rather stay in and clean!

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    • Jan says:

      Hey, if I didn’t exercise some, I’d fill in the time just eating (and sitting at the computer). We have been outside with the dogs, but only for 5-10 minutes at a time. I saw some video on the local news, of someone north of Dallas ice-skating on her street. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Lea says:

    Well, can I just say that Spring cannot get here quick enough. I love to be out and about and I’ve inside, for what seems to be an eternity. First, I had puemonia and then the weather turned icky, so I’m definitely longing for warmer, sunshiny days. :o)

    I have been walking on a treadmill for probably 20 years. It’s not that I like it all that much but I want to do some kind of exercise and it seems to “fit the bill.”

    Have a lovely week-end!

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    • Jan says:

      I’m with you, Lea. Bring on the spring! I am glad you are not sick any more.
      Hm, treadmill would be good, especially if it’s set up in front of some sort of distraction. Thanks for taking time to comment!

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  5. Rooh says:

    I like that idea! I’ve always wondered about those indoor trainer stands (and whether or not I’d fall over), but with the tv and video going, it sounds pretty darned neat! We got a lot of snow too, but I’m in Ontario, Canada, and we are used to it. Well, those of us north of Toronto – they’re such winers about it all, LOL!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today, and have a great weekend! (and make sure your bike stays in front!)

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    • Jan says:

      What a coincidence… we Texans are all starting to think we accidentally moved to Ontario! I do recommend the trainer, especially one that offers some graduated resistance. I appreciate the comment.

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  6. Katharine says:

    I shouldn’t whine, I am Canadian and used to snow, but sometimes I drool over descriptions like yours of warms days, bike shorts, and milder temps! I have a mini trampoline that is providing me with exercise until I can get out walking again!
    Thanks for the Mango Salsa idea… and I think I’m cheering … yellow/green!

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    • Jan says:

      Glad I could offer a good / easy / healthy option. If you’re cheering for yellow/green, then serve the salsa with green tortilla chips. That is, if you have the guacamole-flavored ones up there…
      Oooh. Mini-tramp. Now THAT sounds fun!

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