Halfway through this week, my thoughts already have turned to next week and the opportunities it presents. I will be away from work but not away from home, as there is no place that meets my roadtrip criteria of warm, close and cheap. Even places as far south as Dallas and Atlanta cannot promise a full week in the 50s, which isn’t that warm anyway. I guess I’m stuck with sub-freezing temperatures and high winds, the kind of weather that is literally good for nothing and emphatically poor for cycling. I am unlikely to ride in those conditions. I would reach for the snowshoes, but there’s no snow.
So, what are my opportunities for outdoor recreation next week? Hiking is the obvious choice. It’s the epitome of close and cheap. And while there is no warm option, hiking at least will keep me out of the wind. Without leaving town I could do a 2-hour hike on the hilly and heavily-wooded Ice Age Trail:
That’s 6.2 miles of excellent cross-training, and I have never done the whole thing at once. The Ice Age Trail is going to be more than 1,000 miles long someday. About 600 miles are in service now, but in some places there are significant gaps between the finished segments. We’re lucky to have a lot of completed trail nearby and much of it is still unfamiliar to me. There are long, unbroken sections of the Ice Age Trail in the Northern Kettle Moraine. My goal for next week is to explore them.
I have not abandoned my cycling ambitions. There are cyclocross races on each of the next two Sundays, then the state championships on December 6. I am neither “in” nor “out” right now, so I will continue with indoor trainer workouts to stay ready. And with 64 more miles of outdoor riding I would have a new personal best for mileage in a calendar year. Just give me a break with the weather. In an average year we would have highs in the 40s until almost the end of November. That would be good enough, but there’s nothing like it in the forecast.