Autumn will begin on Wednesday. That’s the official start, anyway. Unofficially, autumn has been here since August 31st or thereabouts. It was then that the days became noticeably shorter, the mornings noticeably colder, the leaves a noticeably less uniform green. Things are unraveling quickly. We’re still getting an occasional burst of summer, but have we seen the last of the 80° days in 2021? In the 10-day forecast there are no 80° days and only one 70° day. On Wednesday we might be lucky just to hit 60°. And with overnight temperatures dipping into the low 40s this week I may be turning on the furnace and forgetting all about the air conditioner until next July.
Fortunately, I have no cycling mileage goals for the remainder of September. I will be happy with whatever I get. My real focus will be on climbing: I want to climb at least 1,000 feet on every ride between now and October 1st. That’s not guaranteed around here, and I certainly won’t find it on the Eisenbahn State Trail. I plan to spend the bulk of my time in the Town of Wayne (Washington County’s northwest corner) and in the Northern Kettle Moraine.
When October rolls around I will be in my native Pennsylvania. My vacation will feature some cycling, but in a sense it will be the end of my season. On my return to Wisconsin I will ramp up my cross-training program. More than ever before, this year I have continued to cross-train throughout the cycling season. But autumn, for all of its sickening crimes against cycling, really is the time for those other activities to shine. I plan to walk more, hike more, ruck more, and return to longer and more structured strength training workouts in the home gym. I will be only a fair weather cyclist for the rest of the year.
This morning I reached a walking milestone: 100 walks since I started tracking on Garmin Connect this time last year. And with my next walk I will surpass 300 miles of walking in 2021. Garmin treats hiking and walking as distinct activities, so my hikes have not contributed to these totals. There’s a lot more of this to come in the next three months.
And then what? I’m still thinking about a smart trainer and a Zwift membership to get me through the deepest, darkest months of winter. If something as simple as a Garmin Forerunner GPS-enabled sports watch can make me train more by turning my non-cycling workouts into a game, then how much more would I get out of indoor cycling with Zwift? I hesitate purely on financial grounds. If I could have the equipment and the membership for free, then I would grab it in an instant.