Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rest Day

Back in New Hampshire, I'm beginning to feel a rested feeling return to my body. As I plop down to type, my heart rate is 35bpm. I haven't felt this relaxed in weeks. Cathy and I have just returned from an enjoyable week in Michigan, although a bit hectic at times.  Having lived in New England for 15 years now, new friendships have been forged, and old ones have faded away. Time and distance will do that. Both our families are from west Michigan. Going back to Michigan once or twice a year is mainly about maintaining family ties now and less about seeing old friends. This gives me a bit more liberty with "play time."

I have virtually zero will power when it comes to treats, eating healthy and eating reasonable portions. Over the holidays, I'm an epic failure in all three areas. Treats abound at every family event. Just one turns into two turns into five. Just can't help myself. Then factor in typical Dutch fare. Maybe only a little healthier than southern cuisine.  Potatoes of all kinds are loaded, my mom makes a sausage strudel that people would kill for, everything is better with real butter or gravy on it, etc. With food this yummy, there's no way to eat reasonable portions, especially if you based portions on caloric or saturated fat content. The way I exercise restraint at home is to not bring this food into the house in the first place. I have the will to do that, but not to leave it alone if it's readily accessible.

So I started running a  caloric calculus. Was my energy expenditure commensurate with my caloric intake? No freaking way! Even though I was averaging about 2hrs of rigorous aerobic exercise per day, I suspected I was burning only half the increase in my normal daily intake. And I pretty much drove myself right into the ground with two runs, two skate skis and four rides. My spirit was willing, but my body became weak.

I did manage to ride two brand new riding destinations in west Michigan. One is very close to my home town Holland, called the Upper Macatawa Trails. MMBA just got permission this fall to begin building MTB specific trails on the 600+ acre conservation parcel. I suspect this nested loop system will be wildly popular when complete, as there is nothing like it nearby. I did not get to ride all of what had been completed so far, as the soil is clay based and the day warmed enough for the ground to thaw, rendering the trails unrideable. I did the right thing and bailed.

The other new area are the Merrell Trails near Grand Rapids. These trails wrap around a closed landfill on land that has quite a bit of elevation change (for west Michigan). I was blown away by the 10+ kilometers of trails built there so far. The whole system is essentially a pump track. Two runs drop the maximum possible elevation on the parcel, 150 feet or so, and are non-stop jumps and berms. Air can be had every few seconds with solid compressions around berms. A short network, but easily the funnest trail I've ridden in Michigan. Fort Custer Rec Area still remains my favorite place due to variety and total miles of trails, but the Merrell Trails pack a much more potent fun-factor punch.

I was fortunate to get in a little of all three of my athletic passions while in Michigan, running, biking and skiing. Local snow was minor enough to impact trail riding negligibly. No studs were needed. I had to work a little to ski though, as in drive to where the snow was. The snow was good. The body, well, rusty on snow. First snow this season felt pretty awkward, despite several sessions on rollerskis.

Saturday was a planned rest day, first in a while, driving back from Michigan. A sucky way to get rest, especially driving in a snow storm. Returning to abundant snow in northern New Hampshire, it was time to prep my new Salomon race skis. Hope this pair works for me, as the last pair of top-end Atomic's never felt right to me and were slow. I think they were too stiff. I'll leave you with a few random photos from over the past week.

Lake Michigan shoreline. Just enough ice right at edge might have
been rideable with studs. Sand further up was unfrozen and soft.

Run out to Big Red lighthouse along the Holland channel.

Some of the family clan. Mom in foreground with back to me, just
did cycling tour in the Netherlands at 70 years old. Her sister is
facing camera on left. My sister in center with three of her kids on right.

Mint corduroy conditions at Crystal Mountain.

Buff jumps and berms at Merrell Trails.

Perma-gloom skies typical of most of the winter in west Michigan 
from top of Crystal Mountain.

Riding the trenches at Fort Custer.

Prep'ing the new Salomon skis.

1 comment:

Rob Hult said...

run bike ski !!! two thumbs up. i eat and drink like a pg this time of year too. it's part of the process, hahaha.