Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


20 January 2011

Training Grounds.

With Colorado my home base more than the Dandies these days, it's been nice over the last month to mix up the training in a completely different environment.  No doubt the number one difference between the two places is the altitude, despite both being classified as mountainous regions! The city of Denver sits at 5280ft, or around 1600m, so straight away the walk to the car carrying your bike bag is quite the effort, leaving you wondering just what you did pack!  With the higher altitude comes also a much drier environment, and namely some solid advantages there is that the washing dries super quick and so too do the roads after a quick down pour.  But on the negative side of the page, with thinner air more UV rays penetrate through as I found out after one rollers session in just my bibs leaving a nasty pattern on my back for months!  Kat wasn't too impressed as you could imagine.

I took this photo a few years back and is a solid representation of a typical winters day in the Dandies.  Some people might cringe at the thought of being out on the bike on a day like this, but for me it's pretty majestic.

Terrain wise, although both being mountainous, it's very hard to compare the two.  Locally around the Nongs I would think most climbs average around the 15-25min mark to complete, perhaps with the exception of the bastardly steep Terry's Ave that depending on how much zig-zagging you do it could take you anywhere up to three days.  Contrast this to Colorado, and your looking at some pretty impressive canyon roads that could have you climbing for 1-2hrs depending on which one you choose.  Sure there are some shorter climbs around, but if you want to settle in for a long grind then they are definitely there waiting for you!  Combine this with the altitude that could see you reach well over 10,000ft (3000m) then you're really in for some fun and games.  I recall a training ride a few years ago with now SRAM employee Ben Raby at which one point we could hardly string our sentences together correctly thanks to the lack of O2 in our brains messing things up.

 Feeling in the toes or no feeling in the toes, Colorado sure can turn on the serenity.  Probably one of the rare cold weather shots as most times the thought of getting the gloves off to pull the camera outta the pocket is fleeting and never eventuates!

You know growing up in the Nongs I thought I had a pretty good hard man up bringing in terms of weather conditions.  At 600m the temps are always colder than Melbourne, plus the winters feature a fair amount of rain and fog to keep you honest.  However, perspective is a great thing, and after spending last winter in Colorado things were pretty balmy back in Ferny Creek!  Colorado gets cold.  Really cold!  Like days where you want to get on the bike a 9am but you have to wait till around noon before the temps might just creep over into the positive side of the gauge.  But here's the thing, it could well be blue skies and sun out, but it doesn't make a lick of difference as it's still frigidly freezing!  And I'll admit it, there has been days where it was a little silly to be out there and have come back completely shattered to the point of losing my mind and body going into semi-shock. The quickest remedy always seems to be getting straight into bed (yes still in the lycra) and cocoon yourself under the covers till homeostasis is achieved once more!  Then it's to the rollers to finish the ride.  Yes, you always gotta finish the workout!


Jamey said...

Wow chris, I really dig your writing and you're lookin good in the new kit! Can we expect the chris winn story when its all said and done? Lookin forward seeing ya mate.

Chris Winn said...

Thanks Jamey! Great to hear from ya mate and hope the training is going well.

Hopefully be back in a month so be good to catch ya back in Colorado. Say hi to Jen for us!


Kat said...

Crazy Winnie. Didn't any of the locals tell you that when it's below 30 you're supposed to trade the bike in for a snow sport? BTW, did those bib short tan lines ever go away? Your readers want to know!

Chris Winn said...

Snow sport, snow sport....can you play cricket in the snow?

Bib lines faded and I have learned my lesson. It was ugly.