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Winter Drought Makes for July Riding in January

Winter here in California is the warm and unfriendly kind.

Check out the temperature gradient (purple) in the graph below: 30 minutes into the ride the sun has set over the hills and I’m wearing a summer jersey and not cold at all. I’ve had colder rides in the middle of July. But this is the dead of winter.

And so it goes for weeks now—a terrific drought from a high pressure blocking ridge which is delivering absolutely perfect riding weather.

There will be nasty consequences for California (and the nation) this year if the blocking ridge doesn’t move aside and let some torrential winter storms roll in. Fields will have to be fallowed, rationing becomes a certainty in many areas, fire risk is already serious, maybe even the trout in my favorite Yosemite creek will be killed off as the normally dry watercourse goes entirely dry.

Workout graph

The graph below is 68 minutes of an 81 minute workout; it shows a strong effort (for me) this time of year (231 watts at heart rate of 134 bpm).

The training effects are already showing up as higher wattage at a lower heart rate; I typically see a 10-15 beat drop in heart rate for the same wattage from poorest to peak condition over the course of the year. So far, things are looking positive for a very strong year, though I’m having real difficulty losing any weight. Hopefully that’s fat loss and muscle gain trading places! But my body just hates being starved in the winter; I think it’s hormonal and tied to seasonal cues of sunlight and similar.

Note on graph: my heart rate readings have bene showing these annoying spikes lately. I’m unsure if its interference or something else.

Graph from SRM Mac software showing power, heart rate, elevation profile, temperature
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