It’s not about sitting on a couch and watching football for us Troupers. Westworld episodes, perhaps. However they’re only an hour long. And seeing as how we’re perfectly located to be able to ride and train throughout the winter around here, many of us do. 

Some of us have early season long-distance endurance races, so logging the miles in the cold and the rain has been under way. For others it’s a time to do some traveling, some family-visits, and to enjoy the occasional cross-country ski or trail run. But for the most part it’s just about having fun. Getting out for long rides in the Santa Ana's, leaving the heart rate monitors at home, dusting off the baggies and knee pads, and stopping for longer than one would care to admit for some epic views and mountain-top breaks. 10am start-time weekend coffee-tasting road rides, long mixed-media gravel-grinder rides where we say an emphatic “yes!” to that weird trail off to the side.

The break, if you could call it that, is a welcome respite. And we are certainly taking advantage and enjoying the heck out of it, and we hope you are, too. Because come a few weeks from now, we will be antsy and itching to race, finding ourselves grateful to live in a place where late-January MTB races exist, dying to toe a starting line again and redline our heart rates. 

However in the meantime, we say "cheers!" to not setting the alarm for 5am on weekends, "cheers!" to getting on our bikes with no real plan for the day, and "cheers!" to refilling our pint glasses with another afterwards!

Tim VanGilder

mission viejo