Winter Plumage; the Nat Ross diary

At one point in my life, when I was teaching High School, I had the opportunity to teach several...

At one point in my life, when I was teaching High School, I had the opportunity to teach several electives and one was Ornithology. I think that Birds are fascinating and perhaps with the paranoia of the bird flu epidemic, others will start following them more closely as well.

Birds ready themselves for the winter by thickening up their feather coat to help regulate their body temp as a sort of body heater. Molting is the process of shedding or replacing feathers, so you can see where I am going with this one. As a former Nordic ski racer, I'm used to racing in a lycra skinsuit in the cold but when I'm training for cycling, I want to be warm, dry and even a bit toasty. So I've got an amazing system of layering that I call my Winter Plumage Kit; before a winter ride I add layers and once I get going, I often have to shed, or molt, a layer.

As one can imagine, preparing for endurance events requires an insane amount of dedication and commitment. I put the bulk of my energy and focus into training during the off-season. Once I have put in the required hours (and more), it pretty much becomes a race and recover deal starting immediately after the first big endurance event. Acquiring the necessary hours to be on top of my game is not an easy task. I live in Vail, Colorado and we've had a snowy winter. Not that I am complaining, but the cold temperatures hamper my motivation.

Read the entire Nat Ross diary here.

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