I never thought I’d say this, but I’m a weekend warrior now.
I never thought I would say that because I never wanted to be one.
A weekend warrior—in relation to cycling or running or any sport, I suppose—refers to someone who only does that sport on the weekend, not during the week. Obviously?
I always thought weekend warriors were kind of pathetic. I thought it was lazy they didn’t make time for their thing during the week. I thought those people weren’t as fit as those who had the luxury of doing that thing all week. And that’s just it—it’s a luxury to be able to do what you love every day, especially ride a bike outside, amidst a demanding work or family or life schedule.
Now that my commute is quite long, I don’t have time like I used to to fit in mid-week rides. Maybe there is the time, but right now I’m not willing to get up at 4 a.m. to do a 2.5-hour ride in the dark every day. After work, there’s a weeknight riding group in Denver that meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. I could totally make one…but I haven’t yet.
So these days I’m a weekend warrior. It’s not ideal for training or progressing my fitness on the bike, but my legs have actually felt fresher lately when I sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays, make some coffee, and get out the door around 9-9:30ish.
This weekend my warrior self got out for two really good rides.
On Saturday I rode Chapman for the first time this year. The road is mostly shaded so even when the sun is shining and we’ve had several beautiful 65-degree days in a row, the snow and ice sticks around. Thankfully, I only had to get off my bike and walk it once over a slippery patch. The rest of the way was beautiful and smelled like that familiar woodsy alpine smell I missed and love so dearly.
The next day, in true weekend warrior fashion, I got back on my bike for a post-Tour of Flanders ride. I missed the 7 a.m. coffee and waffles the Rapha café dished out in favor of a little more sleep, but I got to the clubhouse just in time to watch the last 15k of the race. It was so exciting; one of the EF Education First guys (team sponsored by Rapha) won the race in an amazing breakaway sprint. The whole place erupted in applause as he crossed the line.
Just after the race finished, around 9:15 a.m., about nine of us headed out for a gravely mountain ride. The weather was absolutely amazing, the pace was challenging, and the climbing was exactly the ass-kicking I needed. We took some dirt roads out east, then looped back west into the mountains toward two short but steep climbs—Old Stage Rd. and Bow Mountain—before heading back down to the clubhouse. My total for the day was about 50 miles with almost 3,000 feet of climbing.
Oftentimes, I get overwhelmed on group rides. I’m hard on myself when I don’t climb as fast or when I have to put in a lot of work just to stay with the group downhill into a headwind. I get frustrated when I have to hang in the pack and draft because I’m not strong enough yet to pull on the front.
But yesterday, I just owned it. I dug really deep and pushed as hard as I could to stay with group when I thought I was going to get dropped off the back. And when I did eventually get dropped hard on both climbs, I didn’t apologize to the group when we linked back up together at the top. Instead, I said thanks for waiting and moved on, doing the best I could on that day. I’m never going to be the strongest in the group, so I’m working on putting in the effort I can and being happy with that. I’m in an even better and stronger place than I was a year ago, and that feels really good.
Being a weekend warrior isn’t so bad.