If you're going to be fast this summer, you should have started on that path in December. There was a time when I was fast(er), it involved a lot of trainer time during frozen midwestern winters where the roads were unsafe and Netflix provided a nice comfort to offset the hours on the Computrainer.
Looking back at that winter, my best winter of training, I was spending roughly 8-10 hours per week on the trainer, mostly early mornings. Weekends, if the roads were safe, saw at least one metric century, a second if family life allowed. Honestly, it was a pretty miserable experience, 2 hours before the sun came up on a trainer. But, it worked. I saw a huge jump in power and a dramatic decrease in weight. I ate clean but it didn't dominate my life. I enjoyed Skittles sometimes and if friends were heading to dinner I went along and enjoyed myself.
This year is different.
The PNW allows for an entirely new style of riding, one that requires a new set of clothes I'm not used to. 35-45* and rain have replaced the sub-zero temps and snow. Winter jacket layers have been replaced with rain jackets. Staying dry is now the most important thought rather than ensuring frostbite doesn't get your digits.
But, winter miles make summer smiles.
This year I've found routes that avoid as much traffic as possible, if it's pissing rain I shy away from steep descents, and a shitload of lights.
Knog provides blinkies front and rear, they've proven to be impervious to weather, light, and easy to recharge with their built-in USB plugs. I'm currently using two Blinder Road 250 lights. I'll run just a single blinking when there's available ambient light, both blinking as it gets darker, one on and one blinking when night sets in, and both on when no cars are around and tree cover prevents moonlight. For the rear I've got a Blinder Road R70 which at this point seems to burn forever. Numerous times I've forgotten to charge it after rides and it's never died on me, rated at up to 20 hours depending on setting, I don't doubt that for a second.
To stay dry, that's not easy. Well, unless you know Showers Pass. I bought the Transit Pants and I'm pretty sure it's the best purchase of the year. I rode through a deluge during the Festive 500 and the only water on my bibs was sweat. Combine those with an old pair of Endura shoe covers that I picked up years ago and my Rapha Rain Jacket and I was set.
All of that said, the summer of 2016 depends heavily on the winter of 2015. With the right equipment and my new-found winter temps, getting out for 2-3 hours before or after work, or for longer rides on the weekends is no longer a matter of surviving, I actually get to enjoy it.
What do these miles mean? Well, the winter of 2014 saw me off the bike almost the entire time. A broken foot and a move across the country took over, and when last spring came around I was fat and out of shape. A 60 mile ride nearly killed me.
Don't be that guy this year.