Nature. Near the cross course.
A neato car at the mechanic's.
My workouts are done in four week cycles. This is very common. Three weeks of progressively harder stuff, and then one week of recovery to consolidate whatever gains of the previous three weeks. Then the next three weeks are increased training stress compared to the previous three week block. This is about as normal of a way to handle winter base building as one can get.
Common ways to measure the workload are time and training stress. When you're on a trainer, mileage doesn't count for much. On my trainer, I can spend 90 minutes "going" all of 16 miles and not be able to stand or speak at the end of it. During the week, common workouts for me go between an 70 and 90 minutes. I really don't like to be on the thing for all that long, and there's a lot of other stuff that needs doing. This week's bike workouts were fairly standard at 90, 75, and 75 minutes. I almost always take Monday off completely, and often take Fridays off too.
This weekend, I went mountain biking on Saturday, which is often a shorter ride than a weekend road ride. The riding is much different than road riding. For example, I went really hard at one point on a sort of technical uphill in order to replicate climbing the section at race pace, and then stayed on gas in the ensuing tighter section both to replicate riding it fast and a little cross eyed as you would in a race, and to see if I could maintain my gap (which I've never previously been able to do). It was a good bit harder of an effort than I've made a habit of doing lately, plus mountain biking is much more of a full body ordeal than road biking is for sure, but overall the ride was short. Ideally it would have been twice as long as it was (mostly because Fountainhead is so fricking much fun these days you want to do it twice) but with traveling there and having other crap to do you can't do everything.
Then Sunday was really cold and crappy in the morning, and I didn't want to get sick. If you're one of those who's inclined to break out the black, yellow and red pompoms and get all "riding in crappy weather makes Belgian hard man awesome points," then try doing two hours at a pretty relentless endurance pace (what some would call tempo) on the e-Motions. But two hours is two hours, not three, which means that even if your training stress per minute is high, your minutes are not as high and there's that. All of which ends up with the story of this last week, the critical third week in the block, being both fewer hours and less total training stress than the preceding two weeks. However, a significant amount of both time and training stress in the previous weeks was less effective "bulk" mileage on the road on the weekends. Most people would probably tell you that 8 hours isn't going to allow you to do what you're capable of in the summer. Don't know that I disagree. This next block has more volume in it anyway.
One of the big things that needed to get done this weekend was buying a new bed. We inherited a really nice queen bed frame, and it was time to ditch the full size bed we've been sleeping on since the time before time began. Full goes to the guest room. Who knew how awesome TempurPedic mattresses are? Also, they are not cheap. We went to Sleepy's first, that was like wading through a bucket of eels. I can't tolerate buying stuff from places like that. Literally it was "what's it going to take to get you into a new bed today." So we went to another place (Sheffield's) and were helped by an awesome salesman. There was no doubt that a particular mattress was the one that worked for us, and we bought it. For anyone who's done yoga, that feeling you get at the end when you lie on the floor and you're all blissed out and lying on your back and like ultimately relaxed, that's the feeling that I get immediately when I lay down on this bed. Wow. It cost a few dollars more to buy from Sheffield's than Sleepy's. Worth it. As I type this, having for the millionth night woken up for no apparent reason in the middle of the night, I'm slightly at risk of falling asleep in my chair. We have to wait a couple of weeks before the new bed comes. It can't get here quickly enough.
There are words that pros say that you and I can't. Palmares, tranquilo, sensations. Words like these coming out of the mouths of schmoes like me just sound stupid.