My regular training routine has taken a temporary turn.
A winter storm left 22″ of snow in my driveway.
Normally I would just retreat to the gym in this situation. Resigned to workout indoors until the snow had melted enough to resume running or riding outdoors again.
As I considered this prospect I could still hear the words of my Grandfather, spoken 35 years ago on the family farm:
“You mean you actually pay someone so you can get exercise? Stay here on the farm and I’ll work you out for free”.
When I was 29 years old, following another Utah snowstorm, I injured my back while shoveling snow. Poor bio-mechanics, macho mentality, too many hours sitting at a desk while programming computers, and being 6′-8″ all contributed to this injury. After several weeks of rehab the doctor prescribed an exercise program which eventually lead to this blog chronicling my last big challenge, the Tour Divide.
I have a shed full of various snow shovels, scoops, push plows, 2-stage snow blower, and an ATV with a plow/winch. I guess I’m obsessed with finding the perfect snow removal device. Being freakishly tall makes this search even more difficult. It’s similar to my quest to find the perfect bicycle seat — but I digress.
Could I turn shoveling snow into an aerobic activity, free of injury? Shoveling is definitely strenuous but hardly aerobic from a cyclist’s perspective.
I then chose my favorite snow shovel from my collection and adapted it with these goals in mind:
[wait for laughter to subside…]
The first trial exceeded all my expectations. This was day-old snow—partially settled, and deep. From the time-stamps on the photos, it took 1 hour and 30 minutes to clear the driveway and street entry. Cool! This is usually an entire morning project to accomplish. Even after I was finished, I still felt great. I was actually disappointed that my neighbors had already cleared their driveways the day before. I had nothing left to shovel.
Later, my neighbor’s roof shed its entire snow load in one fell “SWOOMPH” — a 4-foot high compacted drift was instantly created on the path beside his house. My neighbor then joked that I should tackle this drift with my “Franken-Scoop”. So early next morning, in the dark before he left for work, I attacked his drift with the same result as my own driveway the day before. Who’s laughing now, Todd?
Working out has never been so fun.