Oh, joy, winter is here. I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that winter is here in full force. I'm not quite sure if that is because we had such a mild November, and because I was riding in bike shorts on December 3rd that it's so hard to take this ridiculously cold weather and a terribly first snowstorm to boot. whine whine whine... one of these days I will truly move to Arizona.
So I did finish up the cross season this past weekend with a couple of wins racing Saturday in the Ice Weasels Race in Wrentham and Sunday in the Beer Cross finals in Dayville, CT. The races were pretty fun. Ice weasels was about half snow covered with some pretty icy corners which kept me (and most racers) from racing full-tilt for fear of seriously injuring oneself. I went down once but in a silly slow u-turn mud corner, but I'll take that over the hard pack icy ones. There was a great turn-out at Ice Weasels even with most racers off at Nationals out in Bend Oregon. Lots of beer and cupcake handups in the men's races..
Sunday's Beer Cross had a smaller field. There was much less snow in Dayville so the pace was a bit faster. The snow that was there had amazing traction until it started raining at the beginning of the women's race. Very fun course, fun singletrack, good runup that forces you to get back on and clipped in for a downhill right away.
Then it was onto a week of "play", ie, I could ride if I felt like it or not... Of course boredom has totally set in with there being just enough snow on the trails to make it tough going, but mostly rideable (I rode in Millbury on Wed but got sick of the slow going quickly). I need to get some exercise in but it's mostly boring choices, trainer or jogging and not even jogging in the wood. The snow is such ick snow. It would almost be better to just get some decent snow pack for snowshoeing etc.
So, I really only have a three week break from racing and then it's onto downhill slalom ski racing at Mt. Wachusett. ooohhhh.. because I'm wicked fast, not. Funny, my neighbor, who owns www.skichair.com, convinced me it would be so much fun and that it's just like bike racing, although I haven't quite made that connection yet (maybe I'll figure it out this year). So I decided to try it last year after not skiing for like 4 years and probably only having skied about 10 times in my entire life. I was semi-hoping the coach would nix the idea when I asked him what he thought of my racing and fitting it into the training plan and then I'd be off the hook, but I got the ok on the premise it would keep me "fresh" over the winter. Let me point out that I have up my "rest day" for ski racing. It was interesting and fun once I got the hang of what I was doing. Oddest thing was being such a beginner again, like these people who race are like me in bike racing. There's all this 'ski talk' that I'm not well versed in, handicaps, medals, etc. etc.. I'm a year more 'versed' now so hopefully I'll have something to add to the post-racing ski chats at the bar drinking some Tuckermans :) I'm sure I'll still be wicked pathetically slow, but I'll set some goals and go with it. It's just for fun. Ski racing starts Tuesday after New Years. We had a kickoff party last Thursday night and of course all the true skiers there were stoked for winter and skiing etc and I'm like, this blows, it's cold and the ground is covered in snow :( I just got some glares..
Finally, some excellent news. I finally got some sponsorship. I'll be racing for www.mtbracenews.com next year thanks to Amada Carey, a fellow endurance and cyclocross racer, who connected me up with her friend who is organizing the team. Our bike sponsor is Felt Bicycles so I'll be racing on a new bike next year, going with a 29er (for non-bikees - bigger wheels versus regular 26 inch mtb bike wheels)... should be a pretty sweet ride, going hardtail though so I definitely need to keep up the core exercises, but I think it's going to be fast ride for the 100s. Looking forward to getting it and dialing it in. I'll post some pics and other team info as it all comes together. The plan for 2010 is the NUE series again starting with Cohutta in Tennessee April 24th and continuing on the same five I did this year. And, I'm going to do my own grass roots stage race for some good torture, likely late June/begging of July -- some of the days I have planned I'm thinking the dualie might be good to soften the ride, but we'll see.