I can't believe the season is about to start. My first 100 is less than a month away! I was feeling pretty good about all this back in January doing some long rides and feeling pretty good, but the past month has been a bit tough training wise from getting a bit "stuck" so to speak from a crash on a snowmobile trail on an icy corner and straining my back pretending I was Wonder Woman at the gym...It made training extremely exhausting (mentally and physically). I was starting to worry that I had maybe burned myself out, but I was feeling good in January?!.. But, I'm back on track after some help getting "unstuck" from Carol at Biosynchronistics and Jan of Step Beyond Physical Therapy. If you have never experienced manual therapy bodywork and are having chronic pain or some other injury - go see someone who practices it!!
So, I apologize to those who I told I would blog about my ski racing adventures over the winter and I didn't. I'll give a quick rundown here. I basically started off right where I left off, just under the pretty slow time of 40 seconds, even with no time on skis prior to the first night of racing (see, I'm obviously not more passionate about ski racing than bike racing, something about it being really cold out...). I attribute the fact that I started where I left off to some better skis this season thanks to the "Chair" of skichair.com. I got many comments on them and I couldn't even tell you why they're so "awesome" for ski racing, hmm... I wish I could live up to ski's abilities... Each week I'd tell myself I'd get up to the mountain to actually practice before the next week's race, but somehow that never happened. I did manage to get a little bit faster and a little bit faster for the first half of the season. I had my first crash I believe the third week of racing clipping a gate. It was pretty undramatic except for that it was so close to the end of the course and in view of the spectators. A couple of pre-race clinics helped me get a bit more speed. Although, one of the time we were practicing getting out of the gates faster and when I applied to my race, I kept nearly crashing out of the gate. Oddly enough my fastest time, 36 seconds, came on a run that I did almost crashed right out of the gate and near the bottom of the course almost totally blew a gate. When I finished and heard my time, I was like -- no way! for real! And was pretty excited. I thought I could better that, but not this season. That was about it for excitement on the ski slopes. The weather got a bit warmer the last few weeks of racing which made the course get really chewed up/grooved in the corners which as a 'newbie' skier is pretty scary. I did better on them this year than last year. My mantra down the course was "stay in the grooves, stay in the grooves, stay in the grooves their faster.." - oh crap.. that one's really deep.... anyway, it was a good time. Maybe next year I will finally actually practice some. But, it was a good time - fun people.
Back to biking - so this year I will be racing for i Ride Adventures/MTB Race News.com and was hooked up with a Felt Team 29er to race on. I got the bike two weeks ago and have had three rides on it so far. It's pretty sweet, super lightweight, and will be awesome for the 100s this year. It's been a bit interesting going from my epic (dual suspension) to a hardtail again. At least the epic mostly rides like a hardtail until you hit bumps, so it's the until I hit bumps part I need to remember, but the larger volume 29er tires help eat up the impact for sure. The felt rolls super fast on open stretches and when I get rid of the 'rider error', I'm sure I'll be riding super fast on the tight twisty New England singletrack. I was getting a bit schooled on some of my local trails by my buddy who swears by the 29ers now this past weekend, but I'll catch em...
I have some big training weekends coming pre-Cohutta (April 24th). It does almost seem too early to be doing a 100 miler in April coming from New England but the winter wasn't too bad for training overall. Kind of quirky -- like riding in Western Mass in February - where usually it's always riding the Cape or other coastal areas during the winter. I only rode on the Cape twice this winter.
It's time to get race face on -- or something akin to that. Get the new rig totally dialed in :)
It's going to be a great year racing!! New sponsors, etc. I'll post some pictures with my new kit once they come in, which probably won't be till post-Cohutta.
Till Cohutta !