I sit here writing this blog while staring out my window at the 6 inches of snow on the ground with no days above freezing temps in sight. Sigh....It's been a long, cold winter and sadly looks like quite a bit more to go. While it has gotten me down over the past few weeks, this weekend I finally cheered up after having ventured to Cape Cod to ride on actual dirt. I was surprised the conditions were as good as they were given the Cape has not been spared this winter either. At first, I didn't even feel like I was really riding. I had to actually remind myself to look ahead and avoid trees and plan lines, but it all came back around quite quickly. It felt great to be moving with scenery passing by, alas, I have some miles to put in before the season begins so hopefully spring decides to get here soon.
Last year, I decided to take the race season a bit easier and not do as much long distance racing as the training time and travel time just take a toll after awhile. It was nice to only commit half a day to a bike race versus an entire long weekend, oh and be done racing after only a couple of hours. It seemed a prudent decision and even more so as I spent a good chunk of the season dealing with injuries and various protestations from my body. I tried hard to ignore them and race through the pain but ultimately had to cut my season short and take a month off the bike - a month off from any physical activity! Holy crap.
I initially fought the idea of having to not be active for a month but I ultimately came around and kind of enjoyed the break. For the first time in a long time, I didn't have to train or be active. I couldn't. I had an excuse so I didn't have to feel guilty about being lazy. It was nice. But then a month wore on and I wasn't feeling a heck of a lot better despite having a lot of physical therapy and other bodywork done. It wasn't until I figured out, well someone else figured out, that the seat in my car was twisted which was killing my back. So every time I would 'fix' something in PT, I would get in my car again and screw it up. Long story short, I got a new vehicle and the back pain went away pretty quickly after that. I still had other injuries to work through but that was a big one to finally start making some progress on the healing.
I had so much time off that it took a while to be able feel good for more than an hour on the bike. It was pretty sad and hard to be patient and believe the fitness would come back around. I mean really, all my friend think I can last for 5+ hours all the time. I was trashed after an hour. Slowly but surely, I made some head way and finally had some rides that I felt good enough in to actually consider doing a 100 miler again. The way I felt most of last season, there was no way in hell I was doing another 100. I was leaning strongly towards planning another season like last year with shorter xc races, some 50 milers and 6 hr races and mostly local which will be the majority of my season. Somewhere the inspiration came to sign up for a couple 100s so I will do at least 2. If the first one goes really well then I might consider doing 4 for the NUE series. But at this point, two 100s is plenty especially since it seems the snowpack is here for a while and getting seriously long rides in would be far from fun. While racing is about suffering to a large degree, there still needs to be a fun factor.
I am still racing for MTBRacenews.com this season so check out the website for race reports, and during this off season check out the coaches column for some great training tips. Through some excellent sponsors, I'm very excited to be riding a new bike this season, a Pivot 429c being built up with Shimano XTR and Stans Golds. Just waiting for a couple more parts to finish building it up and then I'll post pictures of the beauty: ) I can't wait to ride it but this stupid snow needs to melt and mud season to pass quickly.
My tentative race schedule is below -- May and June are packed with back to back races I want to go to but I'll probably have to take a weekend or two off to not get burned out just not 100% sure which ones yet.
3/30/14 King of Burlingame Time Trial
5/4/14 Battle of Burlingame XC EFTA
5/10/14 Treasure Vally Rally EFTA
5/18/14 Willowdale EFTA ?
5/25/14 Gnar Weasels EFTA
6/1/14 Bearscat 50
6/8/14 Pinnacle EFTA
6/15/14 Stoopid 50 ?
6/21/14 Lumberjack 100 NUE
7/6/14 Patapsco 100 (66 mile) version?
7/13/14 Barn Burner, Root66?
7/26/14 12 Hrs Millstone, VT
8/3/14 Stowe, VT EFTA race
8/17/14 Hampshire 100k
8/30/14 Shenandoah 100 NUE
9/6/14 Landmine 50
9/12/14 Green Mountain Challenge 6hr
9/13/14 Freetown 50?