Recently I told you that Wednesdays would be off my cycling calendar for a while, but this afternoon’s weather was too beautiful to resist. A new pair of cycling shoes arrived with today’s mail and I just had to try them out. Just a year ago I bought a pair that I thought would be my go-to racing shoes for a long time to come, but I kind of fell out of love with them. Unlike those, the new shoes have a ratcheting strap. I think that’s a great feature, maybe even a must-have for all future purchases. I did a 21-mile test ride after work and was happy with the fit and the cleat placement, but I’ll be sure to wear these 2-3 more times before Sunday. I believe in the axiom: Don’t race with untested equipment.
All of a sudden there are just three more days for me to work out my body, my gear and my strategy for the WORS season opener at Iola. I’ll get there mid-afternoon on Saturday, check in with the organizers, get my series number plate—4025, assigned to me randomly but also the last four digits of my phone number when I was in high school—and then spend a couple of hours practicing on the race course. I will spend Saturday night in a tent at the race venue, then get up early on Sunday to eat breakfast and to warm up before my 10 a.m. race. Between now and my departure for Iola, I’d kind of like to get a chainstay protector for my 29er and a new pair of gloves … I would even be willing to go against the axiom cited above in the case of these niceties. Of bigger concern is my training: I haven’t been on the mountain bike since April 21. I think I will take it out tomorrow to get reacquainted. If I break the chain or knock a wheel out of true, then I’ll still have time to get it fixed. On Friday I’ll probably hop aboard the ’cross bike for a long cruise on the Eisenbahn. At Iola, the winning time in my group should be under one hour. I’m not worried about my endurance, but I will need a fast start (not my forte) and I will need to handle the bike well on the singletrack. Tomorrow’s practice is important. Saturday’s practice is everything. If I’m going well on Saturday, then look out for 4025 on Sunday.