Monday, November 4, 2013

Time To Race Again?

Just one week ago I praised the reliability of my Toyota RAV4. I should have known not to tempt fate like that: on Friday it failed and I won’t get it back for at least one more day as the mechanics perform engine repairs that will cost me about $1,400. Ouch. I was considering a short solo vacation before the end of the year, but now it might be hard to find the money for such an unnecessary trip.

Some of my friends traveled to Michigan last weekend for The Iceman Cometh mountain bike race. Others stayed close to home for the WCA cyclocross races. I did a 30-mile road ride on Saturday and a 40-mile road ride on Sunday. I’m now just 123 miles away from my fifth consecutive 4,000-mile season, but I won’t reach 5,000 miles as I did in 2011 and 2012. Both of my weekend rides began with a familiar route in the direction of Covered Bridge Park, but then they became quite different.

The collarbone injury that kept me off the bike for a month cost me something like 600 miles. Since restarting my season on Oct. 8, I have ridden 330 miles. I’m still reasonably fit, though not as fit as I was on Sep. 7 when I raced so well in the cyclocross season opener. The state championships are just five weeks away and I would love to be on the starting line. But I need to see improvement in my top-end fitness and I need reasonable weather.

Now that Daylight Saving Time has ended, riding after work is out of the question. In the weeks to come I will look for opportunities to ride on my 1-hour lunch break and I will get back on the treadmills at Planet Fitness to burn some additional calories. Weekends will be used mostly for long-steady-distance rides, but to be prepared for the state championships I should add a couple of races to my plans. Here’s what remains on the schedule in Wisconsin:

11/09 Cam-Rock CX Classic @ Cambridge
11/10 Ripon College Cookie ’Cross @ Ripon
11/16 Blackhawk Border Bash @ Janesville
11/17 Kringle Kross @ Hales Corners
11/24 Booty Cross @ Madison

If I line up next weekend, it will be with the expectation of getting smoked. But competitive fire is a hell of a thing, and racing would be better training than anything I could do on my own. And bridging that two-week gap between Booty Cross and the state championships is Norge Ski Jump Cyclocross in Fox River Grove IL on Nov. 30. I’m sure I won’t be the only person who recognizes its potential as a final tuneup.

Let’s see what this week brings. High winds and rain are in the forecast for the next few days, and fewer hours of available daylight will have a depressing effect on me. If I can’t stay motivated enough to get on the indoor trainer when necessary, then thinking about the state championships is silly.

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