Monday, October 12, 2015

Mid-Season Break

One of my goals this season is to compete in the Wisconsin state cyclocross championships. I have been racing cyclocross since 2011 but I have never lined up for the season finale. Usually that was because the weather was unacceptably cold. The -12 wind chill of December 2013 made it easy for me to stay in bed, and while that morning was uncommonly harsh it wasn’t alone in being too cold for me.

This year the championships will be held on November 21 and suddenly that’s just 6 weeks away. I don’t have any realistic chance to win the Masters 45+ Cat 1/2/3/4 title, but I want to give my best effort. To that end, it might have made sense to line up last weekend for the Trek CXC Cup. The 2-day, non-series event carried UCI C1/C2 designation, making it the highest ranking cyclocross event in the state this year. Defending national champions Jeremy Powers and Katie Compton were there, and if it were good enough for them it should have been good enough for me, right?

Yes and no. Racing is the best training and being thoroughly flogged at the Trek CXC Cup would have been good for my fitness even if it had been crushing for my ego. But it’s not a bad thing to step back momentarily from high intensity efforts to let body and mind recover. My weekend training consisted of endurance-pace road rides. I finished last week with 10.5 hours in the saddle and a total of 179 miles. That’s good training volume for this time of year. This week I will do a couple of shorter, harder efforts to prepare for PumpkinCross in Grafton on Saturday.

My mother was in town last weekend for a rare visit, so there was never a doubt that I would skip the Trek CXC Cup. On Sunday morning, Mom sat down with me to watch the Bpost Bank series cyclocross race from Belgium and then the conclusion of Paris-Tours from France. I think she was less impressed with the racing than with the technology that brings European TV into my living room.

I surprised myself by emerging from last weekend without any weight gain. Mom’s visit included a couple of big restaurant meals of the sort that kill good diets, but I guess I did just enough riding to keep things in balance. I hit my lowest weight of the year last Wednesday and with proper training I could lose a few more pounds before the state championships. There are hills at Firemen’s Park in Waterloo, so anything I can do to increase power-to-weight would be a smart move.

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