Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Freeze, Thaw, Cycle

City streets are the way to go right now. Park paths, like this one at Regner, are not to be trusted.
Not another blog post about the weather! That’s what you’re thinking, and you’re in luck. (Skip the last two paragraphs if you’re really sick of it.) Let’s go over my basic plan for 2017. Every winter I lay out a special events schedule for the upcoming season, and in recent years I have predicted with pretty fair accuracy the races and other rides that I would eventually do. You can see my current best guess for 2017 by clicking the My 2017 Calendar tab near the top of this page. I expect mountain bike racing to be the focus of my season, so I won’t return to Race The Lake this season and I expect to race a reduced cyclocross schedule in September and October. Of course, races and other special events will account for only a handful of the 150-200 times I will ride this year. A typical week is going to look something like this:

Monday:    Endurance-paced road or rec trail ride
Tuesday:   “Flex Day”
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday:  Mountain bike practice at New Fane
Friday:    Endurance ride on non-race weekends, a short TT otherwise
Saturday:  Race, or practice/pre-ride at a future race venue
Sunday:    Race, or practice/pre-ride at a future race venue

Several of the races on my 2017 calendar are at trails I have never seen or where I have ridden only 1-2 times. For distant WORS locations like Eau Claire and La Crosse, pre-riding on the day before the race will have to suffice. But I will try to find extra time for closer venues like CamRock and Waukesha’s Minooka Park. WEMS weekends don’t have pre-ride windows; it’s show and go. But Alpine Valley, Silver Lake and Greenbush are reasonably close to home, so there’s no reason not to practice there in advance of those dates. Greenbush is the closest of the three and the site of this year’s WEMS Championship in October. I will try to see it at least once a month, May through September.

“Flex Day” will be a time to address any immediate gaps in my training. If I’m approaching a race on a technical course, then I will use that Tuesday to ride technical trails. Sometimes it will be a hill climbing day. Sometimes it will be a chance to make up for a scheduled workout that was lost to bad weather. Sometimes it will be an extra rest day if I’m feeling a little burned out. (Ideally, Monday would be my normal rest day, but my unusual work schedule makes it the best weekday for training.) I will dedicate Tuesdays to cyclocross practice in August and September, but it will be “Flex Day” until then.

I got outside today for my second ride of the new year. It wasn’t much; our recent cycle of freezing and thawing has left a really dangerous mix of conditions. You can be on a perfectly dry piece of asphalt and then find yourself on a sheet of ice as soon as you reach a spot that doesn’t get any direct sunlight. Last Saturday I could barely walk the trails at Glacier Hills County Park, and yesterday the county shut the park down:

It looks like we’re going to be WAY above freezing for the next 4-5 days, and there isn’t much snow left to melt. Hopefully the ice will be gone soon and I can get outside more regularly.

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