|Presenting the new Pedal Moraine jersey!|
Today I returned to New Fane for some badly needed time on singletrack. I had not been on the mountain bike since I visited New Fane on April 15 & 16. I can attribute the layoff to an overabundance of rain and wet trails, but it’s also true that I was wavering in my commitment to the WORS season opener this Saturday. When I finally made the decision to race, the decision to practice followed swiftly.
If only I were riding swiftly! I can’t claim that yet. I did 2 short laps today and then 2 full laps. My full-lap times were 27:23 and 27:33, respectively. Those were my fastest laps this year, but I’m still about 30 seconds per lap behind the pace I set in last year’s Northern Kettles Fall Epic.
Tomorrow is another day … one that I will spend pre-riding the Englewood Opener course. I’m curious and optimistic about a purpose-built XC race course: trails not designed to be ridden, but to be raced. That’s unique in Wisconsin and it’s rare in most other parts of the country. We’re behind the rest of the world when it comes to course design, and it shows. Pre-riding is always a good idea and even if my fitness isn’t great at least my mental preparation for Saturday can be strong. It’s a huge advantage to be familiar with the course when others are not. For some of my WORS rivals who are used to Sunday races, the unusual schedule of the opening weekend will be a hardship. The Friday pre-ride window won’t fit everyone’s schedule. For me, it will be an opportunity to gain an edge. I have no real expectations for my performance on Sunday. I will be happy just to get the first race of the year under my belt, gain a little fitness by pushing myself harder than I could in training, and grab some points in the series standings. A good result would inspire me to be more active in the series than I might be otherwise, but I haven’t done enough this year to deserve a good result.