Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another PR … And Some Future Plans

Feets don't fail me now.
Dry roads, above-average temperatures and bright sunshine pulled me outside for two rides this weekend: 33 miles on Saturday and another 30 miles today.  Those 63 miles are a personal record, beating the 55 miles I rode in February 2011.  I hope to add more tomorrow when the temperature again flirts with 40 degrees.

After tomorrow things will cool off for a while.  That’s OK; I can’t delay my indoor training program much longer.  I’ve merely dabbled with trainer workouts so far this winter.  There has been no sense of urgency because I’ve been riding outside much more than in any previous winter and I don’t have any important competition goals until mid-summer.  Saturday’s Washington County Winter Bike Day will mark the start of my formal training period, roughly 12 weeks of structured workouts designed to elevate my fitness by the beginning of May.  Many of those workouts will be done on weeknights in the home gym.

If all goes well I should be in racing shape in time for the WORS opener at Iola on May 6.  But it remains to be seen how much of the WORS schedule I’m going to do.  Iola is a strong maybe, not a firm commitment.  And even if I’m comfortable with my fitness I may not be comfortable with my technical skills.  The New Fane trails—access to which is important to my development on the mountain bike—didn’t open until April last year.  Hopefully we can avoid significant additional snowfall this winter and get a March opening.  That would give me extra time to practice.  Also, it looks like I will be on vacation in southeastern Pennsylvania in early April.  Spring arrives a few weeks earlier there than it does here, so I might be able to test my skills on the trails in that area.

I probably will do a little racing in the first half of 2012 but I won’t really expect good results.  These would be training races in the same way the pros stretch their legs in places like Qatar and Oman before really getting down to business in the spring classics and Paris-Nice.  My spring classics will include Cheesehead Roubaix, of course, and probably a couple of gravel grinders.  But I don’t expect to get really serious until the July 7 WEMS race at Suamico.  Then comes the Sunburst Showdown in Kewaskum on July 22.  The Bryce Master TT in Harvard IL on Aug. 4 looks like a good tune-up for the Kirke Vei TT in Cottage Grove on Aug. 18.  On Aug. 26 I will return to Suamico for the WORS Reforestation Ramble.

My fitness should be really good as September begins.  My challenge will be to maintain it.  September is perhaps the most important month on my cycling calendar because I will use it almost exclusively to prepare for the new cyclocross season.  That means lots of short, hard practice efforts and skill development, and little or no actual racing.  Cyclocross is my main competitive focus in 2012 and I don’t want to be burned out before it even begins.

The long, gradual build-up begins next weekend.

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