Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Addition By Subtraction

There’s an old joke about sculptors, one that has been around long enough to be applied to different artists but probably started with Michelangelo.  In that variation, the pope marvels at a newly-created masterpiece and asks Michelangelo how he derived something so wonderful from a block of stone.  Michelangelo replies, “It was easy: I just chiseled away everything that didn’t look like David.”

A complete fabrication, clearly.  But there’s some kernel of wisdom in those words, so the joke persists.

Today I revisited my cycling calendar and chiseled away everything that didn’t look like it was going to help me with my competition goals.  Gone is this Saturday’s WEMS race, the Northern Kettles Endurance Challenge.  I will be at Greenbush as part of my volunteer commitment to Team Pedal Moraine, but I won’t be in the race.  Treating the race as a hard practice would be worthwhile in my pursuit of greater success during the WORS season, but I don’t have series ambitions in WEMS and the team really needs every volunteer it can get to ensure the event runs smoothly.  For now, the WEMS races at Suamico (July 7) and New Fane (Sep. 22) are still on my calendar.  That’s largely because they are on courses where I would expect to perform well.  I don’t ride well at Greenbush, and a bad performance there could be a confidence killer.  The risk outweighs the potential reward.

Also gone are most Washington County Bicycle Club rides, many of which fall on WORS weekends.  To be successful in WORS it’s almost mandatory to do the Saturday pre-ride before the Sunday race.  Being new to the series, I’m seeing most of these trails for the first time.  There’s no doubt that pre-riding Iola helped me in that race.  Road rides of the long-steady-distance variety still have their place, but the training benefit of a WCBC ride is something I can easily replicate on my own schedule.  It looks like my competition schedule will have a four-week break in late July and early August.  That will be a good time to enjoy club rides.  I will need to recharge the batteries before cyclocross season begins.

So, the Bryce Master Time Trial in Harvard IL on Aug. 4 is out.  It would be a good tune-up for the Kirke Vei TT on Aug. 18, but I don’t really want to pay the registration fee and buy a one-day ABR license for a race that I would consider just a practice.  From a training perspective, I can get just as much out of a self-timed TT on roads close to home.  And after all, Kirke Vei itself is really just a hard training ride.  Last year I believe it helped to prepare me for the ’cross season but this year its benefits won’t be as obvious; WORS races should ensure that the legs are sharp when September rolls around.

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