Monday, September 3, 2012

Ready, Set, Cowbell!

Recent training rides and mountain bike races have given me good indications that my fitness is where it should be for the cyclocross season, now only five days away.  And just like last year when I came out of the Kirke Vei Time Trial feeling good about my preparations, today another TT effort gave me a confidence boost.

I covered 19.3 miles in 54:14, beating my previous best time by 33 seconds on a rolling course in northwestern Washington County.  That’s a 21.35 mph average … not bad.  I placed sixth out of seven riders in today’s unsanctioned TT, but really I wanted only to beat my old record.  Back on Memorial Day I completed the course in 54:47, a 2:36 improvement over my time from July 2011.  Today’s improvement wasn’t as dramatic, but it’s still faster and that’s good enough for me.

I have arrived at the beginning of September with great fitness and without any hint of burnout.  At this time last year I was already seeing signs of fatigue.  This year I have ridden more frequently but for a lower per-ride distance, and I have stayed fresh both mentally and physically by doing a nice mix of endurance road and rec trail rides, mountain bike races and skills practices, fast group rides, time trials, and cyclocross practices.  Since May I have been riding about 600 miles per month while still taking 7-8 days per month completely off the bike.

The season opener of the WCA cyclocross season will take place this Saturday in Sheboygan and I feel ready.  Between now and then I will stick with what has been working.  Tomorrow I will practice my ’cross skills at Royal Oaks Park.  On Wednesday I’ll take a rest day.  On Thursday I think I’ll do a few laps aboard my 29er at New Fane—mustn’t forget to work on mountain biking skills.  On Friday I’ll probably do a fairly short road ride with a couple of sprint intervals.

Last year was something of an experiment as I jumped into cyclocross for the first time.  This year I expect good results.  Success at Sheboygan would be a sign of good things to come; failure would send me back to the drawing board.  But should failure come, at least I will have time to make adjustments.  Mom goes back to Pennsylvania tomorrow, my wife goes back to work and my kids go back to school.  Life has been in overdrive for the last few weeks but it looks like things are about to become much less complicated.

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