I can finally see the light - the light at the end of the tunnel that is this road-racing season. I don’t write that with a feeling of relief, as if I can’t wait to get it over with because if I wanted to, I could stop racing today. It’s not like anyone’s paying me to do it. Rather, I say it with enthusiasm, as regardless of what happened this entire season, I can now focus on one thing and one thing only – Everest Challenge.
While racing this year has been a lot more fun and way more successful than last year, I’ve only made ever an ever so slight progress toward that Cat. 3 upgrade. There are still quite a few races to be raced this season (10-12?), and I’m certainly not going to stop trying for places and Ws, but I feel that I must now shift everything toward performing well in that race. This has been a rest week, but with tomorrow’s Dunnigan Hills road race starts my last really hard three-week training cycle, followed by two weeks of taper and then EC – my last race of the season and the one I’ve been waiting for the most.
My goal at EC this year is simple – kick ass! But the only ass I’ll be focused on kicking will be my own. Despite having finished among the two-thirds of the original participants (in the whole race and the E4 field - the attrition rate just happened to be about the same), I wasn’t very satisfied with my time of just under 17 hours, which put me way low in the bottom 50 percent of those who finished, and I now want to crawl back to at least the top third of my field.
It’s a bit too early for me to summarize my season and to reflect on what has happened and what has gone right or wrong. However, reflecting on how I feel right now, I can honestly say that I feel great and 10 times better than I did the same time last year.
I remember that last year, by the time Patterson Pass RR came around, I was already burned out and had to take time off. My mind wasn’t in the game anymore and my body was just beat up from me riding it into the ground with no rhyme or reason.
Contrast with this year, I feel great. I’m still excited to saddle up for the last dozen or so races left, and physically I still feel very strong and ready to race. It is now a matter of executing the three-step plan of hard training, tapering and racing my ass off. Step one begins tomorrow.
I’m going to fight the temptation of making a prediction of my time this year and wait until I ride the Son of Death Ride at the end of this month. If I do as well there as I suspect I can (10.5 hours, give or take), I’ll make the call on EC then. And now … well, there’s hard work to be done!