Nov 2, 2011

Let's talk 2012

While a good chunk of the country is winter-proofing homes, bundling up, winterizing bicycles and the hardcore Midwest riders are mounting studded bike tires, my season has just begun. That’s right, as kids laid out their Halloween costumes on Sunday to wear to school on Monday, I should have been cracking open a bottle of champagne to welcome in the new year of training and racing.

The month of relaxation, unfocused riding (or not riding) and abundant eating were thoroughly enjoyed and by design, resulted in built up excitement for the new training season. It’s hard to jump from one thing to another mentally, and taking a mental break from one season before starting the training for the next was for me far more important than the physical rest. In my experience, the body takes much less time to recover than the mind.

Now that I’m in my first week of base training, it’s probably a good idea to lay out what I’m planning to do this whole season, or at least as it looks now. The worst plans are always the inflexible ones.

This (2012) season I’m planning to focus exclusively on racing my bike from the time racing starts, until it ends. This means that some thing I was thinking about doing next season and other things I’ve done this season will have to be put off until 2013 or perhaps beyond. Not because I feel it’s impossible to do all those things, but rather because I want my focus to be as narrow as possible to ensure that nothing compromises my preparedness to race in top form when the time comes.

What does this mean? Well, for one I’m going to shelve doing Furnace Creek 508 doubles for at least another year. On the one hand, FC 508 is in October, so the race itself wouldn’t directly interfere with the racing season, but the specialized training for it, the arrangements of a dedicated and competent crew, the cost of it (not a small amount) are all things that are bound to detract me from focusing on training specifically for racing and the racing itself. FC 508 solo is still on my bucket list, and I know I’ll get there, but all in due time.

Another thing I will give up in 2012 are doubles. I might do one if it fits well with training and looks like it won’t interfere with performance in upcoming target races, but I won’t be looking to do one, nor be upset if I don’t. This means that there won’t be as many 5000-word epic posts about suffering. Before you gasp in disappointment, however, I’m hoping to replace those epic posts with shorter epic posts that end with me on the podium – perhaps a more exciting read? Time will tell.

Two rides that I will be looking to do again next year, however, are the Sequoia Double Metric – because it’s awesome and in the “neighborhood”; and Ride of the Immortals (a.k.a. Son of Death Ride). The latter I can’t pass up because in my experience it dishes out the most pain per mile per dollar than any other ride in this state. If you know of another, I’d love to hear about it, but I won’t do it next year.

Also don’t worry about Everest Challenge – it’s still on the menu for 2012. Hopefully in even better form, with a better time and if I’m lucky, it will snow (I like it cold).

As far as racing plans for next year, crits, flatter road races and a few stage races are going to be the definite targets. I’m hoping to get out of state for a few races as well, Cascade being the main target (yes, I know it’s not flat). I’m also considering combining visiting family in Chicago with the Tour of the Dairyland and maybe doing a few crits over yonder as well.

Improvement in race strategy and performance are the main targets, with improved climbing ability being in a very close third place. I like to climb, but at almost 6’2” and 170 (hoping to race at 167 or so this season), I can’t really call myself a climber, so I’ll focus on helping climber teammates get the job done in hilly races as well as improving form for Everest, where frankly, I just go to suffer, push my limits and set new personal bests – I like that sort of thing.

Hopefully this new year of training will bring many exciting moments, celebrations, triumphs and of course interesting blog posts.

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