Monday, April 7, 2014

New Year, New Team, New Bikes!

The weather is starting to warm up and the body and mind are starting to move out of winter and into spring.  This week I officially start my 2014 structured training.   Not that I have been doing nothing the past 3 months but things have been unstructured and included some off the bike cross training.

Hiking the Chilean Andes

There are lots of new and exciting things in store for the new year including a new team and sponsors.  With RACC ending their amateur racing team support after for 2014 the opportunity arose to join a new upstart team based right here in Madison.  You can check out all the new sponsors on the right hand column of the blog, needless to say we are working with the best!

If we all learned anything about training from Rocky IV, and I think we did, you need to chop wood to be a champion.

I will also have some seriously fast team mates in Isaac Neff and Amber Markey.  Both have been absolutely tearing it up the past year or more and it will be awesome to join forces.  WORS racing kicks off in a little less than 1 month and I feel like a have a lot of work to do in order to be ready.  The focus again this year will be on the WORS series, elite road nats, and Chequamegon Fat Tire.  I’m sure I will sneak some other fun races in there as well.

Watching some spring classics in the new kit, Cannondale SuperSix, and Sportcrafter's rollers

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Post CX Nats/ Year End

To the surprise of many of my non cycling friends the competitive season does have an end and I have now reached that point!  It’s been two weeks since I got back from Cyclocross nationals in Boulder and the time has been busy and exhausting.  It seems the travel never stops whether it’s racing or catching up with friends.  I believe it’s a good thing though, I want to pack as much as possible into life and wouldn’t have it any other way.

The build up to nationals was better than last year but still not ideal.  It’s been 10+ years since I’ve been really sick.  The kind where you can’t get off the couch and you empty the entire contents of your body… but this fall I had the chance to go through this experience twice!  The last time being the week before nationals.  Not good prep and I think it left me a little low on energy the week I was out west.

Usually altitude does not affect me much, even being a sea level dweller.  I dropped into Boulder about 24 hours before the first race and was feeling good.  The bike got a SS conversion the week before I left with the BEER components eccentric bottom bracket adapter that lets you run a 24mm crank in a 30mm shell.  Pretty nifty.  I opted to go with the XX1 crank I rode for MTB season fitted with a new 38t ring.  38x15 was the ratio, the biggest in the front row.  My philosophy was “crush the open sections and run everything you can’t ride.”  It worked… kind of.  I rode up to 2nd place at one point but the thick mud and my SPD pedals didn’t get along to well.  Between Braden and I whoever got clipped in first in the last couple corners was going to get 2nd.  It was him… by a long shot on the clip in.  I still almost caught up on the last 400m of the course but couldn’t get around him for the sprint.  My goal going out to nats was a podium and I got that so I was pretty pumped.
3 up sprint for 2nd

Then weds night it was a long drive down to CO Springs where the Swanson family was gracious enough to put me up for a few nights.  I got a few chill recovery rides in around the Springs and got a little tour of the SRAM facility with Neil.  I could tell the body was drained though.  I was sleeping 10+ hours at night and still exhausted.  Not a good feeling but I tried to put it out of my mind.

Recovery day outside CO springs

Saturday I toed the line for the Master’s 30-34 race, the last time I will be eligible for this race.  Master’s racing shouldn’t start at 30 anyway!   On the running scene it started at 40 which seems about right to me especially because running careers decline about 5 years before cyclists it seems.  

I got a pretty decent start for me, better than the SS race.  By lap 2 I was up in 3rd leading the charge of the chase group but I think I dug a little too deep with the eyes getting bigger than the legs.  BOOM.  I was done.  Mentally I tried to hang on but the mind was fighting the body the whole way to the line for 8th.

I always kind of figured the elite race was going to be whatever I had left and the answer was “not much.”  38th spot.  Oh well.

Now Heather and I have some traveling to do and some offseason chores to catch up on.  Time to bust out the running shoes and splitting maul to brave the latest polar vortex or whatever they call it these days.
Making some firewood!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mountain Bike Season Wrap up

 Cyclocross may still be going strong but I think it’s safe to say mountain biking is done for the year.  Looking back there were a ton of fun races and I made some good progress as a rider, of course I can see there is a lot more work to do and bigger goals to meet in 2014.  I fell short on some of the goals I set for myself but that will happen when you aim high.  I try to learn from what went wrong and remember what went right.  I already have a few ideas for next year…

USA Cycling has a fun little ranking tool that is somewhat akin to the BCS computer rankings.  It would appear that the MTB BCS loves Wisconsin!  It looks like I will end the year as the 9th ranked Pro XC rider in the US.  I somehow don’t think the coach’s poll or a playoff would have me quite that high.   It does underscore just how much great talent is around and we ride against week in and week out.  It takes very high fitness, great skill, and a little luck to win a race in these parts.

It’s no secret that cycling is an expensive sport and it’s a big advantage to be on the latest and best equipment.  As far as equipment I don’t think it’s any secret to those involved that Felt, Rolf Prima, and SRAM make top quality stuff.  This season wouldn’t be possible without all the help from my sponsors, thank you!

CX Nats: Collision Course

Briefly leading the state CX race in 14 deg weather

It’s been an interesting November and December for me so far.  After Iceman I had a little planned break from the bike for a week which turned into the better part of 3 weeks after a really nasty illness had me down and out shortly after I resumed training. I was hoping to make a big return for Jingle Cross but was having a tough time just getting to the fridge let alone IA City.   I lost nearly 5 lbs off my already pretty lean frame, I guess that’s what happens when you can’t keep any food down for 3 days.   It’s muscle mass and weight I’m still working to put back on.  

The good news is I was able to get some deer hunting in and now Heather and I will have meat for the year.  1 below zero.

Cyclocross nationals has been a big goal on the calendar since the beginning of the year.  The big question is with the date being in January, would I be able to bring myself to the line healthy, fit, and hungry?  That forced break may have been a little blessing in disguise if I can pull things together.  I raced WI CX state champs last weekend and finished a well beaten 5th.  My body just felt empty and drained.  Since then I feel like things have started to turn the corner and a person can gain a lot of fitness in 6 weeks.  I’ve made some pretty huge strides in race fitness in that sort of time frame in the past, lets hope I can do it again.  Besides a lot of times hungry beats fit.  

 As long as I’m making the long trip out to Boulder I figure I might as well triple up on races.  I’m registered for the single speed race Wednesday, Masters 30-34 on Saturday, and the elite race on Sunday.  Go big or go home right?