This weekend's race was a flat venue, with the potential for some mud. I was a bit nervous about being in good standing in the series and tried not to think about the point situation. Competition is fun for me, but in the end it is just about a healthy race environment and keeping perspective on things.
Last week I managed to get the week off from school/research and so spent it in St Louis with just Cassidy (my 2 year old) and me hanging out with the grandparents.
It was really what I needed to be away from cancer biology for a week. We did normal stuff like cook, go to the zoo, coffee shop, playground, and of course I found some time to ride. Specifically, Tuesday was an easy 2hr mtn bike ride at Castlewood with my good buddy Matt James and Justin Neely. Wednesday, the weather was rainy and upper-30s. Really quite miserable for biking. But over the past season I didn't do much structured training with the exception of wednesday's in November...which were 2min, 1min, or 30sec intervals each until I felt like I was loosing it a bit. My goal was to increase the number of intervals each week and land at 6 of each (6x2min, 6x1min, 6x:30). On wednesday, I went out in the morning and got drenched and cold, finishing only a few of the 2 min intervals. So, I went and got a rain jacket/change of clothes only to head back out for the remainder of the workout.
It is for that reason that I've decided that 'training' isn't how I want to approach bike riding and racing. I'm too intense about it. Too much of a type-A personality. Too scientific. I've always used movement/exercise as a kind of escape and work hard at whatever it is, but over the past year I've learned a ton from riding my bike and find that I'm a lot happier just riding as opposed to training. Sunday morning I woke feeling great despite having done some serious beer drinking the night before (and all the preceding evenings the entire week).
During the race I was glad to have a little ring (39t), as I spent the majority of the race trying to keep my cadence and pace high. Devin, Jeff, and I got a gap early and I ended up going off the front for about 6 laps to take the win.
Race started out like this:
Honestly it feels kind-of crazy as I didn't expect to do as well as I have during the bubba series. I guess I just didn't have any expectations for myself and I came in with a solid base of road riding from last winter/spring, some short track mtn bike racing in July, then nothing but the weight room during August and most of September. I'm convinced that the weight room and time off the bike has been a tremendous benefit to this cross season. A little bit ironic that I say I don't train, but still lift I suppose. I think lifting heavy things is a part of our ancestral-past and helps keep us healthy. If I had to design a longevity exercise routine, it'd consist of lifting 2-4 days per week, one or two hard 'interval' type days at whatever modality enjoyable, and then 1-2 long meandering type days (endurance riding, long hikes, long walks, etc).
Every other year for cross, I didn't have time to do long rides whereas this year, every Tuesday I managed gravel loop before work (~3hrs). More than anything else, I rode this year because I loved it and found so much peace of mind, especially on my Tuesday long rides (Josh Johnson actually encouraged me to sell the power meter and ride in this way). Wednesday's were cross practice or intervals in November. Thursday was either rest or an easy ride, then race as much as possible as long as it is fun.