This winter/spring has to be the best year I can remember for biking in Missouri. After crashing my way out of contention at Cyclocross nationals in January and sputtering through some bad equipment decisions and overtraining towards the end of cross season, I needed a break from riding. I don't think I've taken more than a few days off from riding except due to injury since maybe 2007. I even brought my old Surly to Baltimore and rode in the hotel room in 2008. But from the day after CX nats (Jan 8th) I pretty much just hung out at home on the weekend, mountain biked when the trails were good, and relaxed until around Valentines Day. Since then, I've been riding 'base miles' mostly early in the morning on the road bike, on the mountain bike with Green beans, or pretty early on the weekends with the new Walt's team. It's really nice to get my movement/meditation/exercise/breathing-time in early in the day. It leaves a lot more time for family, work, and house stuff.
I'm really excited to race mountain bikes this year. I'm slowly building up my engine and feel like at 6 out of 12 weeks of aerobic-base-building that it is going to be a good season. Every other year, I haven't really paid much attention to quality Zone 2 endurance riding. But these 18-20mph average 2-4hr rides are producing very positive results. I haven't really gone hard at all until this past sunday, when I did the first race of the Missouri East-side mountain bike series. Devin Clark pretty much embarrassed all of us and TT'd away at the second flat section (it was very impressive!). So I was left to race with a guy who came down from Peoria Illinois. He was fast and strong on the power sections and I was a bit more smooth in the singletrack and had a little more kick on the climbs. It was a good battle which concluded when I attacked on a little technical uphill section of singletrack, got a gap, and hammered it for 10minutes to the finish for 2nd place.
Matt James and his crew did an awesome job with the race. And it made me a little sad to see all my St Louis friends, mostly because I haven't seen them in so long and had to leave right after the race to get back.