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Archive for March, 2010

2010 Racing Starts

The 2009 season did not go quite the way I wanted it to, with strange inexplicable pains and a pretty bad crash in September that resulted in a broken rib and several hours in the ER. Then the fall was so busy that I started to worry about my 2010 season well before it started. Finally, in December I started to think seriously about training again and embarked on my Special Forces training plan for the new year. The Special Forces training plan is based on the SF theory that a recruit must be torn down completely before being systematically rebuilt into a highly trained, reliable, and tough fighting machine. My SF plan was to hit myself so hard with horrible training that anything–a race, a crash, ordinary training–would seem unremarkable.

So, when 2010 began with some very horrible weather, I knew that I had just what I needed to start my training regimen. I rode with temperatures in the teens. I rode with howling winds above 30 mph. I rode in blinding snowstorms. Whenever possible, I rode when all of these things were happening. For over two weeks, until classes started again, I rode every day, even when I didn’t want to ride. Especially when I didn’t want to ride. I looked forward to the horrible conditions, knowing they were making me tougher.

I’m still not sure how well that plan worked. By the time the racing season started last weekend, I had completed over 1,000 miles in training, all of it outdoors. My fitness level was high, but I was not anywhere near peaking, which is good, as peaking in March would be stupid and ruin the rest of my season. I felt ready to race, eager to pin on a number and hit the course.

Sunday’s race marked the beginning of the Bethel Spring Series, a race I like to do every year because it is local, and it is expertly organized by a friend of mine. This year I registered for two events each week, the 3/4 combined field, and the Pro123 race. The 3/4 promises to be a very competitive race, with several old and new racers targeting it. My team has a racer who is chasing upgrade points, so he was going to be targeting this race to win. The team plan for the first race was to help the young gun as much as possible while also trying to help me out. This two-pronged approach has its dangers, but it ended up working well for us.

To help YG do well, I, as the team captain, proposed that everyone on the team attack over and over throughout the race to try to tire out the competition. Then, our guy would be ready to hit the line hard at the end of the race, with everyone else trailing after him, too tired to chase, or with teammates too tired to help out.

This worked. We started attacking almost from the gun, and we always had at least one guy up the road, and at one point we had four in a small break. None of the breaks held because no one else wanted to work with our team (they know how strong we are), but we didn’t stop our relentless riding. By the end of the race, our young gun was able to get away with two others from other teams, and he managed to win the final sprint. After the race, several guys from other teams complained that they didn’t have any teammates who could help them out at the end because we had worn them out. Mission accomplished.

The second part of our strategy didn’t work so well. At the bell lap, I was positioned perfectly, about three or four back from the front of the pack. At the bottom of the descent, the rider in the lead just sat up and quite pedaling for no reason I could see. This slowed things down horribly, and, before I could react properly, I was swarmed by riders from behind who then boxed me in. I had terrible position for the final sprint and had to fight around half the field to eke out a 19th place.

I didn’t finish quite where I wanted to be, but I feel like my early season training is paying off. I’m stronger and have more fitness than a lot of my competition, and I’m only getting stronger every day.

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