It is that time. The time in the season when things are getting a bit routine. You know what I mean. You’ve got more than a few races under your belt now. So the bike is dialed in. You’ve figured out where the seams are on the new skinsuits. The shoes are permanently damp and a bit musty smelling. The helmet has a little bit of mud in it that you just can’t get out. The travel is becoming more simple each weekend – unpack bag, wash, repack bag. The training has moved onto the next phase – probably a race and recover system.
For a lot of Canadians, the season is winding down. There are a few local races left in the respective “local” series, maybe a provincial title race coming up, and maybe just maybe a dash down across the border for that one last “big” race.
For the Americans, well the season is just hitting its mid-point. ‘Cross nationals aren’t until December so there is lots of racing, tweaking, and resting still to be done. Maybe a little more fitness can be gained. Time to get in some extra practice riding on frozen in mud and snow. Maybe a chance to take a weekend off to let the bruises and bumps heal.
I was thinking about the season this morning as I pedaled in place. It is a long one. My ‘cross season started in September and will end in January. We’ve traveled more weekends this fall than we’ve been home. Soon we’re jetting off to Belgium for a packed racing schedule. Then before we know it we’ll be home and thinking of the road season. Pretty all consuming. Not a bad thing. A good thing really. Though in the early morning when there is nothing on television and it is too cold and icy to ride outside – the season sure does seem long. My mind drifted to wondering what I would be doing if I wasn’t chasing my cyclo-cross dreams?
Would I still be riding the trainer at 6 a.m.? Would I still be keeping close tabs on my diet, recovery, stretching etc.? What if I was in an off-season right now? I started to dream wistfully of not riding and enjoying some kind of rest period. Ha ha – funny and foolish brain. This would never happen. Not my style.
I’m sure that if I wasn’t messing around in the mud and muck on my ‘cross bike, I’d still be training. Probably even a bit harder than I am now. I’d be thinking of the road season and on getting ready for the early spring races. Maybe even planning a trip to somewhere warm to get in some training and early racing.
So what’s my point here? Well, I just wanted to remind you and myself that there is method to our madness. That even though you might not feel like getting up and training right now, that you might be a bit tired of cleaning your ‘cross bike and you might think you need a break – you probably wouldn’t be doing much differently if you weren’t racing ‘cross. When you’re a bike racer, you are on your bike – training, racing, recovering, thinking about racing – living it and breathing it. Garmin started their camp this week – need I say more?
It is tough to train right now. It is cold and dark. The racing is tough – it is probably cold and wet where you are racing. But remember why you do it. You are a cyclo-cross racer. A true hard man/woman of the bike racing game. Besides, think of the cool stories you can tell your co-workers on Monday after another epic weekend of racing in the mud. Appreciate what you’re doing right now.
Had a solid interval work-out yesterday. My legs were screaming. But my brain was saying – bring it on. I needed to feel those legs and to see the wattage numbers. I’m getting stronger each week. The legs, heart and brain are back. Fully onboard and stoked. Today was a hard endurance ride – another solid ride to keep my blood pumping fast and a silly grin plastered on my face. I tell you, life is good. After watching the morning news program (Canada AM), I can tell you I really don’t have much to complain about.
Simple travel this weekend. Off to Toronto for the Ontario Cyclo-Cross Provincials. Cool. It has been a while since I’ve raced the Ontario provincials. Looking forward to it. This time the schedule is a bit different for me and the boys. I race first. Nice. I’ll race and then get to yell at my training partners from the pit. My little bro is coming out to catch the racing action as well. He is one of the best cheerers out there. If he knows your name – he’ll cheer for you. Many moons ago I ran a marathon and in the last kilometer, Gregory jumped on the course to run with me – he started yelling at the silent crowd – he yelled “Hey – her name is Vicki and she is finishing her first marathon – cheer for her!” Yeesh, gotta love having this kind of support.
Okay, I’m out. Have a good one. Best of luck in your races this weekend. Some of you are in Southampton this weekend – good luck and safe travel. For those of you racing in Toronto – get ready for some snow action and take care on the 401.
I love this post! You are SO RIGHT about the training, the season, and the mentality. We’re taking this weekend off from racing (first one since about, oh, April or so) and planning a long MTB ride with friends instead. Then it’s back to the scene with 5 more races locally before the end of the season.
Good luck to you and Marc in TO this weekend! Safe travels if you’re getting the white stuff. Still none of the S-word here, but it is MIGHTY cold.