It Begins

And so it begins. The rest period is over. The cold and sore throat are long forgotten miseries. The evenings with nothing to do but read a book are soon to be a distant memory. That’s right, I’ve started. Started to get ready for the 2009 – 2010 season. No time like the present.

I’ve been back on the bike for two days now. Felt good. Felt bad. It was super nice to get the legs moving and to feel that body heat that comes from revving up the muscles. But I also felt pretty rotten. Three weeks isn’t long. But just long enough for me to forget what it feels like. I didn’t go hard at all. Just a super low mileage and focused on keeping the legs ticking over with a smooth rhythm. The upside of taking such a break in February is that I really won’t have to spend much time on the trainer. Soon enough it will be the middle of March and then April – with some luck I’ll be able to start riding outside. Have to admit I don’t mind the trainer right now – I can get caught up on Grey’s and ER….

Had an excellent session with John Z at the Ottawa High Performance Centre today. He put me through my paces, testing my flexibility and strength. I worked with John last season but this year will be different. I’ll actually be lifting and hitting the gym three times a week. I know strength training and cycling are very controversial topics. I used to be opposed to strength training, but evidence is pointing to the benefit of hitting the heavy stuff. A lot of endurance athletes stay away from the gym because they don’t want to gain weight. Well, the chances of making significant weight gains are slim to none – a lot of factors have to come into play to really build/gain muscle mass. Anyway, I’m going to give it a go. I’ll be in the gym for a long time as well. The plan is to keep lifting right through the road season. Yep – to the middle of August.

Like I said, we’re taking a totally different approach to the upcoming cyclo-cross season. Trying some different things. Some we’ll keep. Others we’ll change. And I’m sure others we’ll drop.

I’m excited to see how my body and brain respond to the new training. I’ve committed to doing what it takes to get to the next level. I’m feeling pretty darn excited right now.

I can imagine a few of you are shaking your heads. Wondering why I would make so many changes. Why I would spend time in the gym. Why a reduced road racing schedule? Why…? Well, all I can say is every athlete is an individual. A cookie-cutter approach only works for so long. An untrained person will see gains from any form of “training plan”. But once a certain level of fitness is achieved, things need to be changed and mixed up to get to the next level. This is where I’m at. Don’t worry I’ll be out at the local crits. I’ll be sprinting out of corner four with you on Tuesday nights. I just might not be at “every” race this year. I’ve got a goal and darn it, I’m going to get there.

If there is one thing I’ve learned: I can only worry about myself – I don’t have the energy to spend thinking about what others are saying/thinking about me. I can only control my situation – so I better make sure it is the best I can.

Oh, just to get your ‘cross juices flowing, the preliminary UCI cyclo-cross schedule is out….

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