Coming Together

Wow – what a day I’ve had. Kicked it off with a little bit of Tour de France watching and lingering over a steaming mug of coconut chai tea. Pretty smooth way to start a Sunday. The day simply got better as it rolled along. Packed up my trusty Stevens Super-Prestige and made my way over to some new training grounds. I wanted to ride some more technical trails than I’d been riding. And frankly I’ve been feeling a bit stale riding the same general trails every week.

Decided to check out Lime Kiln. I didn’t know much about it – but I presumed from the name it would be rocky. Well, definitely got that right! Rocky. Rooty. And unfortunately a tad too technical for me and my mountain bike. No biggie though. I zipped around on the trails there a bit and then rolled down Moodie and picked up another trail. This is where the real fun started. I ended up on a flowy singletrackish trail that took me over everything. Roots. Rocks. Bridges. Mud. Pine needles. Lots of twists and turns. Still technical but less so than Lime Kiln. Eventually I popped out at Stony Swamp. I picked up another trail and zipped around. All in all, an excellent morning session on the ‘cross bike.

Bonus factors of the morning session: testing my limits, stretching my limits, being in nature, conquering some challenging mud, remembering to keep pedaling at all times, looking ahead instead of two feet in front of me, remembering to ease up on the brake, and most importantly – being outside on a beautiful Sunday morning enjoying nature!

Had a chilled out late morning/early afternoon. Got lots of little jobs done around the house and found time to sit down and ready the Sunday NY Times. How I love this paper! I now subscribe to the Sunday NY Times. What a great treat to peek out onto the front step this morning at 6 to see this paper ready and waiting for me! Nothing like sitting down and really discovering the world and what is happening around us (pair this with some chocolate mint tea and it is even better!).

Soon enough it was time to hop on the ‘cross bike again and roll down to my local park for some skills and drills. I’m super lucky to have this little park down the street. It features a short but steep hill. Soccer field. A gravel/sand ball diamond. A sand box. And this kind of sloping section on the edge. So lots of great natural training features. Throw in some flags and a little creativity and I’m off to the races. Today I set up my standard grid on the steep face of the hill. I worked on riding up through the grid – making tight uphill corners. Then I worked on descending through the grid – making fast corners and maintaining speed. Then I worked on simply climbing the steep face with speed and playing around with my gearing. It was an excellent session. I learned a few new tricks. Overcame some obstacles. But best of all I learned how to maintain my cool…

So I was doing fairly well with the uphill corner drill – the last two corners were tight but with some elbow grease I was getting through them. I saw our car pull into the lot. Cool – Marc has come to watch and help out. Well, I started making all sorts of mistakes and I could no longer get through the corners. I was frustrated. But I didn’t let it get to me. (In years past I may have sulked or simply gotten quite angry with myself.) Marc showed me a couple of things. I tried them. Made some gains but still struggled. So I did something totally new for me – I moved on. I put the drill away and moved onto the next one. I didn’t let it ruin my session or eat away at me. For you this might not seem like a big deal. But for me this is massive. I think it shows that I’m actually starting to have some confidence in my skills and technique. I didn’t let one little thing snowball and ruin the rest of my training session. Probably the biggest reason for this: dudes I’m super motivated this year. I’m going to do it. I’m going to make it.

This focus has helped me see past the little blips and really keep my eyes on the big deal and the prize.

Bonus factors of the afternoon session: Marc coming out to help out and give me encouragement and advice, succeeding at failing and not getting upset, learning some new skills with regards to climbing and momentum, cornering and more cornering success, and most of all – being out there and doing it.

It is so easy to not go out for the extra session. But I have to do it. I haven’t got a lot of natural talent or raw skill to fall back on. I need to put in the hard work. Luckily I have the experience to know that the extra hard work will pay off in the end. Besides, I love training. Seriously, I enjoy training. I would train even if I wasn’t racing.

Yep, so a most excellent Sunday. Just had one of my new favorite snacks: carrots, celery and tomato with white kidney bean dip (one can of white kidney beans drained and rinsed blended in the food processor with a liberal amount of tahini, a splash of water, squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of cumin or cayenne pepper). Now I’ve got one last “job” to do for this Sunday – iron the work clothes… The reward is good though – a trip to the big book store to touch books and sip a tasty chai tea misto and then dinner out with pals at the New Mee Feung. Yep, pretty darn fine Sunday. Extra bonus of this Sunday – seeing my man Jens Voigt ride like a machine to bring his team mate back to the peleton after a flat. Jens rules!

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