Training, Racing, Smiling

I guess you can sort of figure out from the title of this post what I’ve been up to these last couple of days. Suffice it to say, I’ve had a couple of really good days – both on and off the bike.

Off the bike, things are coming together for the upcoming season. Received the clothing proofs from Champion Systems – the racing and training kit for the 2010 – 2011 season is going to look good. Same basic design as in past years, but with some new logos. I’m stoked to be racing in this smooth red, white, and black skinsuit, showing off my sponsors.

I’ve been tweaking my race calendar again, added some races and took a couple out. Definitely a jam-packed season ahead. You might notice that the Belgium/European side is not that full yet – this is because I’ve only added the World Cups and elite UCI races – I will be also local races and races in Holland.

Some logistics starting to come together. Looks like the Catamount race weekend – ‘Cross Vegas connection is getting sorted out. Thanks to KingsBridge for helping me out with the travel, logistics and race day support.

Bikes are coming together as well. I’m stoked to be once again racing on the Stevens cyclo-cross bikes. New for me this year, is that I’m making the move from the aluminum frame to the carbon frame. Many thanks to Stevens Bikes for the continued support and for setting me up with some fast and sweet rides. Can’t wait to get out on the new bikes – I’m sure I’ll be turning some heads!

On the training front? Well, Tuesday was a big day. I kicked off the day with a 60 minute ‘cross skills session. Pretty normal stuff – barrier work, tight turns, wide turns, momentum, and confidence building. Got in this early morning session and then back home to work, relax and get ready for the Tuesday night training crit. This week was an “A” race… I’ve not had good luck with the “A” races so far this season. But yesterday I told myself the race would be different. I know I have the fitness. I know I have the cornering skills. I just had to let go, relax and let the bike do its job. Well, happily, with the exception of a mistake on the first lap on corner four… (sorry about this if you were on my wheel and had to close the massive gap….) – the race went well. I rode the race comfortably, at times on the ropes, other times in a good position, all in all a great race. I didn’t make the break (not that I tried) but I still had a great race – most importantly I achieved a goal and built some confidence as well. I rode to the crit, raced the crit, and then rode home with Shaun (who thankfully sheltered me from the wind and bought us some tasty cream soda to help us get out to Barrhaven). In total, Tuesday turned into a four hour training day. Pretty darn good.

Today, has been about recovery. Fine with me. Admittedly I often have trouble sleeping on big training days – my body is tired but I somehow can’t calm my body down enough to get into a deep sleep. I let myself sleep in this morning – made it to 7:30… For my recovery ride I decided to hit up my favorite training grounds and wind around the singletrack and doubletrack on my ‘cross bike. I had a fantastic ride. Hit up a massive sand section and put together a couple loops there that involve singletrack, pavement, a big sand section, some running, and a bit more singletrack. Then on the “Slack” side of the road I put together a really complete ‘cross loop – sand, singletrack, doubletrack, pavement, more sand, and back into the singletrack. All in all, a great session of riding and learning. This summer I’ve really been working on my cadence. I have the tendency to let my legs slow down and slog through the heavy gears. This doesn’t work so well for riding in the sand, mud, reacting to accelerations, climbing, or sprinting…. So a big focus has been on a high cadence. Well, let me tell you, I noticed the difference today – the sand was more manageable and I was able to relax more on the bike since I wasn’t fighting to keep my speed and momentum.

So from all this, I presume you can guess why I’ve been smiling. Really life is just good right now. I’m feeling good. Training is going well. Plans for the season are coming together. I’m lucky to be supported by a great group of sponsors.

If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m lucky – very lucky – some days I feel like pinching myself because everything is just working out so well.

I received an email from a friend of mine today, telling me what she would get tattooed on her arm: One Life. I like this – really like it. I think if I was to get a tattoo, I might just borrow this phrase from my friend…

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