Mmm, the cyclo-cross season is so close. So very close. The tell tale signs are everywhere. People are posting more about cyclo-cross. Old blogs are seeing some life again. Twitter is going crazy with all the #cyclocross hash tags. Bikereg.com has become super popular for us ‘crossers again as we race to get registered. People are mumbling about tire selection, chainring ratios, tire pressure, carbon this, and aluminum that. Yes, some good feelings in the air. I like it.
Had a great ride today. Took out my trusty Steven Super-Prestige. Have to say, I’m really going to miss this bike. It is going to a new home and I know the new owner will have some awesome times with it – just as I have. My new bikes are almost ready so I can’t hardly wait to get out and give them a go. Many many thanks to Vince at The Cyclery for helping me out so much. The support I’ve received this year from Stevens Bikes has been overwhelming – this is saying a lot since the season hasn’t even started yet! Huge shout out to both of these fine companies for their support, patience, and commitment to helping the sport grow.
So, my ride. Well I hit up my usual stomping grounds for some riding in the singletrack and doubletrack. Had a great time. Some solid music flowing into my ears, the weather was perfect, and the trails were pretty much empty. Just me, my bike, and nature. No complaints here. I hit up three of my favorite training loops. Each loop offers a little something different. The first one is all about sand and tight turns. This sand is serious – it reminds me of the sand at Koksijde (if you’ve raced at Koksijde you know what I mean!) – deep, unpredictable, leg-sucking sand. The second loop is one I call “the bridges” – yes, it features a number of bridges, some tight singletrack, some wide open doubletrack and short punchy climb. The third loop is the one I filmed the other day – bit of everything – sand, singletrack, roots, pavement, and doubletrack.
All in all, a most excellent time on the bike. The training time whipped by and I really wanted to stay out longer. But there is method to the training system and as tempting as it is to ride long and to ride hard each and everyday, this is not going to get me where I want. I am heading out again in a few hours to do some skill work. Yep, you guessed – more time spent on the dismount/mount. I realized today as I was dismounting/mounting over logs that it is so easy to revert to the old ways and bad habits – no time like the present to break these habits.
Had a good training day yesterday. I must admit V02Max intervals are not my favorites. But the work has to be done. And I’d much rather be out doing a challenging ride than sitting at home not…. Sealed the deal yesterday with a run. Yes, a run. That time of the year so I have to dust off my running shoes and pound the trails. Each time I go out for a run, I’m stunned to remember that I once was a runner and have even run a marathon! I definitely prefer sitting down and pedaling!
We had a great night last night. We hooked up with Karl Hoppner and his family for a most excellent meal and good conversation. All the plans for the ‘cross season in Belgium are really coming together. I’m feeling super organized (okay well I still have to book my flight and lease a car). I think this season is going to be really special and it will be great to have Karl and his family around for it. I’m looking forward to getting in some good training with Karl, showing him my favorite Belgian training routes, introducing to my Belgian friends, and just getting fully-immersed in life in Belgium again.
Since cyclo-cross season is getting so close, it really is time to start ticking through my “to do” list. Clothing is ordered and will be ready very soon – thanks Champion Systems. Bikes are nearly ready – thank-you to The Cyclery and Stevens Bikes. My head, feet, and wheels are taken care of – thanks OGC. My eyes are protected from the sun’s rays and those pesky twigs – thank-you Oakley. I’m never going to go hungry on or off the bike – thanks to Clif Bar. My legs, lungs, heart, and soul are right on track – thank-you Steve Weller of Bell Lap Coaching. My travel, logistics and behind-the-scene support are spot on – thanks to the fine folks at KingsBridge. Most of all, my number one fan is cheering me along every step of the way – thank-you and big hug for Marc.
Now, I guess I best book my plane tickets and sort out a car… Plane tickets are easy – just need to punch in the dates and book it! I’m hoping to lease another Reanault Kangoo from IdeaMerge – great support system with their new car leases and the Renault Kangoo is perfect for cyclo-cross racing. No time like the present to push the buttons and get the last little bits done.
So close. Love this time of the year. Body is ready. Mind is sound. Time to get out and have some fun!
Oh, almost forgot… Some of you have read my articles in Canadian Cycling Magazine. Well stay tuned for the next issue where I have written an article about cyclo-cross… And if you haven’t read my other articles – well – what are you waiting for! (written with a grin on my face!)