Taking a Trip

Today I head out the door and won’t return for a week…. Yes, the craziness of the cyclo-cross season is full on. Perfect. Just the way I like it.

On Thursday I had taken over the living room with piles. Piles and piles of clothing and gear. Clothing and gear for this weekend in Vermont for the New England Verge Cyclo-Cross Races. Clothing and gear for the two days in San Diego. And yet another pile of clothing and gear for Cross Vegas, Interbike, and the city of wonder known as Las Vegas.

I should have taken a photo of the living room, it was pretty impressive! After much head-scratching, I finally got everything strategically packed. As I packed I realized I don’t really have a Las Vegas-appropriate wardrobe (whatever that is). But I just kind of know my clothes don’t work with Las Vegas. Ah well, I’m sure I won’t be the first cyclo-cross racer to walk along the bright streets of Las Vegas in baggy jeans and a race t-shirt…

In between this packing and a bit of mumbling to myself, I did get out for a great ‘cross skill session. I set myself up at my little neigbourhood park and got down to business. Nothing really earth-shattering here. Typical warm-up of turning drills, dismounts and mounts. I set up the grid on the hill and focused on smooth cornering and pushing my limits with my downhill cornering speed. Then it was time for some uphill dismount practice. This is when things got interesting. I had a break-through – an epiphany of sorts.

You see, my uphill dismount is not pretty. It is rather clumsy, uncoordinated and just not smooth. Well, time to fix this. All of this clumsiness and stumbling is costing me time and making me a bit inefficient. So I approached the uphill dismount just as I do the flat dismount – I did it slowly and broke it down to the key components. By doing this I realized that I am really slowing down when I come off the bike – my feet hit the ground but not fast and I also take a couple of steps before picking up/shouldering the bike. Not good. This is causing me to loose my momentum and making the uphill dismount slow and clumsy. So I worked on trying smooth out the dismount – coasting in with my hand properly positioned on the top tube – I learned that during the uphill coast, my right hand is not leaving the handlebars – this slowing everything down. I practiced and practiced some more. I made some improvements and took a few steps back. I didn’t expect to fix this in one session but the true bonus from this session is that I realized what I was doing wrong and have identified how I can make things better.

This to me, points to the sign of an excellent training session. After a bit more flat dismounts/mounts and turning, the rain came out so I took this as a signal to pack up my toys and roll home. Unfortunately as I entered the house, I realized that I still had the piles in the living room to deal with….

Good news is that as I sit here bright and early on Friday morning, everything has come together. Just need to drag the bike boxes up from the basement and cram everything into our vehicle for the weekend. Luckily we’re not trying to stuff everything (four ‘cross bikes, a lot of wheels, two race bags, one slightly bigger bag, food, trainer, tools, two bike boxes) into our Matrix. Ken and Denise H. have been super generous and loaned us their Sequoia so we won’t have any packing issues. Thanks so much for the vehicle! To make things even easier this weekend we’ve got some great housing for the weekend, thanks to Jen and Shane for letting us invade their house again this year.

Looking forward to a great weekend of racing, chilling out, and enjoying all that cyclo-cross brings to my life. I’m sad that I’ll be away for a week and that Marc won’t be with me to experience Cross Vegas and Interbike. But I know he’ll be there with me in spirit, cheering me on – I can hear him already “good job!”, “you’re doing great”, ” dig deep – catch that girl”, “great race”.

Well, best get out for my opening work-out and then it will be time to hit the road. Check back over the weekend for race reports and be sure to visit next week to read about Cross Vegas, Interbike and Las Vegas.

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