Back to the Woods

Well, my first “official” week of back training is in the books. Lets just say it was an excellent week of riding. It was so refreshing to get out on my road bike and pedal. I felt good – really good. Who knows maybe all of the easy riding and rest has actually built some fitness or at least helped me to stay where I was before this latest slow down.

Basically, it is just great to back on a structured plan that has focus. I did enjoy getting out in the woods everyday on my ‘cross bike and working on my technical skills – but I have to admit after close to four weeks of riding alone on the same trails and doing pretty much the same drills, I was getting a bit stale.

Today after a week of riding the road bike, it was back to the woods. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous. I hadn’t ridden my ‘cross bike in over a week so I was concerned that maybe I wouldn’t have actually learned anything the four weeks prior. In other words that I’d be right back where I was in June.. Well, I’m happy to say – this was not the case. In fact I was able to push my limits even further today.

I had an excellent ride and it was a treat to back on those familiar trails working on my technical skills. I hit up my favorite little loop that essentially features a quick downhill, a fast sandy double berm, a quick corner and a steep little climb. This is loop is all about flow and control. It is a really small loop but it does the job. Some days I work on the descent, carrying as much speed through the berms as possible and trying to float up and over the steep climb. Other days I ride the loop in reverse, working on downhill cornering technique, bike control through the sandy berm and then acceleration up the climb. Either way it is a small loop that hits on a lot of the essential cyclo-cross skills.

Today my goal was to see how much speed I could take into the sandy berm. Well I found out! I also learned that nothing crazy happens when I end up riding over the top of the berm! In fact I have to say even the times when I didn’t line things up quite right and the bike ended up sliding out or acting squirrely, I still stayed off the brakes and just focused on looking forward and pedaling.

A sign of good things to come. In past years (heck two months ago), I would have panicked, hit the brakes, pulled a foot out and became frustrated with myself. Not now. Now I seem to have developed some real “bike sense” – and I’m trusting the bike to do its thing. I think along with this comes heaps of confidence and a really strong desire to have the season of my life.

I can’t explain it but I really feel like this is going to be a big year for me. Maybe I’m jinxing myself by writing this. But I’m always honest on this website. When things are going well – you’ll know. When things are going not so well – you’ll know.

I’m looking forward to a couple of good rides this weekend on my road bike and then it is back to the woods on Monday. I have to say that my coach Steve Weller has been amazing through all of this. We are taking the training week-by-week and I know that he has a plan and I’ve got complete faith in his ability to get me where I need to be.

Oh, and the new clothing design? Lets just say – it is awesome. I’ve got a great graphic designer doing a bang up job on the clothing design. I’m pretty stoked about how it looks. Yes, there is purple in the design (sorry Sheri – no pink). I’m excited to pull on the new skinsuit and to do some racing.

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