Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finding My Racing Legs

The past few cyclocross seasons have not gone well for me.  Last year I started to regain my lost passion for the sport and put in a lot of training to get ready for the season.   I actually had solid form and was looking forward to some good results.  Then Carolynn made me go to the Dermatologist to look at a few suspect spots on my body.  Turns out one was actually positive for skin cancer and they had to remove it.  All that training down the tubes as I could not race.
Fast forward one year and I find myself finally healthy and ready for a season of cyclocross racing with my team.  Only problem with this year is my form in not there and my weight is about 15 pounds in excess.  Most of that came from a summer of weight training and therapy to get myself all healed up from past injuries.
I have been following an older cyclocross training plan that in the past brought me good results.  At the first race of the season - Buffalo Bill Cyclocross Race, I tested that plan.  The result was not very good.  I ended up trying to stay on riders wheels only to get dropped each time.  The power was just not there.
Heck, even my dismounts/remounts were lacking.  Usually I am good at the barriers and attack those with some passion.  Every lap I dreaded those barriers.  Or maybe it was the uphill after the barriers that sucked.  Either way I needed to really work on my dismounts after that first race.

I found a picture from 10 years ago. Now if I could just attack those barriers like I did back then!  Check out that form and that bike.  Why did I ever sell that Sling Shot?  Sure it was a little heavy and handled like a wet sack of potatoes but it was easy on the back out on course.
My second race of the season was the CoMo Cyclocross Cup in Columbia, MO.  The course suited me well and after a week of hard training I was hoping for a better showing.  If the start was any indication I was starting to find my racing legs again.

The racing over in Columbia was fun.  Carolynn attended and rode the Rhett's Run Mountain Bike course before the race.  After she enjoyed the beer tent and some Logboat Brewing Company beers.
Out on course I was in the thick of things and felt better and was able to stay with everyone on the first part of the course.  When the masters caught up to the Single Speed guys who had started first I ran into trouble.  I took my time passing them and was quickly passed by a handful of master riders who had no such plan.  I guess I saw those single speed cogs and thought I was back racing with them.

On the barriers I felt better but had a little problem the first lap and got passed by a few riders. I am still feeling heavy when I jump up over the wood.  I guess that is what 15 extra pounds feels like.  Each lap I would get passed by riders on the barriers which was a little depressing. 

I like the descents and winding course at CoMo.  It allowed some rest and each lap I was able to pass back some riders or at least bridge back up to them.
Most of the race today I was actually racing with guys.  That is a sign of improvement but a mid-pack finish is not what I am looking for.  The last four laps I actually pulled pack some riders and was feeling stronger.  When I caught them with two laps to go I popped.  The final two laps were a real sufferfest.  Mentally I fell apart and could not push myself for the entire 45 minutes.

 Hopefully with another month of focused training I can get my old racing legs back and get back on the podium on a regular basis. I think some cooler weather and maybe some mud/snow would also help.  October will be all about getting ready for November and the early part of December.  

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