Man what a year. Highs and lows abound.
I’d say the biggest high for me this year was walking away with 2nd place at Paris to Ancaster. It was an emotional event for me as it was an accumulation of 5 years of trial and error and finally having everything come together. The medal sits in my room as a reminder that things aren’t handed to you, but only through work and sacrifice can you get things done. Though I’m not done with P2A yet. I have other goals within the race now. In 2016 it will be one of the select few primary races I’ll be doing for sure.
The lows for me this year was how expensive everything else was. With a coach, a new set of legs and a cardiovascular system that can keep up I rode a lot harder on my equipment than I usually do.. this resulted in…
2 Hub Rebuilds
1 New Pair of Shoes
2 New Pairs of Gloves
1 New Seat
1 Fork Rebuild
4 Wheel True Ups
1 Fat Bike Tube
1 Conversion to 1×10
But this also resulted in a lot of this:
I had way more fun on my bike this year than any other.
With race season being over and “base training” season starting for Pueblo I’m heading into darker months, both mentally and literally. I suffer from SAD. While most people laugh and say its not a thing, to you maybe, to me, the sudden loss of motivation, the cravings for the most absolutely shitty food I can jam into my face, and wanting to hibernate only to play video games and ignore everything else in my life is a very real thing that starts… oh right about 5 minutes after the Fall 8H was over.
Its a very real problem. Year after year, around this time I halt everything related to cycling except for dual wielding credit cards hoping to get faster by osmosis. I’ll jump on the trainer and do a workout here and there, but over the course of the month and leading into December it becomes a chore to jump on and ride even for 30 min.
The alternative to working out is… put the kids to bed, throw on some flannels and a oversized hoodie, grab myself a gigantic coffee flavored sugar and milk. A warm bagel or 3 and its off to Xbox land where I argue with 12 year old squeakers all night about the finer arts of Destiny.
….. while my wife produces huge watts by rolling her eyes.
With the comfort foods creeping into my office and my home pantry, I would gain my winter 20, and top out around 270 again further adding to my winter blahs when my belts were suddenly getting tight again. Sometime in February I’d realize P2A was around the corner, and with the advent of longer days and more sun, I would jump on the trainer and I’d drop down to 250 and race. It happened this year for P2A. I managed to get myself on track in January for April so this is why I did well, but when I’d start in March, I’d end up relying on my base to get me through P2A, and I’d do well but then I’d be mad at myself.
Not this year.
I’ve been with my coach now for 9 months and things are progressing very well for Pueblo. The fall 8H really demonstrated how far I’ve come from a riding perspective. With my times being not far off my much faster buddies and extremely respectable when placed on any top ranking team. I am well ahead of where I was last year. Also, weighing in right now at 245lbs is the lowest I’ve ridden in a while and it feels good. Though I’m still a fatass.
The idea is to keep the momentum going, and work on small wins over the next few months from a cycling point of view, and to work on keeping the anxiety and seasonal depression to a minimum. The first decision was to go with gears for Pueblo. I have a fantastic geared bike that doesn’t need any upgrades. Sure there’s some new technology out there that may help me marginally, but cost wise its too much to place any value in putting it on my bike, or upgrading. If it can hold up against the Fall 8H course and the abuse I put it through, it’ll hold against a fairly smooth Pueblo course ridden at 70% of that speed.
Also, I was under the presumption that I could podium if everything went right. This was probably the biggest problem for me as I’ve never ridden more than 8 hours, and by the time 8h is done I’m pretty cooked on our home courses here. The sun and course may not be as forgiving in Pueblo as I remember it being, so I needed to jump off that wagon and get realistic about things.
My goal is still 15 laps. I’ll see where that gets me. I’d be happy with a top 10 finish.
A couple of other things is to keep riding outside as much as I can. With the colder weather setting in and a fatbike in the quiver, there’s no reason I can’t go outside and ride, and with Zwift and a Kickr, I can ride Pueblo’s course as much as I want in prep for what to expect from a wattage standpoint.
So in summary, over the next few weeks to fight the “winter blues” I’ll be looking for and celebrating small wins and creating very manageable milestones that should get me there intact both mentally, physically… and ready to perform.