This will be my first time racing MTB XC Nationals!
I really felt like I started out the season very strong. I also feel that although my results didn't suffer much in many regards I had a lapse of focus after Fontana. My weight went up by 10lbs. My training volume fell off without any significant increase in intensity. My discipline suffered.
I don't have much experience finishing a season without a major interruption so my racing and training is still very much in it's infancy. 2009 was my first season and 2010 was basically a total loss for me after Fontana. If we exclude the crazy life stress that I have experienced this season which impacted my training/dedication to racing, this is only my second season of racing that hasn't been completely derailed. I really don't know much about what my maximum potential is, how to train myself to reach that potential, or how long I can maintain it. I don't know because I just don't have enough information. In some regards a coach could apply some anecdotal information, but even a great (read big $$) coach isn't going to know me.
In any case, I have managed to re-focus. I think.
What does that mean? It means I get back to focused, dedicated training. It means I get back to racing weight. It means I eat clean meals (sadly no pizza). It means I go fast when I need to and rest when I am not going fast. Today I am at race weight.
150lbs and change. My tan lines are an indication that my training focus and dedication is on track. Though it isn't all pain and suffering to achieve them, recently I have had some fantastic rides with Allison in the mountains. I have only a few more hard workouts before I rest for Nationals, primarily hard intervals in the heat on the road bike #suffering.
According to the USA Cycling rankings I am sitting in the top spot for my AG headed into the race...
...but I think most people know that these rankings are totally useless. I have been beaten outright this season by the guy ranked 20th (Big Bear Shootout #1), and based on some quick research from non-USAC sanctioned MSC races the guy ranked 23rd has a very good chance of being a significant threat for the podium.
Last week I did a power test (2x20 on Palomar) and although my power numbers aren't as high as I might hope for, I feel like I am about as well prepared as I can be. My lack of altitude acclimatization has a chance of playing a role in the race for sure. I know for a fact that other local fast CAT1 racers are already at altitude, if not already riding the course in Idaho. That makes me a bit nervous.
The course makes me a bit nervous too. Looking at the profile I can tell you that the climb might be on the outside of what is ideal for me. Combine that brutal climb with the altitude and I can tell you now race day is certainly going to be an exercise in severe suffering. I really hope that there is some technical aspect that tips the scale in my favor as the pure climbers that live at altitude look like they might have an advantage.
What variables I do have control over I will be trying to take care of this week. I need to race prep the bikes and square away all our gear. This is no small task when you consider that my race steed has suffered through some wicked bad conditions this year. I also need to ensure that we have all our other gear ready to roll: camping, tools, spares, etc. It isn't so easy to pack all that stuff into the little TDI, but we will save a LOT of money in fuel by driving it!
I will have one final race tune-up at Rim Nordic this weekend. Wish me luck. I may not have a chance to post another blog between now and some time well after Nationals.
So 6 years ago I was 90lbs heavier wearing 40" waist jeans (my 29's are falling off me now), 1 year ago I fractured my neck in *at least* 6 places. Regardless of my finish position at Nationals I am stoked to be where I am right now. Life is what you make of it. "Do Epic Shit", Go Hard, *insert every other motivational saying you can think of*
See you on the trails!