A lot has happened in the last month, and it’s time to switch from Enduro to Cyclo-Cross. Cyclo-Cross is a more traditional style of racing, with a mass start of bikers racing to cross the finish line on a closed circuit course. The difficulty in cross racing is that we are on road bikes with knobby tires, racing in any and every condition: rain, snow, mud, ice, or sunshine. THERE ARE NO WEATHER CANCELATIONS! Well MAYBE lightning, but that’s a big maybe. The course features sand pits, barriers, tight 180 turns, mud pits, trenches and ruts that develop from the racers. I feel like a kid playing in a mud pit….it’s exhilarating!!
I made my trek home to Alaska where I spend the off season working for my parents and being with family. I arrived in Alaska late September, and started my Cross season the next day with a race. Cold air in my lungs for training and racing burned the lungs just as bad as the hot desert air did in Vegas.
Having no training for the efforts of cross, I knew it was going to be a short but hard season of getting into cross shape. Imagine having to run the mile when all you have been training for is the 100 yard dash.
That was me.
Cross season is a buffer for me to still race, but focus more on having fun and playing in the mud. Although I do really well in it, I take some races serious though. In 2011 I took the 4 corners overall title. In Durango where a majority of the top elite cyclist train and live, well it’s a big deal. Last year I left in November, so I didn’t finish the series out. The Alaska cross season is short, and only goes till the end of October. In Durango it goes all the way towards the end of December, stretching my season out even longer if I would have stayed.
I felt good for the Cross races here in Alaska, but in the short term my cross racing fitness just lacked. During the transition of race disciplines it takes some time for my body to adjust to the efforts. I always start slow in the beginning and get progressively faster as the season goes on. I had great starts and would pull hard, but I would end up fading towards the end.
I trained accordingly during the week-working on my intensity and doing intervals, and every race I got stronger and faster. By the time the season was over I was just barely getting my legs back into shape and used to the efforts. I had races every weekend once I got back so it was good training, but mid-October came fast and the season here in AK was over.
There were a good amount of racers (35-40) in the races, but there were only four other racers that were fit and proved competitive and I was not even in proper cross shape. The five of us battled it out every weekend. Once I learned their techniques it was hard for them to keep up with me. It was never a mission to win but to have fun and enjoy the races.
Overall the quick cross season (my first in Alaska) ended up well. I had a slow start on my first race with a fifth place finish, but it picked up pretty quick after that: 3rd, 3rd crashed, 3rd, 2nd crashed, and finishing the series with a 3rd place overall after missing two races in early September.
At the end of the cross season I was ready for a break. I was beginning to feel burned out and losing motivation. I have been racing since March: always worrying about my diet, having to train, traveling, getting my bike in race shape, keeping my body in race shape, staying home while my friends are out having fun, and the list goes on. So it’s a good feeling to turn the switch off, so that later on I can turn it back on and be fresh for another long season!
So that’s been my life for the last month and some weeks. It was great season, and I look forward for 2014! Until then I’m still training, but my training is less cycling and more focused on fixing the imbalances that the cycling position does to the body-so for me that means lifting weights, a lot of stretching, swimming, and once it snows I will start skiing and snowboarding. I will just work out and have fun doing it.
Once again a big thanks to my awesome sponsors Garden of Life. I can never thank you guys enough for the sweet products you guys provide me to help me stay fast, focused, and healthy.