Sunday, April 18, 2010

Everyone Else is Doing It

Why not me?

P.S. Don't make fun of my pink shoes. I hate pink.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

About Face

I know the time between my posts has gotten longer and longer. I won't say I'll be better, because I'm not sure I will, but I'll try.

If there is anyone out there still reading this sporadically updated blog, they will probably be surprised by a couple of the decisions I made sometime between Thursday night and Friday afternoon. I think they can safely be described as peculiar. Tonight I'm only going to mention one of them, because everyone loves a cliffhanger, but I will try to get around to the others fairly soon.

So, tonight's topic is the Yankee Springs Time Trial, which I have decided not to race. My reasons for not racing are plentiful and complicated. Some of them are well-reasoned, focused and valid; others are kind of lame. I won't go into them all now—maybe not later, either. Suffice it to say that I'm reevaluating everything.

Quite a few of my teammates are planning to race, and I wish them all luck!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ghosts of Races Past

It looks to me like there's a ghost gliding across this photo I took at Yankee Springs on Saturday. It might just be a smudge on my camera. I don't know.

Regardless, for someone like me who is constantly moving one step forward and two steps back, never making any real, permanent progress, there's always going to be something haunting me. This year, it's the memory of what I was at the beginning of the last race season—strong and fast (relatively speaking). Those first two races, Barry-Roubaix and Yankee Springs, were such successes for me that racing them this year, knowing how much worse I will do, is pure torment. Still, not racing them would be worse, so I'm plowing ahead.

Saturday I went out to Yankee to pre-ride the course and try to assess where I am. Surprisingly, it didn't turn out to be that bad. Knowing that I was so slow in 2008 for my first Yankee, and that I was much faster last year, I was hoping to fall somewhere in between the two, and that's exactly what happened.

I was running about 10 minutes slower than my race time last year, but I also forgot my watch, so I was going just on straight riding time from my computer, and I probably need to add at least a few minutes to it. My plan is to go back on Saturday and try to get in one more ride of it some evening next week. Last year, my times kept improving with each time I pre-rode it and even more so during the actual race, so I'm hoping that happens again.

I remember riding this course before Iceman last year and just completely struggling, barely making it to the end. I expected to feel like that on Saturday, and although I was tired and I did end up walking some of the later hills, I really felt much better than I anticipated.

There's a no-drop group going out from Yankee at 11 that Danielle is leading. Some of my team, organized by Jake, also seem to be doing a group ride of Yankee on Saturday. I haven't figured out what I'm going to do yet, but right now, I feel like just being by myself and struggling on my own with no one to witness it, so maybe I'll go out really early. At any rate, I'm eager to see what happens.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Surprise Me!

Yesterday after work, I went out to ride at Burchfield. Normally, we don't go anywhere near it this early in the season, but I had heard a rumor that due to the unseasonably warm, dry weather, it was pretty rideable. I was itching to get back on a real trail, so I skipped out of work a bit early and headed out there.

Once at Burchfield, I was treated to a few surprises:

Surprise #1—The trail was indeed dry! I'll admit I was a bit skeptical. A lot of the trails at Burchfield are so low lying and close to the river that it's usually quite wet until late in the spring. This was definitely a good surprise.

Surprise #2—Someone has been doing quite a bit of work at Burchfield. There were some brand new bridges to replace some of the decrepit ones and even some gravel and drainage pipes in place of what used to be muddy quagmire for most of the year. Nice!

Surprise #3—No matter how burned out I get on a trail, spending a winter riding nothing but the trainer and the River Trail will pretty much cure it. Burchfield is amazingly fun again.

Surprise #4—My Fat Cyclist water bottle looks really sweet on the Badger. See?

Surprise #5—Did you ever catch a leaf in your front tire when you were riding? It makes a really annoying noise and you can't really reach it to pull it out. It always happens to me when I have some good speed and momentum going and I don't want to stop to remove it. I always wish it would just fall out on its own and yesterday, this actually happened. Such a small thing, but so satisfying.

Surprise #6—That incredibly non-sketchy downhill still inexplicably scares the crap out of me, but I keep riding down it to try and cure myself.

Surprise #7—I still completely love, for reasons I have yet to understand, this little section of trail that goes behind Heron Pond.