Sunday, February 28, 2016

Instead of a Race

What was supposed to be a race weekend turned into a weekend of riding with teammates, and a good amount of hours and miles put under the legs. 73mi+ on Saturday and just under 50mi on Sunday puts this weekend's riding up a notch from the past this year.

a humble man's bike shop
It just so happened that I made the newbie mistake of registering too late - though I thought I had registered weeks ago - for the William & Mary Tidewater Winter Classic. I was put on the waitlist, and such as it is, I did not feel particularly motivated to drive down to the race and be potentially turned away from being abl to line up. Yet, my motivation to ride did not fail. I took my bicycle out in race-ready form (tubular wheels and no saddlebag) to the Clifton group ride. It always helps when teammates begin chatter on the emails about the weekend ride options. The cold was not quite deep enough to turn me away, and I wanted to try my new frame out with the carbons and sprint efforts along the way.

old bike, but with an old friend
We had good numbers at the Clifton ride. For the teammates that were there, we rode hard, communicated, took sprints from the die-hards, and enjoyed the cold outing. As motivated as I was, teammates were ready to roll as well. I put my efforts in for what I thought would be a 55-60 miles ride. They added a bit more than i anticipated. I bonked hard 65 miles on to the end. Luckily a teammate gave me a lift home to save me the uphill to my place from his, and ending with more than I was ready for is not all that bad for how fun it all was.

Sunday provided a bit of a different pace. I rode to a teammate's place and we rolled out to the roads by Mason Neck State Park for measured, interval work. It was a bit more than I expected, but it was just what my legs needed. A bit more work and effort to drive home the weekend's riding was great. Not to mention the warm, sunny 60s weather the area enjoyed. I now recline very tired, but glad with where my legs are. There is a lot of room for improvement, but I learned a lot this weekend and look forward to the races coming up.

Anyway, I want to get back in the habit of grabbing a few pictures for this place. Hopefully I'll have a few more to spruce up the posts with next time.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 22, 2016

On Again

Each year, this off-season mantra plays through my head again and again: "You get out what you put in".

I live life trying to get the most out of it. I have talked on here before about how fortunate I feel to be in the position that I am to even pedal a bicycle for the fun of it. I am even more fortunate to be able to compete and try again and again to win.

Looking forward to my 2016 season, I see a lot of opportunity. That opportunity comes in the form of strategy. I am planning my season upon a more focused way of racing. I will play to my strengths, and do everything I can to give myself the best chance to win.

I have to finally let go of my amazing 2011 Scott Addict R2 frame that has treated me so well over the past 5 years. I have moved to a single-season used 2015 Felt AR5 frame. I am swapping over all of my SRAM 10speed components and powermeter. Until now, I hadn't realized I do not have a good picture of the bike yet, but here it is mid-assembly.

I had some help, but I did most of the assembly myself. No one to blame but me for any mechanical failure. Having worked in a bike shop over this past summer, a lot of things have been demystified. Having a better understanding of what I need to be doing as far as maintenance and repair will go a long way for me this year and beyond.

Speaking of which, I have applied to numerous doctor of physical therapy (DPT) programs. It has been an arduous process completing prerequisites, taking standardized tests, and waiting to hear back. More on this to come, I'm sure.

Funnily enough, my support crew has gotten the itch to start racing a bicycle, herself. I don't know if it's seeing my scars, watching crashes happen less than 100m from where she has been sitting, or all of my nerdy bike-talking over the past FOUR years, but she has herself a 2015 Felt ZW5 ready to race! Note that she came to me about wanting to race... I never suggested it, but I'm all for it and am ready to throw back my 100% support her way.

One thing we both recognize is that we hope for the same thing when we ride - to have fun! For me, losing sight of that serves no one any good. I like to think that having fun is what keeps me riding.

I'll finish this post by sharing a rider on the other side of the globe that I find to epitomize what having fun on the bike is all about. I discovered Mark Ferguson of "Cycling Maven"'s vlogs on YouTube recently and have not stopped watching. His channel and following has been growing, and I hope you all can see what I mean when you check out his videos. From racing tips and in-race footage, to rider interviews and life-style commentary, Mark shares with his viewers a lot of what makes him fulfilled in life and the cycling culture he loves in Melbourne, Australia. Check out his channel here: YouTube - Cycling Maven.

Thanks for reading. I hope to be touching base here more often. I've got biology class in less than an hour.