So onto the training stuff. During all this time you might think that I was depressed and didn't feel like training. Well the opposite is actually the truth. I have been training all winter. Even though the weather wreaked havoc on my house, it also provided some of the best cross country skiing I've ever seen locally. In fact, I skate skied at Independence Oaks just about everyday for 90-120 minutes a day. Thankfully I have a pretty flexible job that allowed me to move my hours around so that I could do that. The last time I skied all winter was in 2008/2009. That year I went on to be the best athletic year of my life. I did multiple IM's under 10 hours as well as some other half distance races. I ended up being an All American for USAT that year. Now that's some pretty big shoes to fill I know, but it's definitely a positive factor in my favor going into this season, especially after the disaster and embarassment most of 2013 was. I must say however, I learned a lot last season and I'm taking those lessons as well as new lesson into 2014.
I was fortunate to spend some time in Tucson last month. I put in about 20 hours in the week I was there. While I was out there it gave me an opportunity to challenge myself and see how I'm doing coming into spring. I did nothing but base endurance rides and ski's all winter long with the exception of testing my FTP at the end of each base period. Ironically I saw a pretty decent improvement and I wasn't doing any intervals. I also spent more time on strength training which I feel did make a difference during that time. Now that I am going into the build phase, I've stopped the strength training but I may reintroduce if I don't see continued gains for the next period.
Racing has already started for the season. Barry Roubaix was on the 22nd 2 days after returning from Tucson. I was still pretty well blown out from the trip and my time trial up Mt Lemmon the Wednesday before but I love the gravel races so I wasn't going to back out of it. The race started off sort of slow and I was feeling pretty confident. Unfortunately I was behind someone going into a mud hole and instead of plowing through it, he hit his breaks and forced me to stop and I lost front group. I tried to catch them but I couldn't get anyone else to work with me so a gap formed and I couldn't cover it. I didn't really have any top end. I used everything I had going up Mt Lemmon a few days earlier not to mention the century I did 2 days before that. I just focused on trying to keep myself consistent and hope all the base training would pay off and others that hadn't done the training would tire. In the end, I was 5th in my age group so I went home with a cool medal and I was pleased with my result.
This weekend is the Lowell 50, although now, it's a 57 mile race. It's the longest gravel race I've done but it will also be a great gauge for my fitness. The plan this year is to hit some key mountain bike races at locations I like or that sound interesting and road races. On the road, I'm going to race masters and probably focus on road races and not so much crits. Those are races I enjoy and being longer they cater to my fitness more than crits and being that I'll race them in Masters they are even longer. I'm not ruling out crits, I just prefer road races. I'll still do the Wednesday night Waterford races.
So that's it until next time