I’m happy to report I’m feeling better since the weekend. I was feeling off on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday I was feeling strong again.
I’m back on track with my food and my rides. I can’t race this weekend but have arranged for a sitter come over so I can get a good 2-3 hour ride in. It’s been at least a couple of months since I’ve had a ride last more than an hour & 1/2 so I’m really looking forward to getting that ride. Additionally, this weekend may be the last chance to be on the bike for a few days, since the National Weather Service is predicting “Frankenstorm” to hit the Northeast starting Monday and ending sometime Thursday evening.
It leaves the week in a state of unpredictability. Last year we had a freak snowstorm a couple of days before Halloween and we lost power for 4 days. Everything was in a tailspin. I’m not sure how an extended loss of power would affect the racing next weekend, if at all. My plan is to register for both days, and the chips will fall as they may. This is the closest cyclocross race to me and it’s a good-sized one. After 5 days of heavy rain, the course should be a spectacular stew of mud.
My 3 races so far have been sunshiny days with a dry to moist course–any mud has been minor. Unless the drainage at Look Park is incredible, I will be surprised if the mud factor isn’t high. Each race I do, I learn more. I have solid technical skills but my speed is not speedy. I’m picking up small tips that carve time off a course. Some help me capitalize on the flats, some help me build on my technical strengths. I’ve practiced in some mud–nothing too crazy but slick enough to keep me sharp. And after last weekend, I got to experience sand. All this for a shot at the middle of the pack. Or at least not in the bottom 25%.
Today I took my lunch break on gravel roads behind harvested cornfields. I found a path that cut through the woods and connected with a network of trails adjacent to Hampshire College and the Mt Holyoke Range. I hit the pavement back to the office and felt great–riding a cross bike in the woods is faster and more elegant than a mountain bike, and once back on the road, you can still fly. I know I’ve been talking a lot about the races I’ve participated in and I still have more of that ahead. But what I have discovered in riding the cyclocross bike is an all around joy of riding everywhere I love to ride all in the same hour. My 50 minute lunch break took place under grey clouds, 57 degrees of chill and a floor of orange and yellow leaves under my tires. That makes me happier than any place I could take in a race.