Plans mean nothing, planning is everything. Eisenhower said this first, but it sums up the way I operate pretty nicely. That said, I have jotted the CX races I’m interested in participating in for 2013. Here is the schedule:
DATE Race Location
August 24 Monson CX Monson, MA
August 25 Blunt Park CX Springfield, MA
September 21 Aenta Silk City CX Manchester, CT
September 28 Great Brewers Gran Prix Gloucester, MA
September 29 Great Brewers Gran Prix Gloucester, MA
October 5 Providence Cyclocross Festival Providence, RI
October 6 Providence Cyclocross Festival Providence, RI
October 20 Sloper CX Southington, CT
November 2 Cycle-Smart International Northampton, MA
November 3 Cycle-Smart International Northampton, MA
November 16 Cheshire CX Cheshire, CT
November 30 Sterling CX Sterling, MA
December 1 Sterling CX Sterling, MA
Some of these dates are confirmed, others are educated guesses. The smaller races like Sloper and Cheshire and Silk City are repeats from last year. Hopefully they will be held again on these similar dates. Gloucester, Providence and Northampton are pretty set, and those are the big ones. I’ve attended Gloucester for many years but never races it–and I’m excited for that one. It’s close to my hometown and has by far the best crowd, and takes place next to the cold gray Atlantic ocean–an epic location for a ‘cross race. There is some uncertainty at the time of this writing as some local folks in Gloucester are against the race taking place since as it has grown, so has the wear and tear on the park immediately post race (the park heals nicely and within weeks you can see the grass growing back. By spring, no one would ever know a race took place at Stage Fort Park. But I digress…). If you want an absolute on the existence of these races, you’ll have to check BikeReg from time to time, although many don’t get posted until well into Autumn.
Absent from this list is Night Weasels. I want to do that race as well, but it’s typically held on a week night, which always presents a layer of difficulty in terms of work/childcare. I think that takes place in November sometime.
Of course there are a bunch of other races I’d like to do not listed above–especially in Maine and New Hampshire. We’ll see what I can sneak in, and what will need to be omitted. But I have a list, a working list, and that’s a good start. It’s also double the number of races I did last year.
Now, I just have to get that new carbon CX bike so I can worm my way to the middle of the pack….
Double meaning, anyone?
This week, temperatures are final climbing north of 40, which brings a waves of relief to those of us who have suffered through the winter with no end. It’s April next week, so we’re good and ready to leave the snow behind, just in time for 30 Days of Biking to begin.
It’s been snowy or windy or just plain cold the last two weeks. It has slowed my biking down a bunch, which I’m not psyched about, but I’ve stepped up my running a bit. My women’s pickup basketball group has secured a gym for the spring and we’re starting our pickup games again, which is a ton of fun as well. But I’d like to get started with longer rides soon.
This week I’m going to try and log 100+ collective miles. I’d like to get a month of those in, if possible. I’m in a unique position where I have some time to ride, and I don’t expect it to last forever, so I’m taking it while I can get it. I want a good base going into summer, and I want to keep it up and try to get faster in general going into the fall. My end game is of course cyclocross season, which constantly resides in the back of my mind, looking for a reason to slip front and center.
Today I took a short-ish ride on one of my familiar (i.e., getting dull) routes. I spiced things up by going off road for a bit. I have been riding the ‘cross bike almost exclusively for the past year and I just don’t want to give it up. I love dipping into the woods whenever I feel like it. I like mixing up the ride with some mud and wet sand, or like today-snow and roots, pine needles, standing ice water and a couple of dogs out for a walk chasing me, wanting to play. I really have to credit the ‘cross bike with keeping me engaged with riding. Other years I burned out, especially when training for a long charity event. But now, I just want more. It’s the best addiction ever, and now that the weather is finally getting a little friendlier, I’m able to get outdoors and play. I think it reminds me of when I was a kid playing on dirt roads in New Hampshire, jumping over roots and tearing through the woods on bikes with friends.
At any rate, Spring is supposed to be here, and this week I might start to believe it. There’s still snow in my yard. I need to stay off the trails until they dry out a bit, but the gravel and dirt roads are fair game, and I don’t mind playing in the mud.
Have you signed up?
Sounds easy, but it’s a little trickier than you’d think. I gave this a try last year and missed about 3 days out of 30, all weather related. Still, I rode a ton, and it wasn’t as if I was logging super long rides. Most of the rides I did was with my son around the neighborhood. This had several unplanned but wonderful results. First, I was able to spend more time with him. We weren’t in front of a TV or on the couch, we were riding bikes. Second, I was able to teach him some of the rules of the road. He’s getting to that age when he’ll want to be venturing out on his own soon, so I tried to instruct him to ride defensively. He gets a verbal quiz and if he does well, he gets to lead the ride. It’s a leap of faith for me to allow him in front of me on the road, even on our sleepy side streets, but little bird has to learn to fly sometime, right? I’m happy to be there coaching him along the way.
My son was very into the idea of 30 Days of Biking. There were days I wasn’t feeling super motivated that he dragged me out on the bike with him, and I was never sorry that he did. As a result, I rode more miles than I normally would have. I felt great, and it’s a great kickstart to the cycling season.
So ride someplace, every day. To the post office, the bank, around your neighborhood, or do a century. Just get on the bike, every day. You won’t regret it.
I haven’t posted much here, because I’m struggling with winter (as I always do) and I’m trying not to be a party-pooper.
I have been riding, albeit not as frequently due to some major storms. I visit my trainer a couple of times a week, I have been running a bit, and when I can, I ride outside. It’s not as much as I’d like but I’m keeping up with fitness. I have even started doing Yoga. Rides haven’t been remarkable so there’s little to write about. It’s just about surviving until spring.
Just south of me in Pennsylvania, my friend Laura did a century last weekend. It got me thinking because despite how long I’ve been riding and some of the accomplishments I’ve had on the bike, I have yet to complete a century ride. I don’t care if I do this as a formal event or just on my own, but Laura and I are kicking around doing one together. Logistics would need to be worked out but its a fine idea.
I also signed up for the Warrior Dash in Barre, MA for June 29th. There’s a couple of folks from high school doing this as well and it would be good to meetup with them outside of Facebook. This year is my 25th High School Reunion and it’s a hell of a way to celebrate. I’m looking forward to it.
I still haven’t formalized all my goals for the year, but I aim to compete in a minimum of 10 CX races this year. I also am saving for a new ‘cross bike, preferable carbon fiber, fast and light. I’m trying to incorporate a bit more structure into my rides to actually increase my performance (speed), although I admit this is hard. I refuse to let riding become un-fun. This is not to say I will avoid an ass kicking ride, but more that riding always needs to reward and not become a tedious have-to-do chore. I’ve done that before while training for longer rides, and don’t wish to repeat.
Fun, faster, fitter, fresher. Improving is fun. Riding is fun. Exploring is fun. I anxiously await warmer temperatures and friendlier weather to see where 2013′s bike rides will take me.
Sad times here in the Northeast. If you have a problem with riding a trainer, you’d better get over it fast, because it’s pretty nasty in our neck of the woods. We got clobbered with snow, 22 inches in my town, 25-30 in the Boston area, and up to 40 inches on the coast of Connecticut. There is nowhere to put it all. Suffice to say, it’s a bit soul crushing for cyclists.
I’ve been doing time on the trainer about 3 times a week, and meh–it is what it is. I still play basketball once a week but roads were impassable last Saturday, plus there was a statewide driving ban (that probably saved lives and many thousands of dollars in property damage). If I could Strava snow shoveling, I’m the freaking Queen of the Mountain. I’ve shoveled walkways, driveways and even sections of my roof. Drifts of 4 feet on sections of roof plus rain caused roof collapses in this area 2 years ago. I got off easy with ice dams that destroyed my ceiling. So I was up on the roof preventing any potential problems from this round of weather. We had rain all day today which made the load of snow we had significantly heavier.
Sigh. I miss my bike.
I suppose its good to want it so bad. Off season should be a time to rest up and recharge. I’ve burnt out by late summer before and I don’t want to repeat that. Cyclocross has helped keep things fresh. Worlds were fun to watch online. But otherwise, I’m eager to ride outside sooner rather than later.
So a bit blue about no riding (other than the trainer, but do we count that? No.), but I figured I’d share some of my favorite social media images from the historic storm. Thankfully I didn’t lose power so I had the Internet to entertain me. For those folks who aren’t from New england that read this blog, it’s worthwhile to note that this past storm occurred on the 35th anniversary of the famous Blizzard of ’78, which is the storm that all others are compared to. I was 7, my Dad was in the National Guard and activated, and gone for 3 days while my mom tried to dig us out on her own (she was successful, as mom always is). Enjoy the pics.
Bring on the spring!
This video is making the rounds in social media, and I had to share it–just watching it makes me regret even more deeply that I did not book a trip to see the Worlds this weekend!
At the very least, if this doesn’t get you psyched about the sport of cyclocross, nothing will.
I remember when I first heard that the 2013 Cyclocross World Championship races would be held, for the first time ever, in the United States. I think it was about 2 years ago. Louisville, Kentucky doesn’t seem like a long trip, and I thought I should book my flight right then. I’m regretting now that I didn’t.
Thank goodness that USA Cycling is offering live streaming of both the women’s and men’s elite races. Here is a link from Cyclocross Magazine in case you’d like to check it out. Saturday, February 2: 11:00 a.m. ET – Junior Men / 2:30 p.m. ET – U23 Men. Sunday, February 3: 11:00 a.m. ET – Elite Women / 2:30 p.m. ET – Elite Men. And bonus! Commentary won’t be in Flemish. We Ugly Americans certainly appreciate that.