My bike saddle saw my ass for approximately 4 minutes last week. I’d done something to my, ahem, chamois region and it was pretty painful to ride. So I didn’t. And the timing was good — Short Track had just ended, and I technically had a few weeks until my Time-Crunched Cyclist program re-started. But today, I got back on. I might wait another day or two — I’m still a bit tender — but cyclocross is coming. I can hear it. I can smell it. It’s happening.
And short track went SO WELL after the training block I did, so I’m wondering what ‘cross will reveal.
For one, I think it will go better than last year. Last year, I’d had a fantastic short track season (for me), and then ‘cross season just sucked. Part of that was that I wasn’t riding very much. I’d just changed jobs and was driving a lot, and finding time to train with the new baby just wasn’t working. But my expectations had been raised, perhaps unrealistically. Despite that, I’m going to allow myself to have higher expectations again this year: To be in the top 10% of the field seems plausible. In a field of 200, that’d be the top 20. I hovered there for a chunk of short track, despite having stopped training after the second week.
It seems entirely realistic, especially if I keep training like I did this spring and summer. In a lot of ways, I might be even stronger since I’ll be building on what I did earlier this year. I don’t expect to cat up to the B’s (though that would be awesome), but I’ll leave that as a stretch goal.
One worry that I have is my technical riding. It’s not so good. But I’m going to dedicate a day per week to riding in the grass at a park up here. It’s got some great little hills, and practicing off-camber will be a main focus. Tight corners, too. Will it work? I dunno. I can get locked onto my own front wheel sometimes, and that makes me a terrible technical rider.
I never did figure out how to beat the whole “being chased vs. chasing others” psychological problem. I tried hanging back during the middle of the race for the final short-track race, but I had one of my worst placings ever. Based entirely on the results of that race, the issue was perhaps less one of psychology and more one of “I was just getting slower.”
Racing into Shape
One part of this season that worries me is that I will be racing my way into shape. I don’t know if that will be a good idea or a terrible idea. When will I peak? Will that course be a good fit for me to peak? Both PIR Crusade races will be good for me. The end of the Blind Date will be good for me. Edgefield will be awful. Krugers will be good. So that leaves a lot of B races at the beginning of the season where my expectations should be reasonably low. But I don’t know if I can race “easy.” And I worry that by season’s end, I’ll be too fried to rest up enough to be strong for a peak race. Well, we’ll just have to see. And if I need to bag on weekend races or the Blind Date series, then so be it.