October 15, 2008

Random thoughts on XC racing

It hurts like hell when you're doing it. Just when it starts hurting really bad, it's over. My legs were tired Monday, but when Tuesday rolled around I was fine. No cankles! No feeling retarded for days!

Flying through the woods at XC speed is just plain fun.

The Florida XC crowd is a great bunch that I've missed being around the past 2 years.

When you haven't gone anaerobic for a loooooong time, going anaerobic and staying there for a while really freaking hurts.

This was my first time lining up with the fastest guys in Florida since upgrading to semipro in 2006. Knowing how long it had been since I've done a "sprint" race, the plan was to start conservatively and up the effort as the race progressed, munching carrots along the way. That's pretty much how it went. I was 2nd to DFL at the end of the first lap, but the thing that got me was the top 2 guys in 30+ expert, who started 2 minutes behind me, were breathing down my neck by the end of that lap. Am I really that slow? It turned out that those 2 guys posted the 2nd and 3rd fastest times of the day and nobody else from that group caught (or virtually beat) me.

As was the plan, I munched lots of carrots on the last lap when I discovered that I could actually stay anaerobic for a long time. I started feeling twinges of cramps in the last 5 minutes, which prevented me from munching one last carrot. With the way I drilled that last lap, I was wondering whether I went hard enough the first 3 laps. The cramps answered that question.

My 10th place finish out of 15 starters might not look that impressive, but my time would've put me 3rd in 30+ expert behind 2 guys who probably should be racing pro/semi, and I would've won in my 40+ age group. Given that I'd rather challenge myself against better riders vs. a guaranteed podium spot, I'm right where I need to be. That answers the question of whether to upgrade or downgrade next year, as long as I don't have to pay a silly amount of money for a pro license.

The Bent's Cycling team is one of the best groups of people around. Leroy offered to give me feeds, which he did flawlessly, and Ali volunteered to watch my dogs while I was racing. Thanks. You guys rock.

I'm looking forward to doing it again on home turf next weekend.

October 03, 2008


Long road rides, riding out my door, have been putting me waaaay on the positive side of the "1 hour driving per 1 hour of riding" rule. If I'm gonna drive to ride, I'm gonna drive to a trail. If I'm gonna ride the road, I'm gonna ride out my door. 2 weeks ago I rode 105 miles without using a drop of gas. That was one of my "Tour de Tampa Bay" rides. I left my house, rode into Pinellas using my commute route then over to the coast. I used combinations of road and the Pinellas Trail to get to downtown St. Pete, then headed back home across the Friendship Trailbridge. Last weekend I was a bit less ambitious, but still ended up with a nice 80+ miles with no driving.

That being said, Tallahassee is calling my name. The FSC hits Tom Brown Park next weekend. I love riding there and am in need of a diversion. 2 weeks later the FSC will be in my back yard. I know I said in my last post that I had no interest in XC and that my "season" is over, but I have a nice bit of fitness built up and need to do something with it.

I've spent the last couple of weeks "tapering" and seeing what kind of explosive power I have in my legs. Let's just say that it'll be good entertainment for the spectators watching a guy who's focused on endurance for the past 2 years try to sprint off the line against the fastest guys in the state. It'll look like I'm pedaling backwards. I think I'll just start in the back and see how many guys I can pick off as they blow up.