Monday, February 20, 2012

2012…The Season Ahead.

Last season was like a roller coaster with no winter training then ramping by "Racing" to Fitness training in April. I was reasonably fast by June, but then headed out west with Mary Ann and the kids followed by 2 weeks in New Zealand. When I got back to riding in August, not all cylinders were firing. Ramped back up by September, sick in October and then limped through the rest. I managed to keep riding during my off season time at least once a week and got some good ski time in with trips to Breckenridge and Utah!! Even bought new skis that are the bomb!!

The best part of the off season was proposing to Mary Ann at Breckenridge!! She is an incredible woman!! <3
Tucson, AZ Here We Come:
OK… back to cycling. Semi structured training started in January and went pretty good. Not a ton of hours on the bike but enough to maintain a reasonable amount of fitness and have some fun on the bike. My friend Wayne, Mary Ann and I headed to Tucson, AZ a few weeks ago to put in some miles to jump-start the season and plan for the year with my Coach Brian Matter of Momentum Endurance. We stayed at an awesome Bed and Breakfast called Jeremiah Inn near the base of Mt. Lemmon, Bob and Beth made sure we were fed very well each morning. Mary Ann brought her MTB and rode some trails on Thursday and Friday with Brian’s wife Andrea. Wayne and I did a fun out and back ride to Colossal Cave with a loop through Suguaro Park on the road bikes. Suguaro Park is like mountain biking for road bikes. The paved road had mostly short climbs with twisty turns, which we hammered through at speeds up to 34mph with one grinding climb at the end. Friday, Brian and I headed out to the Arizona trail for some MTB riding. I rented a BMC 29er from Pro Bike, which took a while to get used to. One of the “features” of the trails in this area is what Sam Schultz calls the 4th dimension… or also called Cactus! The trail snakes its way around tons of Cacti and the price for making a mistake is being stuck by the many different types of needles on the variety of Cactus on the side of the trail. Luckily, all of us manage to not get poked by any of them. The other feature of these trails is that rocks… lots and lots of rocks. Big ones, small ones, flat ones and round ones. It was very challenging in places as the pace was slow and you had to power your way over some rocky uphill areas. Saturday was the climb up Mt. Lemmon. I figured I would be spent and struggle, but was actually feeling pretty good. Mt. Lemmon is 8000ft at the highest point (On the main road, which you hit twice) and at the 0mile marker it is 2600ft for a total net climb of about 5400ft. The first peak is at mile marker 21 where there is a short downhill and then a climb back up to 8000 ft. Brian was saying it would take 2:45min to get to the top. I set a pace that I felt was sustainable and set a goal to not stop the whole way up. The views were breath taking and the change in vegetation as you went up in altitude was interesting. I even saw a guy rock climbing at about mile 12, which looked really fun!! The funny thing is that I said something to the climber and then Brian rolled up behind me out of no where thinking I was hollering to him, but never looked back to even know he was coming. I met my goal of not stopping the whole way up and finished the climb in under 2:30 and still felt good. I waited for the rest of the group, which ended up being just Wayne and Brian, since the women turned back at mile 18. I was really impressed with Mary Ann as she barely rides her bike and then goes on these crazy outings with me and does amazing. We inhaled a pizza and finished another guy’s cookie at the Cookie Cutter and then headed back down the mountain. The way down was interesting as I had not spent a lot of time at 30+ on my road bike and there was a lot of wind, so we took it easy for the first 10 miles. Once I got more comfortable and the wind calmed down a little, I started to push a little harder. The way down was little faster than the way up at about an hr with a peak speed of 46+mph. Total climbing for the day was around 6500ft! The last day, we did a short out and back that ended at LeBuzz which is the local biker hangout for coffee and other goodies. It was a great trip and Mary Ann and I plan on going back every year for a nice winter break! Another highlight of this trip was a place called Frost, which was a Gelato bar… we went every day!

Training and Racing:
So my real training starts now, this will be me for the next 4 weeks.

My first race of the year will be Barry Roubaix which will be here before we know it. I have no big expectations for this race. I finished well in 2010 and it would be nice to see an improved finishing time and avg. speed, but some of that will be dependant on conditions and whether I can get into and hang on in a good group as drafting is huge at this race. My real focus will be getting to CAT3 on the road this year and the road season doesn’t really start until May. I am even more excited about racing the road this season, as the MCG squad will be pretty strong in CAT4. Hopefully we can utilize some team tactics and get some wins. I wanted a change to liven up MTB racing, so I figured I would race SS. I rode my friend Chuck’s SS last year and had a great time; I have also been riding a SS winter bike. I should be getting delivery of my new Quiring SS in the next couple weeks. My SS debut will be at Yankee in April. Looking forward to a great year!!