I thought I could be a fitness guy. I decided I'd give it a try for one year. I got started in the Spring with some great motivation and got in pretty good shape. I'm not elite racer by any means, but as far as I go, I was riding pretty fast in the early summer.
Then I got busy. Work, house projects, family stuff, personal issues...all things that need to be balanced with my riding.
By late summer I was pretty off target in terms of preparation for cyclocross. And as the season came closer, I was veering further off target. At the first race of the year, Alpenrose, I got my butt kicked pretty good. I knew it would happen but I was hoping I would magically be wrong and do well out there. I decided I'd just buckle down and try to improve.
I did improve, but it was too late. I wanted a top 10 finish in my Masters 'A' category, and never got there. I got close with a 14th, and was on track to place even better the next week before a flat tire dropped me to 17th. And then the local scene was over. The USGP cyclocross series came to town, and I did okay, but nothing to brag about. Then came nationals.
This is what it was all about. My slow start didn't matter because nats is at the end of the year and I could continue to improve into that race. I tried my best, but it was clear my fitness was worse in Bend than in Barton. The race was an awesome experience. I loved the course and it was super fun. But I was pack fodder. 65th out of 150.
So here we are, last day of 2010, and it's pretty clear to me as I look to 2011 that I'm a FUN guy, not a fitness guy. I had the tools to succeed at racing, but in the end I just didn't do what was required of me. There is no substitute for hard work, no shortcuts to success on the race course. The better you work, the better you do. I learned a lot this year, and maybe I'll be slightly less "fun" leading up to the 2011 season, but I'm not going to worry too much about it. There are plenty of sources of stress in our lives, and for me, cycling is not going to become one of them.
For 2011, I still want a top 10 finish in my Masters 'A' group in cyclocross. Ideally, it'd come earlier in the season so I still have room to improve. I don't know that I'll get there, but I'll give it a shot. I think it's totally doable without letting training take over your life, but you need to be smart, disciplined and organized...not three words I'd use to describe myself ;)
2010 was cool. I learned a lot. I actually rode my bike and considered it a workout instead of a ride, and that was a first for me. I learned how to push harder. I learned weird things about myself like when I make a certain noise at LT, it's my mind trying to get me to stop when I absolutely don't need to. Adnan was awesome teaching and encouraging me and I am really thankful for that.
Now it's time for a new year, and time to reset the 'cross countdown! Looks like we've got 274 days before Alpenrose. Here we go again, but different this time...just like always. Good luck!