This was taken just a few days ago, in the southeast. I was riding my bike past this amazing tree near my neighborhood and luckily I had a camera on me. Even though the weather has really taken a turn, the fall has been fantastic here. After a couple of years on the east coast I got a new standard for what a fall turn could look like..and I wasn't even in Vermont in the true midst of the changing leaves. Nonetheless, Portland has impressed me.
Its time again to start the preseason training program. For those of us not racing cyclocross, things are pretty slow. I'm starting to put in the base miles again. After getting married in August, I had, all told, taken two months off from riding. The last month has been spent just trying to feel comfortable on the bike again. I wasn't very fit this last season, my first season racing in eighteen years- worst of all, it followed two and a half years in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and hours of commuting (see previous post on Hummers)..So, I was a fat-ass. Got to Portland last year, lost ten pounds pretty quickly. Now just ten more pounds and I'll be back to my college weight.
So last year's training plan was basically 'just have fun', put in miles, and see what I could do. This year I plan to include 'doing well' at races in addition to the having fun part. I managed to exceed my expectations this year. After finishing 22nd in my first race back (cherry pie, mens cat 5), and three or four top fives and just missing the win at one of the old farts PIR cat 5 race by about a foot, I plan on being more prepared this upcoming season. I'll be a cat 4, so the racing intensity will be greater, the competition stronger, and the races will arguably be more dangerous. Thinking back to the Banana Belts, I wasn't fit enough to hang after doing a solid paced lap up those hills. So this year, those will be my first objective -I'd like to at least hang with the front group and finish. If I do reasonably well first race out, then I'll think about a good result for the overall. If not, then I'll just have as much fun as possible. That's not too much to ask.
I have a pretty good natural sprint, so I'll work on that too. I'm hoping that I'll get back some of that strength I had as a junior (my sprint was pretty good). So all that said, it looks like hill repeats and sprint intervals and weight lifting...yeah!