Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back to Business... Game On!

Mixing in lots of breaks... except for the ones that stick!

Hard to believe but here it is already the beginning of March and I have four races under my belt. These are "early season" prep races, mind you, but some of this season's target events are only a couple of weeks away.

Three road races and a time trial down, with a whole slew more still to come over the next six months. More than anything I'm just getting used to being in an aggressive pack again. Most of my training is typically on my own, so going elbow-to-elbow with a swarming mass takes some re-accustomization every spring.

Also, as I've discussed before, there's no preparation for bike racing like bike racing. I race with a power meter and it's always during events that I see my best efforts. Not to mention that it's great practice just gearing up for the events -- the mechanical jumbles involved in prepping my bikes and equipment, figuring out nutrition tactics, dressing for variable conditions, warming up, cooling down, and generally trying to be prepared for whatever will go awry. Now's the time to make mistakes and -- hopefully -- learn from them.

I'm continuing to train through these local events, which means that rather than resting before the races and coming in fresh, I'm treating them as really good intensity workouts. That's not to say that I'm not racing hard and looking for the best result possible -- but it's a long season and, in order to reach new heights, I can't value each race equally.

My favorite warmup secret continues to be variations on Cyclo-BREATH that I do when waiting in the registration line or even when rolling around easy on the bike (be careful with these and don't push it - especially if you do them while riding!). Post-race after a short spin, I'm incorporating quick stretches like COOL In 5' then getting straight into my compression tights to recover as quickly as posisble. When I get home, ideally I'm following this up with Fix the Back or Myofascial relase.

So, to date here in Oregon, I've placed 3rd, 10th, and 11th in the road races and 2nd in my time trial. The early season W has been elusive -- but would definitely be a nice confidence booster. The racing, overall, is really well-run, competitive, and fun. I'm still not doing a very good job of reading the races -- or maybe I'm just having bad luck -- because I seem to be getting into every breakaway except for the one that sticks.

I have two more weekends of one-day road events before the real suffering begins in southern California. I'll be meeting up with my team for the Pro/1 San Dimas 3-day stage race, immediately followed by the legendary Redlands Bicycle Classic 4-day event.

Photo via flickr by Brujo)))

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