I've been pretty bad about updating this blog so far this year, but as most of us (everywhere) know, it hasn't been exactly a ride-friendly winter. My training regimen has been basically just a lot of swimming, some yoga, and recently, some gym workouts at my new gym, Nex Level. All in all, it's been a lemonade-from-lemons kind of winter. Since this is more or less a cycling blog, there really hasn't been all that much to report this winter. I've kind of stayed away for this space for a while now but I came back to it the other night for the first time in a while and noticed something I'd missed before. Late least year, I did a post about crossing the 3000 mile mark on the SS for 2013. On Friday, I noticed a comment that had been left on that post for the first time. It read:
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I have to admit: in putting together a summary of the past year, I had to look through my photos just to remember most of it. It's not that 2013 was an uneventful year -- to the contrary, it was probably one of the busiest years I've ever had on the bike. In fact, that's probably why I had trouble recalling specifics.
The short story of 2013 would go something like this: new experiences, a lot of time spent on the singlespeed, some really great race results, some really shitty race results, and a couple of great trips to ride/race in new places from Virginia to Minnesota.
The longer story?
Well, nobody likes a long story but everybody loves pictures, right? So let's tell the long story in pictures ...
|January featured my first snow rides in over a year (recall the winter of 2012 was abnormally warm.)|
|Recovering at home after surgery to fix a deviated septum|
|N+1, the Niner SS version!|
|Bakers Dozen on a rigid SS with a broken hand? Ouch.|
|Bakers Dozen was a real find for me -- I loved that race!|
|SSAP didn't go that well my first year in the open class -- under-geared, I spun like crazy just to get a mid-pack finish.|
|My Rapha Gentlemen's Ride trophy -- my day ended with a 30+ mph crash that cracked my frame.|
|Midnight at Marsh Creek was my first outright win of the season|
|Flying in Chicago for the trip to SSUSA|
|Winona gave us an awesome party and an epic ride|
|Winona, MN as a ride destination? Who'd have thunk it?|
|Time off in the summer gave me chance to ride some places I don't get to ride enough, like French Creek|
|Iron Cross … another awesome day. Instant classic and a new can't-miss on the calendar!|
|Cathedral Pines started off shaky on my pre-ride when I snapped my seatpost ...|
|… but by the next morning, i had a replacement post and was ready to roll ...|
|… and it paid off as I hit my long-held goal of eight laps, good enough for 2nd in SS and 13th overall.|
|It was a year with a lot of saddle time, including over 3K miles on the SS!|
|All in all, 2013 was one of my favorite years in recent memory - lots of fun on and off the bike|
One final note on the year that was before moving on to 2014: this blog is generally about my riding and racing, but no mention of 2013 would be complete for me without a mention of Joanna's year. She had a few tough years due to some injuries and a difficult work schedule (to put it mildly.) But in 2013, she put aside the recent issues and re-focused on the things she's always loved doing. A huge factor in this was her decision to sign up for personal training again at a unique cross-fit-syle gym that opened in our area about a year ago. The real turning point was her trainer -- I really can't overstate the impact his training regimens has had on her. Since the start of the year, she's steadily progressed in her workouts and fitness, re-certified as a Spinning Instructor and started leading classes at the Y (she was always a fantastic instructor so I was really glad to see her go back to that) and even discovered a new interest in gravel riding, which we'll be exploring together in '14. I felt like I had a pretty good year, but her year was phenomenal! I couldn't be more proud of her or happy for her!
So … 2014. I have a few plans for this year that pretty much start right away. My big goal for the year comes before the half way point -- the 24 Hours of Round the Clock in Spokane, WA the weekend of May 25th. I'll be spending the first five months building to that goal, so there will be lots of training between now and May. It's going to be a pretty busy year overall with lots of travel -- in addition to the Spokane trip (which might turn out to be a logistical nightmare), I'll be in Baltimore for the 8 Hours of Patapsco and in Leesburg for the Bakers Dozen in April, Chicago for my brother's bachelor party in early May, Spokane in late May, NYC in July for my brother's wedding, Copper Harbor for SSUSA in August, back to Virginia for the SM100 in September, and finally out to Long Island for CP in November. In between, I've got a few long, local drives to deal with for other events as well. Obviously, the wedding events are a definite go, and I'm already registered for SSUSA, so I'll definitely be there. But I'm not going to fully commit to everything else just yet because I have to recall that I do this for fun and it's part-time -- after these great weekends, I still have work to go to on Monday boring. So I know it could get crazy, and I may have to sacrifice any or a even a few of these for sanity sake. But as of right now, I'm planning on lining up for all of them. And I still plan to find more time for fun rides, and I'd like to put more road miles in (which gels nicely with the training thing anyway.) Can I top the year I had in '13? Who knows, but I'm sure as hell going to try!
Here's hoping your 2013 was everything you wanted it to be, and 2014 brings even better things. Happy New Year folks, and I'll see you on the trails!
Posted by 1speed at 9:14 AM
Saturday, December 14, 2013
I've never been one to set specific goals at the beginning of the year. This is primarily because I haven't really ever planned a "season" out that far in advance. There are certainly a few events I plan early on every year, but as far as a full season goes, I don't really set a detailed plan at the start of the year. I kind of go by "feel" with that stuff, and always have. I've had seasons where I raced more than 30 races and season where I did less than 10, but I'm pretty liquid when it comes to planning how many or which ones I'll do in a given year. And one thing I've never done is set any kind of goal for non-race riding. I've never really even given that any thought. And that, it turns out, makes this year kind of unique.
Now, to be fair, I didn't plan anything at the beginning of the year. But I happened to notice something at the end of September this year that helped frame a vague goal in terms of total mileage. I broke my Garmin 500 back in August of 2012 and didn't replace it until late February of this year. But by the beginning of October, I noticed that I was right around 2000 miles on the single speed for the calendar year. I knew at the time I was already training decent mileage for the Something Wicked 6 Hours of Cathedral Pines and the autumn is always my favorite times to ride, so I decided that fitting in another 1000 miles was entirely doable for the year. And thus the last quarter of the year suddenly had a new goal - I wanted to hit 3000 miles on the single speed this year. I know for a fact that I've never done 3000 single speed miles in an individual year before, so this would be a new achievement if I could pull it off.
Friday, I crossed the 3K mark.
|1Speed, happy to hit a goal half a month ahead of schedule|
|Rolling full douchebag with yellow shoe covers ...|
One out of two ain't bad.
The Perk Trail is pretty flat -- the only real climb is when you go up over Spring Mountain. So it's possible to keep a pretty good pace. The snow was - well - the snow was "inconsistent" to say the least. Some parts were well-matted down and easier to ride, but more often it was either icy and slick or frozen and bumpy. And most often it was the latter. After 20 miles, I felt Like I'd been operating a jack hammer all day. My hands were numb and my upper body was begging for me to just stop. It reminded me of riding a Michaux rock garden, but only if it was 30 miles long. In hindsight, choosing the rigid Misfit for the day was probably not the most inspired idea.
But I managed to stick it out and I rolled back into the lot with a little over the 32 miles I needed. Despite the fact that I hadn't really planned this as a goal, it felt pretty good to hit that number.
So there it is … kind of a nice way to close out the year. My focus is shifting to next year now, as I mentioned in my last post, but I may take a more complete look back at '13 before the end of the year. It's been a pretty fun year for riding and, even it's just for myself, it might be fun to look back at everything before completely switching gears to 2014.
In case I don't get a chance to post again before Xmas, hope you all have a great holiday season and I'll see you out on the trails. Happy Holidays!
Posted by 1speed at 11:51 AM
Sunday, December 1, 2013
|Six Hours of Cathedral Pines SS Podium|
Hello, folks … Been away from this a while. To be honest, after about month or so, I kind of made a conscious decision to let it go. It wasn't that I haven't had anything to write about -- to the contrary, I've had a pretty active fall season. I guess I just wanted to take a little time and figure out if I really wanted to keep doing this blog or just let it fade away. Obviously, the volume of content had fallen off this year even before the hiatus, so it was definitely worth considering. Part of that was the decision I made last year to race less. One thing that's true about racing is that it's content rich -- even a bad race usually gives you a good story. In fact, some of the best stories come from races where things go very badly. And unless you have the resources to regularly travel to new and exciting places for rides, it's not very interesting to write about the same places again and again, even if you do have some great local rides like we do here.
So what brought me back? Well, I'll get to that in a bit. First, let's do a quick recap of the last few months.
Right after Joanna and I got home from Minnesota, I was off for a week, so I took a few trips to ride in places I don't typically get to. That was great because none of those rides were all that far from home, but they were all totally different from one another.
|Riding the SRT to its terminus at South Street in Philly after a rain storm kept me off the trails|
|Tight fit in Tamaqua|
|Along a ridge at the base of the quarry in Tamaqua|
|Up with the sun in Wissahickon|
|Waiting out the storm|
|Lake Forbidden Drive|
|Chestnut Hill under water|
|Chased down the turnpike by a lurking Niner|
|The hang glider launch|
|On the RC Trail|
|Happy 1Speed after riding one of my favorite places|
|I passed a lot of CX riders on the climbs and in the single track, but they'd all come flying by me again on the roads|
|Fall Rides - lots of leaves covering the trails|
|Blue Marsh colors|
|Coming through one of the meadows at Blue Marsh Lake|
|These guys were so fast they don't appear in focus!|
|Umm … yeah, that's not good ...|
|Clean break at the seat collar|
With that, I was ready to race. I was worried about whether eight laps would be feasible after Friday's pre-ride. The course was like an ice rink with its wet leaves in every corner. But I had a plan and decided to stick with it the next day and let things work out as they would. As it turned out, they did just that.
I had a great start, which is crucial at CP. The start is a mass start with about a mile long prologue before you hit the woods. The problem is, entering the woods forces everyone into a single line and that creates a huge backup if you aren't near the front. At the start, I lined up in a really good spot and then followed a very fast rider all the way to the woods. I ended up hitting the woods somewhere in the top twenty and because of that, I was in a pretty good spot before the race was even five minutes old.
|Hitting the woods in a good position|
|On the gas through the twisty single track|
|It's pretty rare I'm smiling during a race -- I think this was during my eighth lap.|
|Heading for a better finish that I imagined|
|Done and happy|
|2nd - SS Men|
So that brings me to today. It's officially the "off-season" now and this week I barely rode at all. I think I was out three times this week, but they were all really easy, cruiser-type rides. No "training" at all. But that's about to change, and that brings me to part of the reason I'm back at this.
Next season, I'm planning to do another 24 hour race. This time, I'm heading out to Spokane, WA to race the 24 Hours of Round the Clock. I'll be doing it SS and Joanna will be with me for support. So I'll be spending the winter getting ready for it, and I'd like to use this blog to keep a record of that training. As such, it's possible things may change a bit in this spot and I have no idea how often I'll be posting, but I'll let the whole thing develop organically since I don't really know what exactly I'll have to say or how it will fit in. I definitely have some ideas for how it may be, but I'll take a wait-and-see approach for now. Right now, I have the outline of a training plan and I'll be fleshing that out as I go forward. The last time I did a 24, it made for some interesting stories so I'm hoping this year will be the same. Either way, I've got a lot of work to do between now and Memorial Day. I'm looking forward to it. Of course, I may not feel the same way in mid-February, but that's the nature of training, right?
And so that's where I am now … glad to be back and ready to get moving! So thanks for reading, stay tuned and I'll see you on the trail!
Posted by 1speed at 12:14 AM