Anyway, I rode with Doc for about 13 miles and then when he cut out, I went back out for another 7. The park was in really good shape today -- the wind had dried out much of the muddy sections from yesterday. My legs were a little tight early, but by the end of the ride, I was feeling really good.
When I got home, I was pretty tired -- it's been kind of a long week with a lot of miles. I'm not complaining, but I was happy to put my legs up and do a lot of nothing this afternoon. As I was sitting here, though, I figured I'd do a little editing on the blog -- added a few blogs to the reading list (including my friend and former neighbor Gary's My Life Behind Bars.)
The other thing I added was a list of races for this season. I think I've mentioned a few of my races on this blog already. The "full list" contains 16 events right now. Most of them are MASS events, including all eight in the enduro series. My "big" events for the year are all here as well. The funny thing about my big events this year is that I have less of a "race attitude" about them than I do any others. They're much more about just having fun -- SSUSA, Singlespeed-a-palooza, the DH 40 and, of course, The sWe Six Hours of Cathedral Pines. These are events that are less about placing than they are about being on my bike with lots of like-minded people and just riding for the pure enjoyment of riding.
That's not to say I don't have any goals for these or other races this year. One major goal for me this year is actually finish the damn Fair Hill 50 without having to DNF for health issues or riding off course. It's like a curse -- the last two years I've lined up only to start out feeling great and then have it all go shithouse on the second lap. I'd really like to avoid that this year. And Iron Hill is always a favorite for me, and this year I'd really like to have a good day there if I can manage it. Then there are the two big 50 milers of the year -- the Stoopid 50 and the Rattling Creek 50. These are both classically technical PA courses, and they will beat me up (especially if I keep it rigid for both.) RC 50 will be especially hard because it's a week after the DH 40. That could end up being a long day. I would like to finish both of those without blowing myself out and, if my fitness is really there, maybe finish both in a respectable time.
Another interesting event this year will be Fatmarc's new and improved Granogue race. It's a 12 hour enduro this year. Granogue is a tough course for four hours -- I've heard they've re-designed the course to be more distance-friendly, but Granogue is Granogue -- you're going to work. I'm looking forward to it and it could well be one of the toughest races of the year. I have no idea what I can reasonably expect there this year, so we'll have to wait and see how that one goes.
Anyway, the list is pretty full. I'm not sure if I'll do everything - I'm only registered for about half a dozen or so as of right now. And maybe I'll be motivated and do even more. I'm not setting it in stone this year. Aside from my big four, the most notable element of my list for me is what's not there - the SM100. I made the call to sit that one out this year because, to be honest, I put too much emphasis on it last year and when it didn't go well, it made me feel like my whole season was a disappointment, and, truth be told, that wasn't the reality. I just had too much tied in that one day, though. I spent so much time training for it and then, in the run-up, I had so many things go wrong that it left me in a complete fog the weekend of. Briefly, I had made a tough call to leave my SS at home after getting a diagnosis of a metabolic disorder where my body recruits too many muscle fibers during typical exercise. That is kind of a worst-case scenario for endurance athletes, and my choice was to try to push through it or try to offset it by having some gears. I made the wrong choice. The bike I rode was my hardtail OCLV. I'd barely been on it all season, and I was really not prepared to ride a 26er with gears after being on a 29er SS all season. Between that and my being on an antibiotic for a cellulitis infection in my arm, I was left with no margin for error. And when my nutrition plan went south when I lost my endurolytes on the descent off Braley's Pond Loop, my whole day really went to hell. Anyway, I had spent so much time training for that race and aiming for a ten or sub-ten hour day, that when it didn't work out ... well, it wasn't a fun day. So I decided this season I needed to reset my head before I go back to Stokesville for the SM100. I will be back -- Chris Scott puts on way too cool of an event and everyone who loves to ride MTBs needs to get out and experience one of his events at least once in their lives -- but this year, I'm going to rebuild my love for that event by subscribing to the time-honored notion that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Anyway, there's my season over there on the right. If you happen to be at any of these and see me there (you'll know me by my license plate in the parking area) please stop by and say hello. Because perhaps the only thing that compares to spending a full day riding bicycles in the woods is meeting other people who share that sentiment!