Monthly Archives: April 2011

The answer my friend …

After enduring a brutal winter, you’d think we would catch a break this spring. Sorry, this is Northeast Ohio, where reversion to the mean doesn’t apply to the weather.

The crappy winter made a smooth transition to crappy spring. If it’s not raining, it’s windy.

Three weeks ago I got the TT bike out on the road. Since then, literally every ride has been a battle with the wind. Not just a little wind, but scary-wind.

On 3 different occasions I’ve started on the TT bike only to turn back for home to switch to the road bike. I just wasn’t up for the stress of trying to keep from being blown into passing cars while down in the aero position.

Stress is the operative word here. Between wind noise in your ears and trying to ride in a straight line to avoid becoming road kill, riding just hasn’t been much fun. I’d like just one ride where I didn’t have to think about which direction would give me a tailwind on the way home.

The thing is … I typically enjoy riding, even when it might be a bit cold. Or a bit windy. But day after day, it becomes tiring.

Apparently there is an explanation: La Niña.

Well, I’m saying it: La Niña is a bitch.

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Mixing Beer & Wine, Continued

It’s been about 6 weeks since I wrote about my desire to continue (at last some small amount of) running during the racing season.

I’ve been doing it. 3 or 4 times per week (so maybe 10-15 miles). Not very fast, so I feel more like a “jogger” than a “runner”.

It doesn’t seem like it has compromised the bike training. So far.

We still haven’t raced all that much. The real test will be whether I still feel like running once we hit the 3-races-in-a- week period, which will be as soon as the Tuesday night races start up.

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If I don’t race, everyone else will be getting faster

Some years ago, when people asked me what “I do”, I would tell them that I ride my bike. Then I would add, “oh, I have a job too.”

That’s what it felt like. Even when racing at an amateur level, bike racing has a tendency to dominate your life. Just to be a decent local-level racer requires a pretty big time commitment. You’re always thinking about getting the training session in, or obsessing about not being able to train.

I think that is one reason why it’s tough for young racers to stay with the sport. The sheer amount of time is overwhelming.

If I wanted to concentrate on running, I think I could be pretty competitive on about 1/2 the time required for bike racing.

And then there is all the driving to races week after week. Once the racing season starts, I feel compelled to race every week if at all possible. That’s another oddity with bike racing: if you don’t race every week (or multiple times in a week), you feel like your competition is leaving you behind.

It all adds up to a lot of compulsive behavior. Last year, for me, it was over-the-top. Lots of volume early in the year, lots of races, and a focus on doing well at Masters Nationals. And not enough rest. That ended up being a disappointment.

I told myself that this year I was not going to be so neurotic, and would try to simply enjoy riding, training, and racing. I wasn’t going to feel like I needed to keep this crazy schedule.

But I notice that I’m already getting that “I need to race every weekend” feeling.

So when the weather forecast for today was not looking too promising, I decided to pass on the two racing opportunities that were available. Instead, I went for a thoroughly enjoyable, hard after-work ride on Friday followed by wine and pizza (would never do that the day before racing). Then I was blessed with a weather-gift today. And I didn’t have to spend 7 hours in a car, $40 in gas, and $35 in entry fees.

And my house has been cleaned, laundry has been washed, groceries have been bought.

Now I just need to lose the “everyone else got faster today” feeling.

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