Tuesday, October 17, 2006

2006 Season Wrapup / 2007 Goals

Wow. What a season. Another banner year. I continue to improve slowly but surely. One baby step at a time. Just enough success to make it all worth it and keep my coming back for another year. This year I really learned a lot. A lot of observation and analysis and I think it's paying off.

With the exception of a once a decade mountain bike vacation I averaged about 7hrs/week training. There were several weeks with under 3hrs and a few weeks around 9. I know I missed logging some rides so maybe there might have been one 10+week. But once again, I believe that I'm riding my best ever with fewer than 10hrs a week. For all you out there who feel that you can't be your best on limited time think again.

Ironically, if I had more time, I don't know if I'd be able to really ride harder. More isn't always better, its the harder part that's the limiter for racing. The ability to recover is one of the most limiting factors in how hard I can train. I don't seem to recover too well.

This year I also moved up to Vet Expert. It was a big step, but I'd been finishing in the top 5 consistently in Vet Sport in the regional races. I figured it was time to go where I've been wanting to go for the past decade. The difference between expert and sport racers is big. I went from the front of the bus to the back of the bus. But I'm really glad I did it. It's been a goal to race expert for many years but it will take several years to slowly move up.

Over the past 2 months I lost 7lbs+ body weight and am the lightest weight in over 12 years. In years past I've been fluctuated with cold-turkey depravation of certain foods diets but it never stuck. This time around it seems to be sticking. I had an Over Carb experience where I just got sickened by gel/energy drink. I think this helped force a reprogramming of my stomach and palette because since then I've hardly craved sweets at all. And every time I've had something like ice cream or cookies or dried fruits I've regretted it. My mouth just gets this bad taste in it afterwards, and my stomach doesn't feel good.

In addition to cutting out the daily Reese's I've also cut back significantly on fried foods. Just those two things elicited a loss of weight that I'd never before been able to accomplish. Ironically, I've also found it extremely difficult to actually eat enough.

I've spent some real effort trying to figure out what I need to eat and when to perform for training and racing. My pre-race nutrition sometimes seems to be the only time I eat well enough to ride well. It takes some serious planning for me to eat properly to train right and recover well. Eating enough and at the right times is proving to be a major limiter in how well I can train.

In losing the weight I think I did lose a little power. My goal is to ideally maintain some of the weight loss into next year and through the strength training/off season work. Just like Lance did. Lose weight/increase power. It's the ultimate double whammy. If I can maintain the same weight and get increase power, next year may be a real big step.

I also learned a lot about how to race my best given my own personal limiters. Pacing properly has become the biggest key to my success. Less is more in mountain biking. I can only go so fast. Trying to go faster just makes me go backwards and cramp. The goal here is to take the 'so fast' and make it a little faster year to year.

My leg cramping seems to be under control a little. I credit that to better pacing and possibly the sportlegs. Placebo affect or real physiological change I don't know but they seem to do something. The claims on the web site are definitely too good to be true, and the celebrity endorsements are similar to the hair-in-the-can adds. But hey, in this game whatever works as long as it's legal.

My skills got better than they got worse, and I'm committed to improving them again. One thing in the expert class, those guys are fast going down. And they climb strong too so the axiom about the race being won on the climbs doesn't work as well. I definitely lost several spots due to descending.

There have been over 40,000 unique hits on the web page and over 70,000 page visits. I've gotten emails from all over the world. Several people have said they've started to race because of this blog. Others have said that they're in the same boat of married, kids, job, and they're doing the best they can and take inspiration from here. That's pretty neat to be part of this world wide community doing a niche activity like XC mountain bike racing. It's an oddity to the rest of the world but those reading understand the lure and the passion.

This is pretty much my life. Family, job come first, then this. No other hobbies anymore. Ride bikes, recover, eat, work on bikes (6 adult bikes and 2 kids bikes to keep running), sleep. race a few times...Though at the drop of a hat my focus can get diverted 100%. Several times throughout the year this happens and it takes time to get back on track. I'm hoping to limit this and to try and maintain a constant eye to the longterm goals at hand. It's so easy to get bike geeked out with full suspension or components. Well I got my road bike this year that is a keeper. I got a new FS that is still getting dialed in. All that's left to geek out on is the hardtail.

Simplicity is the theme for this year. One day at a time. Enjoy my family, do my work, keep a long term focus. Worry about the consumables (tires, chains, brake pads, grips, energy drink...) and don't worry so much about the latest and greatest. The one vice is blogging and the forums, but I'll try to keep the "keep up with the joneses" mentality down on the forums.

Summary of results:
-VA Commonwealth games -3rd hillclimb
-VA Commonwealth games -1st XC
-Overall VA Commonwealth Games winner -VET SPORT

Massanutten - 3rd Vet Sport

Rocky Mount Race VA-Derailer series Vet x-last

Poor Mountain hill climb 3rd -Vet expert

Rowdy Dawg 1st Vet expert

*Now a world on results* I'll take my wins to the bank and am proud, but things get skewed depending on who shows up to race on any given day. Most of the guys are still 20minutes+ faster over a racecoures. That's the metric I want reduce.

2007 Goals

(Dream Goals)
*these are the only ones that are results based **
-Top5 Vet expert in the new VA state series
-Top5 Vet expert in the Der series. I know I've said that those course don't suit my streghts, well a good athlete would take that as an opportunity to improve their weakneses. So I'm hoping to race the whole series this year and support racing in VA.

Performance based goals
-Get down to 125lbs racing weight
-get down to 1o% or less body fat on the Tanita scale
-sub 17:00 climbing old Farm
-increaes sustainable power by 10w
-increse 1minute SMSP power level by 10w
-stretch my back every other day
-do my core excercises every other day
-practice my skills once week
-sub 2:40 at Dragon's Back
-Sub 2:22 at Massanutten
-Sub :55 at Poor Mountain Hill Climb

2007 Schedule
I often complain about the death of XC in Virginia. But in actuality it isn't bad. Maybe it's just this town where it's off the radar.

-April: Dragon's Back
-? Maybe--Mid April: O-hill Meltdown
- May 6th: Douthat
-Late May: Mountains of Misery Challenge Century
-June 3: Hoo-Ha. Massanutten
-Late June-Early July: VA Commonewealth games

Va Derailler Series
-Rocky Mount MW windows - mid August
-Danville -late 26
-Peaksview-Lynchburg mid Sept
-Falling creek - late sept
-Poor Mountain - Early October
***Do not miss this one*** Anyone and Everyone must do this

Rowdy Dawg - Mid October

There might be some WV races that are close by. But for me that is a really full calendar. Each race is a full day away from the family which is hard on the weekend.

Having fun isn't a goal because it's all fun. It's hard and painful and difficult and mentally draining. It's funner when it's on a mountain bike. If it was easy then everyone would do it.


At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on a sweet year. I have been reading for a few months and am so impressed by your ability to focus on xc despite all of life's other things (I have a 1 year old and can't break away). Keep up the great work!

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWESOME BLOG! I wish I had found it sooner... so inspiring. Excellent insights into the racing and training experiences of a guy with a family and full time job.

At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats, AA. I've enjoyed following your year(s).

Keep up the good work.


-capt pearl


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