31 August, 2008

The perfect ride

Today's was definitely one of the better mountain bike rides I've ever done.  It wasn't the longest, fastest nor hardest.  The conditions were not "epic" and no new areas were explored. It was simply a great ride - equipment functioned well, the pace was just right, the route was as good as any around this area and the company was good and well matched.

We hit all my favourite spots through Decew, Shorthills and the 12 mile creek trail system.  I was back on the Racing Ralph 2.4/2.25" setup, which is super fast and light for how big and grippy those tires are.  Tons of fun bombing descents, launching off of roots and grunting up the hills.  It was a true mountain bike ride, unlike many this summer which have lacked one thing or another that would have made it more ideal.  Today definitely has me feeling positive about the upcoming University Cup races, and about riding general.

Having covered much of the Squeezer course today, I am rather undecided whether I will skip a U-Cup to race it or not.  That will likely be covered in another post soon...

Here is the route and profile for the day (click for full size versions):

22 August, 2008

on junk miles and cyclocross

This post was inspired by the latest over at BKW, which I will say is prerequisite reading for what I am about to write. Here is the paragraph which is especially relevant:

“[T]here comes a point in the season when you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. Wins, upgrade points, epic rides, by late summer only the most dedicated riders still have unfinished business. The resulting mix is a once-a-year bouillabaisse of sustained fitness, great weather and waning motivation. So what is there to do?”

That sounds all too relatable right now. I have struggled a lot in the late season accomplishing the proper contrast between hard and easy, and all my rides are just sort of... medium.

So what to do about this? Well, I'm pretty excited for cyclocross season, so cross workouts should help motivate me to train again. On that note, I'm struggling with learning some of the technique - especially dismounts. My mounts are not especially clean, but at least I can do them; shouldering the bike is no problem; dismounts, though, just aren't clicking for me. It's getting the right leg around and through while maintaining balance that I can't seem to do. I know, however, that I just need to practice lots, but it's very discouraging when something that seems so simple holds you up. It's a mental thing for sure - once I get past this I will at least be able to passably navigate a cross course.

Here's what the agenda holds for the rest of 2008:
  • lots of junk miles on dirt/country roads
  • university cup mtb racing: hopefully CX intervals keep me in shape enough that these don't turn into more junk miles
  • cyclocross racing: we'll see how it goes, but it is sure to be fun anyway
After that, it's all about base training and maintenance for 2009. That will consist of sloppy road rides on the cross bike, winter mtb rides when the snow is appropriate and of course the dreaded hours on the trainer in a dark basement.

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