28 December, 2008

2009, here I come

The holiday lifestyle that has set in over the past 2 weeks has taken quite a toll on my body.  I feel tight, sore and generally lazy.  Tomorrow is the beginning of my 2009 season plan.  We'll see how far I make it before real life gets in the way of a couple workouts and I have to break the plan.  Tonight I will try an easy spin on the trainer and some stretching to try to loosen up a bit.  I'll need to work off the holiday dinners and then some to hit the weight goal for this season, but as I already found during '08 the whole W/kg thing makes a difference when the parcours turns vertical.

On an unrelated note, Chris King hubs are really a dream to work on mechanically.  I did an overhaul on mine last night and it was so nice to follow the simple instructions and end up with a hub that works better than new.  I will be making a point to pick up the new BB sometime in the future, since its bearings are serviced the same way and the length of the warranty suggests that it should be much better than the OEM crap from Shimano, FSA, et al.

03 December, 2008

2008 CX Finale, conclusions

After not touching my bike since provincials, I decided mid-week that I'd attend the final race of the Southern Ontario CX series.  The conditions were looking alright, and I could not resist another cross race before the season came to an end.  That didn't mean I was going to train or even spin my legs beforehand... I just made sure the bike was in working order, did some extra stretching, and packed up to race.

The final race colloquially dubbed the Subway Cross was held in King's Mill Park below the subway station of the same name in Toronto.  After some confusion about where to park and where the course was, we registered and set about putting on lots of clothes and previewing the course.  The first thing that stood out about the course was tape.  Lots of it.  Like those mazes with cheese at the end for mice that you see in cartoons.  I was not sure if I'd made a mistake and doubled back or if it all just looked the same.  After that, a short section through tall grass and a bit of a muddy rise, there was a bit of paved road.  The road led to gravel road, which turned to rutted mud, and then to a gravelly climb.  After descending, there was more tape maze, a short grassy power section and a bit more pavement for the start/finish straight.  All in all, a pretty fun course with no forced dismounts, and one significant climb to speak of.

The 10 am start saw a pretty large group, with maybe a little less than usual in the S3/4 field including some non-series regulars.  I was happy to line up beside nspace (Tom) who I've had the pleasure of racing with/against this year in both mtb and cross.  Off the start there were 4 of us up front into the tape section, and I worked to move up to 3rd wheel.  A small crash split the group and I found myself sitting 2nd wheel and watching the leader slowly gap me.  I wasn't going to be able to hang, so I worked as hard as I could not to get passed.  On the first road section some cat and mouse led to one more getting away from me, leaving only Tom chasing me and no real progress to be made in front.  This is how things would remain for the subsequent 3.5 laps, and I'd finish 3rd after a long hard effort to hold him off.  By a quick calculation that was enough to take 3rd in the series too.  Full series results can be found at the Ontario Cycling Association website.

With the final race behind me, I can reflect upon my cross season and say that it was certainly successful both in learning the sport and finding out that I enjoy it more than mtb or road racing.  Next year will see a more focussed training plan, a healthy (but reduced and more focussed) amount of mtb racing, and will conclude with a full cross season.  As of right now I think I will start in S3/4 again next year, and hopefully can grab some top finishes before upgrading mid-season to the 1/2/3 race.  If they do not enforce upgrades, I will loosely follow the road point system and thus upgrade at 10 points.  On the mtb front I'll be trying my hand at the Senior Sport category in the Ontario Cups - a very competitive, but probably appropriate level for me to race at.  You'll see to the right a preview of what my '09 season will look like, but that is subject to much change at this point.  For now, much R&R and some non-structured cross training is in order.  Full-on base training begins after Christmas!

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