Yesterday marked the end of bicycle racing season. You can read about my somewhat abbreviated road season here. There was no mountain biking worth mentioning.
Cyclocross season started out with big hopes; I won the last race of the year last year (you can barely notice the damage anymore unless you’re all up in my grill, but still a bitch having the fake front teeth – might go for the serious replacement in the next few years when I get a few $k burning a hole in my pocket), I was in better shape than ever before, and, well, that was enough for big hopes.
I was not disappointed. I started the season with a podium and a pair of near podiums. I was also skirting that line of a mandatory upgrade, but was going to be able to eke out a series podium before getting the bump… and then bikes happened… I flatted in three of my next four races. The first occurred early in a race so having plenty of gas left, I decided to self upgrade for the afternoon. I never returned to the lower class and missed out on a series award solely due to not having finished enough races (I had the points for it) – had I walked across the finish line on that flat day I think I would have qualified, but it is what it is. I KNOW IN MY HEART I’M A WINNER!
Following my upgrade, I continued to flat all over the place and battle a bike I probably should have fully overhauled in the off-season. Bearings were seizing, brakes a mess, tires/wheels not working out at all. Not something I cared to deal with with double-header weekends all over the place so I went full tilt and ordered a new bike from Norco through Western Bikeworks (both team sponsors). Upon arrival a few days later I converted it to tubeless, sized it up, and that was it – fast, futureproof, and reliable. I’ll likely set the old bike up as a pit bike over the off-season since it’s worth very little used.
Racing the new category was… interesting. Due to some reworking of classing, moving from 4 to 3 puts you up against the 2 racers as well unless you’re 35+ (next year – shit) so it’s effectively a two class jump (some 2s race 1/2, but they don’t like getting beat up so many do not). This put 3s in a really funny position where they have to beat all of the 2s to even become a 2. I knew I wouldn’t be competitive, and I wasn’t, but it was refreshing to not care about winning, have fun, and watch the lines of the guys passing/lapping me. I started the final series finishing towards the back of the pack due to overthinking things and making a bunch of mental errors, but I’m safely in the front half now despite not having a call-up (the first ~25 riders always get to start at the front, which is a monster advantage) all season.
Yesterday was likely my best race of the season. I started 7th from the back and finished 29th of 64. It was a course that really suited raw power over my lack of technical ability.
What’s next? I’ve already accomplished my yearly mileage goal so I’ll probably take a few weeks “easy” (ratchet down to ~100 miles/week), think about an offseason training plan, put on a few pounds, get involved in some online racing (how badass is this kit!?), and start planning out the 2017 season.
The goals for 2017 are pretty much already set since cycling progression is pretty clearly defined – upgrade to 3 on the road, try track, maybe pick up a new mountain bike so I’ll actually go out and do that, get to the front of the Open 2/3 pack or upgrade to Masters 2 in Cross, and generally do a lot more travel/riding stuff – trace along with the Tour of California, maybe go to Italy with a teammate, maybe go to France for the Tour, PacNW/Cali bike touring, etc… Bikes are good and making it through an entire year (24 races) without a trip to the ER is great.