Holidayness

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Hey Gang,

Hope everyone’s season went well and that everyone’s training is on track… I am excited: yesterday, an athlete I coach, Sean Pasieka, locked up 2nd overall in the MAC Cyclocross Series in the 2/3/4 cup, a HUGE result. Over 150 palookas have garnered points in this category, very hotly-contested… Just very very very excited to see him get that result, one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of…

Personally for me on the bike, the 2013 season was hit-and-miss. Just after Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, and I was devoting much time to the family. I really didn’t know WHAT I could do in 2013, just rode the bike on limited schedule for the early-season TTs, see where my heart/head would go… I found some good form early, won the Readington TT overall, then a few weeks later set the course record at LBI TT, a long, flat, 30-minute effort. I felt super fast, bizarre — just shows what short, succinct workouts and true specificity can do for you…

But, that eye of the tiger, the true tenacity in training, it wasn’t there. When you do everything right in training, when you truly give 100%, racing can feel like the easy part. Success can build and I’m not going to say it becomes easy, but it begins to feel automatic — if you commit to the correct lifestyle, you begin to perform at a certain level more regularly… To me, to find this form in May, for my biggest TTs of the year, racing-wise it’s what I live for. But… this year I was lacking some interior eye-of-the-tiger, and by May I had lost full interest in reaching max form — unbelievably, I just skipped High Point TT, an event I always do, and then I was beaten fairly badly at my favorite event of the year, the Somerset TT, and I knew right then and there, after taking one on the chin viciously, that it was time to move on. I started MTBing more, aimed to race Bearscat 50 (a super arduous and super-technical MTB race) instead of doing the State TT — just needed new things, something to keep the head clear…

Professionally, working with many seasoned and many newer Elite Endurance athletes, it was a career high as a coach, reaching more athletes in more states and seeing more victories and medals than we ever have — not to mention the countless improvements in particular workouts and overall FT…. It never gets old, the process of trying to make an athlete 100% as good as he/she can be, always trying to push them to new levels… I can say proudly that I love what I do and hope to do it until I choose not to work anymore…

Personally, on the bike this year is pretty much a fog. My own racing season on the bike was a big blur, fully gray. I never really felt like I could settle into a steady training program, nor could I get on top of my diet, or even get the mindset right to compete at a high level… And I’m not complaining — them’s just the facts. I was 100% committed to my family and being there for my mother, and she deteriorated through the summer very quickly… At the first CX race of the season I was really just racing on numb spirits, two mid-pack finishes, not sure of what was to come, what I was even doing out there…

My mother passed away in late-September, and I didn’t really ride much during this time, even for a few weeks after… During my life, I’ve been through some real $hit experiences, and the bicycle has been a best friend to me, almost wondrous how much positivity it’s given me, always there, always giving me superior energy and unbelievably great memories… This autumn, I started riding again, doing some wandering freedom road rides, lots of MTB rides with close friends, just enjoying the bike and the feeling of some fitness again — sure, I had gotten fat, but I was really able to get my head on straight again and feel good about myself…

For 2014, my family is dealing with another serious health situation, and I don’t know how much I’m going to devote to the bike or will want to… Family is first, career is second — we’ll see what happens, if I can find time to ride consistently and still have healthy ambition… If I can find the time and energy to ride, my heart is telling me to do more MTBing, try some new races, try to discover new speeds… but my brain is telling me to focus on TTs, to try to get back to where I was in 2011 and 2012, almost as validation… But, as I felt in the first half of 2013, I now am more coach than athlete, just how reality is becoming — I’ve been there done that, new things are good, and what’s most important is the full roster of Elite Endurance athletes continues to find new conditions, discover new strength…

No matter, I’ll be riding… Cycling offers so much to everyone, all this positivity, it’s the reason why cycling is my favorite sport and why simple bike riding is my activity, and knowing I’ll be riding bicycles for as long as I possibly can gives these cold, gray winter days a hopeful energy and light…

Happy Holidays to everyone out there and I hope to see a bunch of you on the road or in the woods this winter. Life is short. Ride lots 🙂

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Monday, December 16th, 2013 | | |