So, feels good to be back. I was out in Boulder, CO for a long, long minute… Got to train with some of the best cyclists in the country, did 4 UCI ‘cross races. I will say that Colorado is called the Most-Fit State for a reason! Oye!!!!
I finally had a Breakthrough Race by around mid-NOV at Golden ‘Cross, was making my way through riders, aiming for that elusive top-10!!! I had ridden the same course in SEPT — and was ANNIHILATED — so it was a wonderful feeling to now perform at a completely different level. Mid-way into race, the guy in front of me, a chunky Ewok-looking guy with hairy legs, went super-wide through a turn, and I took the Race Line — Wide – Tight – Wide — and he came back in and we bumped shoulders. He started SCREAMING at me, pure anger 🙂
I go, “Hey, guy don’t get mad at me. You took a $hitty line. I took the race line! Not my problem!” 🙂
So, we keep riding, and the last lap was HOT, but he overpowered me, gapping me through final uphill section, and I had given everything, but he was just BETTER. I was still very pleased to finish 9th. Yow!
Afterwards, the race photographer comes up to me and goes, “I saw what happened in that turn. Don’t worry about that guy. He’s always angry. Ever since Lance cut him, he’s never been the same.” Say what?! That Ewok-looking guy was an ex-pro on Postal, had won USPRO!!!!!
So, when you show up at races in Colorado and the New Guy on some old steel bike with gray wooly socks and hairy legs you think is going to be a fred, he’s most likely some ex-pro phenom. That pretty much sums up the CO racing scene for you! 🙂
I pretty much shut it down after that. I was in CO to train, to race, but also to learn — I was working, A LOT, writing for magazines, doing tons of interviews, speaking with other coaches, so I was more than happy to take a break. I had gone to CO to get away from the east for a minute and to really immerse myself in — in my opinion — the best ‘cross scene in the country, the most densely-populated National Champion breeding ground in America. It was fun to train from July through November and get better at something I had never really focused 100% on. I dunno if ‘cross and I will ever be the best of friends, but I will certainly keep doing it in future years, especialy with my athletes and team members.
I spent the final weeks in CO snowboarding and doing leisure rides, just exploring… I came home before Christmas, wanted to see my parents, and now that I’m back, I guess I’m appreciating what I took for granted when I was here… People can say what they want, but the east coast, with all its grit, particularly this region, it’s almost a complete mini-universe. We have everything we need right here: the best city in the world, big towns small towns, mountains, countryside, plains, so much available if you drive 2h in either direction… A pretty “rad” place to live, and perhaps going away made me realize that…
But, I will tell you: training at altitude is No Joke. Boulder is 5500+ feet, and wherever you go west, you’re usually 8000+ feet numerous times during the ride. Once back here, and I’m not even on form right now, riding seemed downright easy. I’m at these group rides, riding Tempo pace and I’m wondering if the power meter is broken!!!! I feel like my red blood cell count has quadrupled 🙂
Fun time of year now, still in Transition-mode and preparing for a big 2012… Zero violence out there, just specific PowerCranking and gym work… I want to start slower this year, even slower than last year, and try to be at my best for the State TT — mis-timed it last year by a few weeks, was in Complete Axe Murderer mode in mid-May and was a touch flat come Fight Night, but it is what it is. This is how we learn and continue to grow… I was faster than ever in 2011, and I know I can improve on that.
What a great sport we have here, right? 🙂
I will also be racing for Heart House in 2012, hoping to rally much of the team. Pettit and Jenks are scary fast, Pettit is arguably one of the most complete riders and potent sprinters I have ever met, and I’m interested seeing what we can do if we band together as a team and push towards a singular goal. Will be an interesting year, that is for sure…
I also want to race much more dirt, do many Pro/Opens in the MASS, Route 66, and H2H MTB race series. The MTBing in Colorado is incredible, and I did tons of it. But I will say this: I’ve MTB’ed many places, from NC to VT to OR to UT to ID to CO… and I feel this region has some of the best riding in the country — even on the road! The MTBing in north Jersey and NY is absolutely superb, and the trail builders of JORBA are world-class.
If you guys really want an experience, hit up Jungle Habitat, Chute to Wart-hog to Otterhole to Rhino to Orange Trail, up to the new Boon trail — and back down to Cages and Tiger. Everything is marked up there now, and the riding is just incredibly fun — an adult playground! Since being home, I’ve been to Jungle Habitat 5 times and look forward to keep exploring those new trails and learning about the rocks and dirt…
Just tallied it up: 130 Elite Endurance wins this year, 15 State Champions, 1 National Champion, will break it down in EE newsletter once I sit down.
And we have Stacey Barbossa racing both 35+ and Elite Cyclo-Cross Nationals this weekend, so let’s wish her luck!!!! I have never seen a woman make it to the lead group at the Saturday Park Ridge Ride before, I mean with the very first guys across the finsih, but I told her this was our goal, to do what hasn’t been done, and I rode with her and we helped form that lead group together, and then she swapped pulls with the leaders and even gassed full-metal it in the sprint, taking 5th or 6th. Very, very impressive. I was taken aback — holy (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)! Guys were looking at each other and scratching their heads.
Stacey is in full-on Peak Mode and let’s see what she can do out there… The hard work is done — all she has to do is go out and perform, which will be natural for her by now…
WARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR BARBOSSA! 🙂