I hate to admit it, but fall is in full swing here in New England.
The weather has been erratic and it absolutely poured through the two weekends of peak foliage. Some days have been warm but overall it's been overcast and rainy more often than not. The volume of rain hasn't been that high yet the rain that has fallen has been spread out enough that we've only had 2 or 3 completely dry days in the last 2 weeks.
Fortunately I got some road miles in when the weather was cooperating the weekend of 9/22. Of course I didn't realize that the Peak 6/12/24 Hour race had been moved to that day so I didn't know I was missing out on competing. I even rode through Pittsfield though I didn't pass the venue.
My original season plan was to focus on the summertime endurance races without putting much effort into 'cross. In years past I've felt like I've spread myself too thin and in doing failed at both by neither fully committing to endurance races nor being fully rested to start a cross campaign. As I've said before a bad day at a marathon means suffering to a decent finish while a bad cross race means getting shot out the back on the first lap; I've decided to focus accordingly.
With my August burnout/allergy issues I didn't set a firm schedule for September. I was tired, and felt like I needed a break so after 2 weeks off I started training again with the primary goal of losing weight without worrying about maintaining top end race fitness. During the season I can maintain my race weight but have a hard time getting below it without wrecking my power output, so this was really about getting lean first and foremost. Over the summer I realized that I could take another big step forward with even just a modest weight decrease, and losing 10-15 pounds would make me unstoppable. I was riding just behind the next tier of regional racers and with some improvement I could close the gap.
The results have been interesting. I've had some awesome rides and have mostly been climbing better, but I've also had a few rides where I've felt weak and empty. On one ride in particular I cut 9 minutes off of my best time for a 21 mile loop, so on some days I feel like I can do some damage on the race course.
So really I made some improvements but I don't feel like I'm done yet so I've signed up for the CircumBurke at the end of the month. I'm not sure how cooperative the weather will be in East Burke in late October, but it's worth a shot. I'm expecting that it will land somewhere between a smooth, fast day out and an "epic". As long as it isn't a total disaster I'll be happy.
And what about 'cross? I pretty much missed all of the Catamount 'cross races and as of mid- October have yet to get a bike which obviously makes competing difficult. I do still love 'cross, and helping Carrie get into it has been a lot of fun for me. It's a lot easier to stand on the sidelines and cheer than it is to compete, but it's tough to stay a spectator when I know I have some fitness.
So what will I be riding? A Ritchey Swiss Cross.
In this post I mentioned that I'd missed my opportunity to own one of these from the last production run and now I'm very excited to run one. This year I'll probably do 2 races- the Spa Cross in Saratoga and the Paradise Cross Frenzy next month, but more than the races I'm looking forward to a beatiful smooth steel ride for mixed surface rides and dirt road epics. I'll be sure to post some pictures once it's all built up.
I can't wait.