I've gotten into the habit of doing a 'road map' post for the coming race season and its about that time of year. Our winter has unfortunately stalled again this season and I find myself thinking a bit more about what I want to try and get done on the bike this year. Training is getting a bit more structured / painful so here we gooooo.
I had a great season last year and I am very keen to continue to build on that trend. I am training more efficiently with the time I have now but so far I am probably a bit behind where I was at this time last year. No matter how motivated you are its just so much easier to train hard when you have someone organizing everything and telling you 10 more or 30 more seconds when you think you are cooked.
The last few years I have tried to add something new to me in some way each season to mix things up and push the boundaries a bit. The EFTA series is great and there are a few that I will probably never miss, unless there is a tornado or flooding, but the amount of traveling required to get the entire series with the increased costs of travel nowadays makes some of the races hard to justify. Lately I've been feeling that if I'm going to be traveling in the 2+hrs range then the race should probably be over 30mi. That eliminates I believe 3 of the NECS races this year but luckily for me most are about 1.5hrs or less away (benefit of living in about the center of New England)
For 2013 I have decided I want to try and fill the gap those 3 races are leaving with some longer endurance stuff. I tried this several years ago with lackluster results but that was several years ago and I am a much stronger rider now than I was then. I think some of my best results from 2012 were in the NH100 and the Bradbury12 and I probably could have done even better in the 100 if I hadn't lost a cleat 3/4 of the way home. I am beginning to feel like I am solidly in the 'law of diminishing returns' zone and nearing the ceiling of my VO2max genetic capacity when it comes to really sharp high end fitness. I spend about as much time training as I am prepared to, I've been at this 'full time' for 6-7yrs now and I'm not sure how much faster I can get in a XC format race. Its not that I think I can't get any faster in XC but I feel like I have more room to improve at the more slow burn / prolonged suffering events.
Over the last 4 years I have gone from 'I don't know if I can even do this' to being comfortable enough to really push and race these events and I feel like my results in these events are getting closer to folks who typically dust me at XC distances. So now I want to see how far down this rabbit hole I can go. Based on what I'm seeing now I don't think its outlandish to say I could be up with the geared expert riders in the 100K or 12hrs in a year or two or maybe completing a hundred miler if I do this right. We'll see.
Tentative 2013 Schedule:
5/11 - Wildcat 100(km)
5/19 - Willowdale (? EFTA doesn't have this date in stone yet)
6/9 - American Cancer Society Charity Century (maybe)
6/16 - The Pinnacle
6/21 - NEMBAfest
7/7 - Moody Park
7/21 - Horror at Harding Hill
7/28 - Millstone 12
8/4 - VT Ski Museum Epic
8/18 - NH100(km)
9/? - Bradbury12
10/? - Gordon Barker No Brakes
No idea if I can make all that happen or even afford all that. I've got 4 longer format races spread across the summer. Need to decide how I will race the 12hr events (solo / team) but I think this is a pretty good mix. Still maybe get in 5 EFTA races as well as some other events here and there. Now that this is written down it seems a bit ambitious...I still need to build singletrack in Central NH, ride for fun, enjoy a cocktail or two, be a homeowner and all that other life stuff. We'll see if I can get it all done.