So here is a recap of the past few weeks.
After Boyne, I did some riding to stay in form for the USA Cycling Nationals. I went to Vermont for the race two weeks ago looking for a good result. Well, it poured rain Wed, Thurs, and Friday night before my 8am race on Sat. The course is very technical and hard without mud, and add thick goopy mud to the equation and you have slip sliding. I was third to the top of the 3 mile climb with the leaders on lap 1 and somehow rode the downhill clean until the very end where I nailed a rock buried in a mud bog and flew into the mud coating half of my body. I had to take my gloves off since they were coated in mud and my hand were still sliding on the grips. On lap 2 I stopped halfway up the climb to wash my gloves off in the stream. That was in the 1/2 mile hike-a-bike section. I still made it to the top in 3rd place, but then it went downhill from there! I think I crashed like 10 times. If I didn't fall sliding off the roots, my tire would stop by smacking a rock sideways. Eventually I flew off the bike and had one of those long moments in the air where I saw the rock I was going to land on. I hit it smack on with my kneecap. Stood on the side of the trail for 2 minutes. Walked some, rode some, then slid out on some more mud and roots and nailed my wrist. I finally got down to the bottom of the mountain and called it a day. 2 out of 3 laps, but the mud on the downhill kicked my ass. We have nothing like that around here. If it was dry, i think it would have been a different story. I had great form and felt great climbing up to the top of the Mt. I just didn't have any mud/rock/root combined technical skills. Also running semi-slicks in the mud doesn't help a bit. Lessons learned.
Since I was so battered and bruised and cuts all over, I decided not to go to NC to race. Good thing, because it turned out to be the same damn thing. Mud. Except this time, I heard the opening climb was full of peanut butter and people were all over the hill looking for traction. Lots of mud, lots of hike-a-bikes is not what I look foreward to in Mt bike racing.
I took 4 days off the bike as a mid-season refresher and because it hurt bad to pedal with my knee and hurt holding the bar. I took a few easy rides after that, met Randy for a ride, did the Monday Night road ride on Hines Dr, then went to a family get together for a few days.
That lead to this past weekend where I raced Big M. My legs felt fine, they were not sore since I have not ridden that much or hard in a long time. I rode with the main group for 2 laps and felt okay, but did not have the power I normally have. After a slight bobble on the trail, I lost the main group and could not catch back up. I lost my rhythm and couldn't keep the power going. I had not wattage and no leg speed whatsoever. The heart rate kept on dropping and I flipped the switch from race mode to survival mode. I finished the 5 laps, but rode myself backwards from 5th to 12th in 3 laps. I did not go to hard at the begining, I just had one of those days where the legs were dried up of power. I think it was from a lack of much training and hardly any intensity over the past 3-4 weeks and a lack of pre-race preparation the days before. I'll be back at it this week, getting the efforts in and the time in the saddle. I'll be doing the last two USAC races and look to improve.
The past few weeks have been great learning experiences. From placing well at Boyne, to not keeping the rubber side down in VT, to pedaling backwards at Big M. I am looking foreward to the last part of the season and improving on my results.
I'll have some pics up later.