So here we are at the end of the year, and with it, the end of my cyclocross season. I had thought that I might make it to a couple more races after the first of the year, but the schedule just doesn't make that look like it's going to work.
At the top line, I'm pretty happy with the results of my first year. I feel like I was competitive in most of the races I entered, and that every time I raced, I learned a little bit more about how to manage a cross race.
Here's how the numbers added up on all the data I collected durning training:
- Time ridden: 61:43:08
- Miles ridden: 1,284
- Calories burned (est.): 74,286
That's over the course of six months of tracked rides, a total of 59 rides and races. I think that's pretty good volume of training, although the milage isn't particularly high.
Part of that was from the strategy of using high-intensity interval training as the bulk of my work, and the results from the work I did at Endurance Performance Training Center were great. I raised my Lactate Threshold by 25 watts over the course of six months, which feels like very nice progress indeed. The top end power didn't have the same improvement, but that's also much harder skill to train.
So how did that translate to racing results? Here's a summary:
- 10 races
- 6 finishes in top third of field
- 3 top ten finishes
- Highest placing: 2nd
- Best percentage beaten: 88.7% (8th out of 70)
- Crashes: 6
- DNFs: 2
At the midpoint of the season, I was in the top ten in the standings for Mens C riders in the Bay Area Super Prestige Series -- the biggest cross series in the area. Unfortunately, I missed the last two races of the season with conflicts, which is a real bummer. I think that I would have easily stayed in the top ten for the series, and could have maybe found my way into the top five.
Season highlights? Best race for me was the BASP race at Candlestick Point. The rare rainy day made it feel like "real" cyclocross weather, and I had a blast. I also had my best race of the year, finishing 8th in a field of 70, and really riding well in tough conditions. I remember from my earlier racing days that I kind of liked riding in the rain, and that seems to have held true. Other highlights: podium in Livermore on the single speed. Meeting great teammates. Encouragement from a cool community of riders -- when someone like Josh Snead, who's one of the top riders in the area is posting advice on your blog, that's really fun, and helpful.
Lowlights? The early season festival of crashing, for sure. After abrading off a lot of my shin in my first race, totally jacking up my ribs in my second, and then sliding through a school courtyard in my third, it was apparent that I have a lot of work to do on the technical side. Crashing is always part of bike racing, but I was on the ground way too much, and those dings add up, not only in pain, but also in frustration.
A big part of what I hope to do this offseason is work on those skills. I'm going to do a lot of mountain biking if I can, so I can get a little more used to the uncertain traction that you face all the time in cross races. I think that if I can improve the technical skills this year that my fitness will allow me to be pretty competitive as I move up in class next year to the 35+ B category.
I owe a couple of huge thanks yous. First, to Claire McGowan, Charlie Livermore, Clark Natwick and especially Patrick Maher at Endurance Performance Training Center. Claire was kind enough to get me the chance to train there, Charlie and Clark were generous with their time and advice, and Patrick was the coach who got me through those three interval workouts a week. If you're a cyclist in the Bay Area with big ambitions but limited time, you owe it to yourself to check out Endurance PTC.
Also, big thanks to my colleagues at Wired for not making fun of my attire as I went out a lunch to ride, and to my teammates on Kaiser Permanente/Team Oakland who supported me at the races with advice and hand ups. Andrew Yee at Cyclocross Magazine was a great resource.
But the biggest thanks, as ever, to my wife Kristen, and our girls Kate and Paige. Thanks for letting me train and race, and for the cheers and signs. I can't wait for next season.