On Saturday morning I drove up to Breckenridge to race the Fall Classic mtb race… and I’m so stoked I did. One of my big goals next year is to race the Breck Epic (6 day mtb stage race in Breck) so I want to ride up in Breckenridge as much as possible between now and then… I’m also just having so much fun on my mountain bike that I don’t want the mtb season to end! I didn’t head into the race with any kind of expectations or goals other than to just have fun.
It was pretty much a mass start race with all the pros and experts starting at the same time. The race went out super hard up the first climb and I tried my best to hang which resulted in a mini blow up 3/4s up the climb and I quickly started going backwards. My top end is totally nonexistent right now and I paid the price for trying to fake it. I was caught and passed by my teammate, Jason, who went on to dominate and win our category (expert men 19-39). I tried to jump on his wheel but was still recovering from going out too hard.
Other than that the race we pretty uneventful. I spent the first half of the race slowly picking people off, suffering on the steep climbs, and having blast on the ripping descents. Just after the final climb a couple of 40+ guys caught me and we started ripping the descent. It was super fun and then it started to pour rain with a few miles to go. I took a sweet digger over a wet, slippery rock garden and lost their wheels. Luckily no damage to my bike or body was done and jumped back on and spun to the finish in full on downpour… so fun.
I ended up 5th on the day for expert men 19-39 with no specific XC mountain bike race training I am super happy with. I’m relatively fit for sure but just don’t feel any where near “race fit” for anything short (relative) or hard…. and that kind of brings me to my plans for the rest of the year….
I guess I should back up a bit. My initial plan for the year was to train hard and peak for the Bailey Hundo in mid June then keep the summer fun and unstructured in order build back up for cyclocross and get ready to pace Maggie at the leadville 100 run. Well… a couple weeks after having a race I was super stoked about at the Bailey Hundo I decided to pull the the trigger and take my Leadville 100 MTB slot. So that meant keeping my foot on the pedal training-wise instead of a break.
I could go into the details but it’s all on strava. For the Bailey Hundo my training was spot on and included some specific intensity/workouts each week and some really long rides. After the Bailey Hundo, leading up to Leadville, my training was very non-specific and I only did one ride over 5 hours. Mentally I couldn’t just hop right back into doing the same training I did for Bailey… i knew i needed a break from it so I just rode my fitness out but could definitely feel it declining as the weeks went on. I wasn’t too concerned as Leadville wasn’t a goal race this year. I had a lot of fun (type 2 sufferfest) in Leadville on race day but believe I performed well below my capabilities. I totally know why and it was a conscious decision to train the way I did so I was never bummer or disappointed with my result. You get what you pay for.
After Leadville I was ready to start hitting it hard for cyclocross… or at least I thought I was. It seems like every day my motivation would waiver. One day I’d be super stoked to hit some intervals and then next there was no way I could wrap my head around that and I just wanted to ride my bikes and run. After bailing on a few interval sessions and continuing to waiver I decided to bag cross season and clear out my fall calendar. it’s already been a long year and racing a full season through december just lost it’s appeal.
It was actually a huge mental relief when I decided to not race cross. I’ve had a lot people ask me how I’ve kept the motivation to train and race for as long as I have with out getting burned out. It’s 100% due to the fact that I always do what I want to do and when I have feelings like I did about racing a full season of cyclocross and listen to them and bag it. That’s why I’ve jumped around sports all these years. It’s keeps it fresh, interesting, and there’s always a new challenge. There’s still stuff I want to do that I haven’t. I am not a pro athlete, I don’t make my living do this stuff, it’s all for fun and enjoyment… so if it’s not fun (fun is relative, you gotta love suffering!) I’m not doing it.
So this fall is going to be about having fun on my bikes, running, and getting back to building some strength, which I’ve already started, watching football, drinking beer, and just enjoying my favorite time of the year. The Fall Classic was just about having some fun and I am hoping to jump into a couple more fun races this month.
I’m already planning some fun for next and more on that to come later.