Choose Your Own Adventure
When you can’t decide if you want to ride or climb… well, that’s when I go with the Choose Your Own Adventure principle. I’m a serious bike racer, but I’m also a serious triathlete. And occasional runner. Climber. Swimmer. Whatever, really. If it’s an adventure, I’m game.
Ride to the climbing gym and then ride home? Total blast, except for trying to brake en route home and realizing that your forearms are too wrecked to actually pull on the levers… But ultimately, the perfect workout.
Of course, choices like this lead to some ridiculous decisions, like signing up for a bouldering competition on Halloween three days before a big cyclocross race. That pales in comparison to September’s insanity of racing ’cross on Saturday, then a triathlon on Sunday morning and then another ’cross race that same afternoon. Or signing up for a trail marathon three days beforehand with very few running miles logged in recent months. But when your main goal is to have fun while occasionally attempting to kick ass, it’s a good way to be.
I’ve been climbing a lot more again. I stopped for a while this summer because getting to a climbing gym was a hassle, but I really missed it and now that I’m in Western MA again, it’s pretty easy to get there once a week. And you can’t beat it for a strength workout with some sprint-type intervals (at least, sprints as far as HR is concerned.)
I guess what I’m getting at is… this is the middle of ’cross season. I’m seeing a whole bunch of tired racers who are fed up with team stuff, their legs are wrecked, etc., and it reminds me to take time out to just have fun playing. We had a weekend off, a bunch of us Western MA kids, last weekend, and we ended up spending the time playing in sandpits on our bikes, doing long rides, carving pumpkins, and going to a nighttime corn maze. And even though my training has been scattered this week (some riding, some climbing, some core, some running), I feel better going into this race weekend than I have any other weekend this season because I’m psyched to race and because I remembered why I love this, why I love competing. Because it is wicked freaking fun.
That said… Thanks to a chat with a friend who happens to be a great coach, I did decide that next season, I really need to decide on 5 goal races and then tailor my schedule around them. For the rest of this ’cross season, I mainly want to do well at Northampton weekend and have a good showing at Nationals, and then after that, really focus on getting better at MTB and endurance so my Xterra showings will improve…