My five-day off season is nearly over. I'm heading to the gym tomorrow, and, as soon as the temperatures get tolerable for me, I'll start riding to school again.
It's been a long and busy cyclocross season. I'm happy with it. I had better results this year than ever, several top 5s, two podiums. No wins but I could taste them.
I felt pretty tired at the end of the season. I figured the flu plague I caught before Christmas, plus packing up and moving Mom from the house I grew up in, took a little more out of my old man's body than I expected.
My coach, Brian Matter of Momentum Endurance, asked me to think about the season and do some evaluation.
The high points were definitely the good results. I really liked the ET Twilight Cross race down in East Troy and had a lot of fun there and got 4th.
The funny thing is that I never felt great in any of the races I did well in. There was some sense of blockage, like something was in the way of really letting loose.
Anyone who's read anything by me from the past knows that my head (emotions) often get in the way of just having fun on the bike. I've done a ton of work on that, but I must have gotten a little lazy this year. The ugliness of expectations reared its head a little more. That may have come from finally getting some results and tasting success. I wanted more!
I also struggled with focus some days, especially when I crashed early in the race. At several races, crashes made me tentative in the corners, and I'd lose my nerve.
Emotionally, this season was different as well with team director/holder of the center Mike Heenan at races across the country working as a wrench for Rapha/Focus. Mike and I traveled a lot together last year, but only once this year. When several mwi's came to a race, something was missing as well. Emotional core? Not sure, but I noticed the difference.
Maybe that's it: Maybe I missed some kind of center this year, some kind of focus.
At the line at nationals, I started to laugh out loud, literally. That seriously was the craziest damn thing I've done on the bike. Those conditions were hellacious: mud on top of ice. That laughter though got me riding really well, just having fun.
One of the blocks in my head is confidence in driving the bike in all conditions. I'm a decent bike handler, but I can't wait to spend a LOT of time on the mountain bike this year. I want to be able to rail through corners and down off-camber climbs.
Huge thanks for the season go out to Brian, who made me so much faster. I also ended up spending a lot of time with Ian and Hans Haupt. Ian is a great kid, solid. I'm so proud of him for his nationals performance. He rode like he meant it in crappy conditions, earning himself a 10th in a tough season.
And Hans has been a huge support for me, working the pits, driving everywhere. He has selflessly volunteered to help the team as well.
It's been a good season for cyclocross this year. For next year, I plan to smooth out the inconsistencies and ride like a kid again: Just having fun.