Ugh, It's been almost 10 days since my last race on Dec 6 and I'm just now writing this. I can tell it's the end of the season. I'm going to keep this short. The cyclocross season was way too short - I'm wishing it could continue for another month or two. I had an awesome time at the Mercer Cup in NJ with the Richard Sachs team in November and closing out the year at the Capital Cross in Reston with my best friend was a great way to finish up the season. I got 9th out of 90 at the Capital Cross for those keeping score. Click here for pics from the weekends races.
I've already shared some thoughts on the entire season back in a post in October (click here to read it), but I'll briefly say them again. I had a blast, met some awesome people, made a ton of new friends, and got to see some awesome parts of the Northeast USA.
I'm already planning my season for next year. I posted back in October that I was giving up racing to pursue my full-time volunteer work more fully in a third world country. After taking a long hard look at my finances (and myself) I've decided to hold off on making such a large move in 2010 and will reconsider my options in 2011. However, even with that being said, I am still planning on giving up road racing. I don't have the time (and don't want to devote the time) to put into training to stay in competitive shape for road racing. Even though I will be here in Lancaster PA for the next 12 to 18 months, I intend to have as much of a share as I can in my volunteer work - so the training for road racing will no fit into that schedule.
However, I do intend to continue to train as much as I can for the Nightmare and the 2010 cyclocross season and run a full schedule of races in that discipline in the fall and winter (and maybe a MTB race in the summer). This is for two reasons.
First, even if the leaders drop you at a CX race you can still have fun. In a road race when you get dropped it simply becomes a training ride that you paid to be in. In CX as long as you stay on the same lap as the leaders you can still have an awesome time racing. Plus the stress level at a 'cross event is way less than the road.
The second, and most important to me, is the amount of training that goes into being ready to race 'cross - or better put the lack of training. Since the races are only 40 to 60 min. long it doesn't require the same level of training as a road race (which can be 1 to 4 hours long at 20+ mph). Simply riding all summer will put me in more than adequate shape to be able to finish any CX race I enter. This way if I miss a day or two or three of training through the summer it won't be such a big deal as if I was trying to stay in shape for the road racing season. This will allow me to put as much time as I want into my volunteer work while still having fun and having a goal to work towards in the cycling realm.
Another lesser reason is crashing. In road racing crashes can be really bad (at the Green Mountain race a guy broke his collar bone, a leg, a rib, and both arms) involving several cyclist. If you crash in a CX race (and you will - trust me) it's not a big deal because you're going much slower and falling onto grass.
Next year is going to be much more laid back. My first event will be 8 long months from the now. You guessed it - the Nightmare. A 176 "fun" (only if you're into pain) ride around Lancaster County. It's not a race but the top endurance cyclist treat it like one (I got second in 2009 in 10 hr. 42 min). Then after that it will be a full slate of CX races.
I'm going to try and race twice a month between September and December. In September I am planning on trying to get to VT for the Green Mountain CX (if money permits) and Nittany Lion Cross. October will Include the Grangoue and Wissahickon races, November the USGP weekend. The big plan for next year will be to either fly or drive Portland/Bend Oregon for the Portland Cup USGP and the National Championships in the first two weeks of December.
Well, so much for keeping it short :-) Thanks for reading all year and be sure to read into next Spring and Summer as the Adventures continue. Even though I won't be racing then, I'll still ranting on cycling related topics.
Best to all!