Sunday, August 7, 2016

End of Road Season, 2016

"And with that, the road season ends with a whimper."

That's a comment from my teammate, Sean, regarding the cancellation of our last road race of the season. Not enough registrants, apparently. There wasn't a cat 4 race for the women, so I wouldn't have been racing anyway. Based on what I've heard from other athletes, though, this road season has been a departure from seasons past, in terms of schedule; there have been multiple races canceled or not scheduled, relative to previous years. It will be interesting to see what happens to the MABRA racing scene, going forward.

If I had known that Tysons Corner was going to be my last road race for 2016, I would have taken it a little more seriously. As it was, my season also ended with a whimper.

I had three well-defined goals for this season: find and join a team that I like, start training specifically and exclusively for bike racing, and figure out what my strengths and weaknesses are on the bike.
I have a white helmet on order.
I accomplished the first one. I've been riding and racing with Veloworks-Spokes, Etc. since February. I accomplished the second goal. I started off training using my own plan, as I have in years past. I discovered after a couple of months that I don't know as much about bike training as I do about triathlon training, and I was too lazy to do enough research to figure it out. I ended up switching over to TrainerRoad about two months ago, and have been satisfied with the results so far. My FTP has increased by 21 watts, about a 10% increase. Mostly, I appreciate having an assignment each day. When I write my own programs, I don't trust them; I end up changing them on the fly, which defeats the point of writing them in the first place.

As for the third goal, I still don't feel that I have a good sense of my strengths and weaknesses. I know that I need to continue working on my handling in the pack, especially when I'm tired. I need to improve my awareness and critical thinking when I'm fatigued (I had the same problem when I was playing rugby, which is why I eventually moved from scrumhalf to flanker). My sprinting power is pretty good, although I'm not yet confident enough to control that maximal power at the end of a hard race. I think I'm good at sitting on the front of a group and pushing the pace, either to catch a breakaway or to force a selection. I lack the ability to combine those two things, though; I have trouble putting in a big dig, like in an attack, and then maintaining a high power to stay away or bridge across. That also ties into my mental toughness, which needs a lot of work. I hope I can use some of that knowledge to define goals for next year, although I'm not mentally ready to dig into yet.

I have about a month before I start CX racing. Goals for that are to experience extreme pain and then drink extreme beer. I should have a big announcement related to CX soon. Stay tuned.

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