After Worlds I took a few weeks off to put Worlds behind me, do some soul searching, and plan for the year. I eased back into riding and was particularly pleased with the base I still had. I hadn’t lost much fitness at all but I kept the first week pretty mellow and began a sensible ramp in week 2.
With 2 weeks in the legs I headed to
The People’s Republic Boulder for a little crit action. The Cat 3/4 field was huge, 124 on the start line! Excluding the Scratch Race at Worlds it had been 6 months since my last mass start race, longer since my last crit and I had some self-doubts about my pack skills. After 3 laps I realized I could move in and around the pack at will so I drifted back for some shelter from the wind (it was pretty windy with mostly cross-wind). I tried to draw out a break with 4 laps to go, but when I attacked on the hill I got 50 meters of separation instantly. My attack worked too well. I knew I couldn’t hold off the group in the wind solo so i sat up to wait for the sprint. I ended up 19th. I was too far back coming into the final turn and ran out of time to hunt people down. It was a solid start to the season. I’ve seen huge improvements in my ability to ride in a pack, descend, and ride in the wind recently, I’m not sure why, maybe time on the bike, maybe I’m better at killing my cautious streak. I also learned that I don’t have to be a good sprinter, I can do well in races with a good final corner position and my 1 minute power. A couple months of FTP work might negate that need while I’m still a Cat3 but I have a lot of racing between now and then.
Today’s training ride deserves honorable mention as it is in my top-5 favorite rides of all time. I rode with fellow Paracyclist and new OTC resident Jon C. We spent the winter in Chula Vista together and have a really great training chemistry. We gained +6000 feet of elevation and went pretty deep into mountains before finding a side road that snaked it’s way towards a valley with 5 different sections where the posted speed limit was 25mph due to the turns. Thanks to pristine pavement and perfect banking we ripped through most of the turns over 40mph, at 9,000 feet it was breathtaking,