Transitions is the title of this blog because that is what the last couple months of my life has been. This is the main reason I have not posted anything new for so long on here, sorry for that. Okay, now where should I start to describe this time of transition.... I think The Wilderness 101 Race in the last week of July would be a good starting point since it was the last race that I did and it was also my last racing blog.
I will admit that not having my best performance at the 101definitely took some of my racing steam out of me. I think that after training so hard for Nationals and the NUE Series my body was craving a long rest period. Well, unintentionally and not really by choice, work has given my legs and mind a very long rest from racing bikes.
My work schedule at the beginning of August made it impossible to race. Then two weeks into August, I learned that I was going to be transferred from working in Philly to a station closer to home. Doing a transfer at work is not an easy thing to do because there are certain issues at work that do need attention before the transfer occurs and then again once it does occur. Basically, I had to concentrate on work a lot more than usually. I also was not sure what weekends I would be off, so it was hard to commit to doing any races with an unknown work schedule. I do need to have set racing goals and without any planned races I kind of lost focus with my training.
One thing that I did to keep my mind somewhat interested in riding and training was to switch from riding my 29'er to riding my cyclocross bike. It was amazing how light and fast my cross bike felt in comparison to the mountain bike when I first made the switch. Cross season is a blast and I hoping that my earlier transition this year to the cross bike will help my performance at cross racing this year.
I did compete in one race since my last report. It was the Tour of Strongland Mt. Bike Race at the Roaring Run Trails in Apollo, PA. I did not do great, as a matter of fact, I did not do well at all, in my opinion. I could certainly notice that my fitness was lacking. Additionally, I could also tell that I had not been on the mt. bike in a while. To make matters worse, I switched back to my rigid fork a few days before the race thinking that it would be the best choice because of the shorter distance of the race. What a mistake this was. I totally forgot how technical the trails are at Roaring Run. They are certainly great trails, but absolutely better for a bike with suspension than without. I ended up in fifth at the race and feeling like I just got out of the ring with a prize winning fighter. I definitely need to add a sentence in this blog to thank Rob Spreng for saving me after I crashed during the race. I had just over taken him on a climb and then bombed into a single track descent that was really narrow and had a steep drop off on the right side. I hit a rock, or something, at the beginning of the descent that launched me off the steep right side of the trail. My initial thought was, oh my, this is going to hurt BAD! Luckily, I did not end up at the bottom of the 20 foot drop-off because I was fortunate enough that a small tree caught my rib cage as I began to fall down. The crash onto the tree left me completely stuck, hanging precariously over this "cliff" until Rob was kind enough to stop and rescued me. THANKS AGAIN, ROB!!! After the crash, I decided to back off the pace and wait for another day to race hard again.
I do believe that I have now completed my past couple months of transitions with the bike switch, with my changes at work and with moving back home. Hopefully, I can begin to now focus on racing fast again. I have also committed to a long range racing goal by registering for the US National Cyclocross Championships in Kansas City, MO, this past Monday Morning at 1:00am. I did very well with the pre-registration "race" by placing fifth. This is an important part of doing the race because it will give me a good starting position, probably in the first two rows. Starting a cross race at the front of a 140 plus man field is priceless and essential to be competitive in the race.
One last thing that I do need to mention before I end this blog is the start of the Month of Mud. This awesome local Western PA Race Series will start it's 20th annual series this weekend, on 09/21/08. I highly recommend that if you live in the Western PA Area that you should do this race series. There is more information about it at: http://www.westliberycycles.com/.
Oh yeah, the Speedgoat Cross Bike pictured above will be one of my cross racing rigs for the season. It is set up in training mode right now, but will soon be a true cross racing machine. Don't try to find this frame at Speedgoat, though...it is one of my special creations.
See you at the races..... Gerry
See you at the races..... Gerry