I thought I had the Cycling team settled in for a good transition of leadership since this was to be my last year at the helm of ETSU Cycling but 3 weeks before the first race, which was this weekend in Florida, he (the new President) up and quit on all of us. It's hard to find someone that has a passion for and willing to make sacrifices to an organization these days. So, I'm back at everything and our spring collegiate road racing season has begun.
I've been on the trainer a lot this very wintry season. Not for the same reason that most do though. I'm not a road racer most know but I do like to dabble. I know how, especially the mechanical and mental part, but I don't like mixing it up with big groups that, let's say, are lacking technical skills... That said I love watching good road racers duke it out. The main reason I was wasting a perfectly good tire on the trainer since December was to drop some lbs. Plain and simple, nothing more nothing less. No race goals, nothing. Right after fall semester I walked by a scale in the gym and hopped on. I was floored. That digital thing read 199! If I had seen 200 I would have probably threw a dumbbell at it and been hauled off to jail. My Dad is a big, big dude bless his heart. I always told myself I would never get big as my Dad. I figured it was in my genealogy so I would have to work at it very hard when I got older, well I'm older now. I've never ever really been on a "diet" in my life but changes in my lifestyle would now have to be made. That thing called metabolism was now downshifting in my life and changes need to be made. It truly is a lifestyle of choices!
The changes; I stumbled across an app on the trusty iPhone called "loseit". What the heck, I'll give it a try. Once again I was floored by the amount of calories I was consuming and the way these calories broke down in the app. Carbs, protien and fat. The amount of calories I was taking in was enormous and yet I wasn't eating to get full I had thought I was "cutting back". I've read so many articles on nutrition that I'm almost permanently cross-eyed. I've come to realize that people have different perspectives on this just like religion. Interpretation would be a good word I guess. Do it this way, eat this, no eat that... It's crazy.
Since December 12th I've changed my diet to eating better (except when I'm traveling but I do the best I can) I have made better choices about what I put into my body. I don't like grocery shopping at all but now I'm in the grocery at least 3 times a week. I eat many more perishable items now so that means more trips to the grocery store. My weight now? 189! I've been stuck here at 189 for 3 weeks now and it's not budging at all. I think once the weather breaks and the time changes in 2 weeks so that I can ride outside more than once a week to get longer rides in it will snap the thread holding me here. I've now set a goal for 175. A tad ambitious maybe but I'd be happy with 180.
All this time in the saddle did buy me a tad bit of fitness. My cyclocross racing was a disaster to say the least. After 2 months riding steadily inside watching every movie netflix has to offer I decided to see what I could do (that racing bug coming out in me). Why not bite off a gravel grinder? Ok, which one? Looks like the next best one was Southern Cross hosted by Odea and company down in Dahlonega Ga.
So, I registered online, spent the night in Helen, Ga Friday night so I wouldn't have a long 4+ hr drive there Saturday morning. I'm up Saturday for a 40 minute drive into the winery. I've never ridden here before so I printed a small elevation/mileage chart and taped it to my top tube so I would know when the climbs were coming and for how long. It worked like a charm. I can't stand racing a course that I have never pre-ridden.
I had fun! Plain and simple. I took both bikes, the ridley x-fire and the Air 9, but ended up on the Niner for the option of having that 36 in the back to climb with. Funny thing is I only once used the little ring up front just so I could rest my legs on a climb. I actually did 99% of the whole thing in the 39 ring up front, that surprised me. It was a grueling first 12 miles to the first aid station where I refilled the water bottles and started questioning myself if the whole thing was going to be that brutal of a climb. Thankfully it wasn't. The second big climb back up to the aid station was very mild compared to the first one, thank goodness. Upon returning to the winery for the final 2 miles through the cx grassy part we started in they shot us up behind the winery hall for 50 yards at no less than a 30% grade. It hurt I'm not going to lie, it hurt bad. After reaching the top my right hammy started to tighten up it seemed like it took me two forevers to get back up that ridge in the grass to the finish line. I was shooting for a sub 5hr race but ended up 5:08:12 on the race clock but made my goal barely in my garmin 4:56:32. I wasted 12 minutes in the aid stations between the two times I stopped to refill. 71 out of 102 in the 40+ so I beat 30% of the riders or I got my arse handed to me by 70% of the field. Ewwwwww!!
That was the first endurance race in 2 years for me. I wasn't to awfully upset with that. I could only imagine what it would have taken me if I hadn't dropped that 10 pounds. If the cash flow holds out I plan on hitting as many of the Ultra CX races as possible that don't interfere with the Collegiate road races this spring.
After my little stint in Dahlonega I saddled up to meet several of the guys in ATL for the second east coast round of Monster Energy Super Cross. I will say that I wasn't upset when JS7 eat the ground early in the race. VP did't win and didn't look up to speed but the overall racing wasn't that good like the last one also. The promoters need to do something to the tracks to make the racing more intense for us paying spectators. Nonetheless it was mega fun. We loaded up Sunday, left the ATL and headed over to FATS trail system for a quick spin on the way home. My back was tight and needed a little mileage to loosen it up. The storm that rolled through earlier in the week devastated the SC pines. Devastated in a strong word and barely describes how bad the trails were blocked by down trees. We actually removed a lot of debris that you could move with your hands. There's 100's of hours of chainsaw work that will be needed there, seriously! This is only one section of "skinny".
We probably walked 2 miles over and through downed trees. We were back in the trails and rode only 1:10:00 out of a tad over 2 hours. I feel sorry for these guys. They will need hundreds of hours of work to clean the many miles of trail that are blocked by all the pine downfall. We removed a lot of stuff that one could without tools but we merely scratched the surface. Good luck guys.
Well that's all I have for now, Thanks for reading. It's off to UGA this weekend.