Friday, April 23, 2010

T-one month

I've had a pretty rocky start to my racing season this year. I've been to three 'B' races and finished two, and one 'C' race. I've already blogged about the two I finished - in one, I didn't ride hard enough in the first lap and it took me the entire race to catch up to the people in my class, and the second followed too intense a week and too little sleep, and I never found my rhythm. How well I did despite that in those races was encouraging, though.

Last weekend, I didn't even finish. I'd been having some trouble with my suspension fork and thought I might need to rebuild it. I let all the pressure out and ran it through its stroke a few times, and decided it was fine but that I'd pumped it up to too high a pressure. So I returned to my old pressures and went racing. Of course, I was no longer accustomed to some of the bad manners it sometimes exhibits at lower pressures - it lets the bike nosedive in dips, so riding braking bumps can be really difficult. I'm not that good at flat, technical terrain under the best of circumstances, so I had trouble keeping the rubber side down. About two thirds of the way through the first lap, I wiped out on a braking bump badly enough to wrench my handlebars around and pop my saddle off the rails. While people offered me the use of their saddle, it took a few minutes to fix my handlebars and would have taken some more time to swap saddles with someone else. I figured my race was already too far ahead of me to get back into it, and I wouldn't want to accept someone else's saddle and effectively end his. I finished the lap, and then walked off the course and cheered from the turn at the parking lot.

I'd been hoping to have one really good finish before the main part of my season, but it's a little late for that now. There are a few races between now and the Indie Series season opener, but one's in Eastern Washington, and another's on one of the islands in the sound and has a really high race fee, so I'm not going to do either. However, Wednesday Night Worlds started last week, so I have those to go to on Wednesdays, and not racing means I've got four weekends to use however I want to.

A bad carpenter blames his tools and there's no magic suspension fork that will make me a better rider. So I plan to keep going mountain biking on at least one of the weekend days, and I plan to put a little extra emphasis on flat, technical terrain, either by riding in flattish areas more, by revisiting Soaring Eagle, or by lapping the flat trails in areas with more pitch. I may even try to do some speed work on singletrack. Going to as many Wednesdays as I can should help a lot too.

I may also try to do one high intensity road ride each week. It can sometimes be hard to maintain a consistent, high level of intensity on a mountain bike, especially since I'm less motivated to do that to myself when I'm not racing.

If I'm riding a little more smoothly when the Indie Series starts up in a month and I've been doing some speed work, I should be ready to ride really hard, keep the rubber side down, and have some really awesome races. Now I just need for them to get the last couple venues they're promising and have a strong season...

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