Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My plans for the season

It's been a tough first few months of winter. I've put in some big hours in ungodly cold temperatures, but it's time to head south for warmer climates, and from here the year starts quickly. I've left for Arkansas for a little under a month to get some solid training in a place where there is no risk of frostbite. I will be home in march, then will leave for California to do a big block and stay with the Haley's. Towards the end of that trip we will race Sea Otter, then it's out to New Mexico to race the tour of Gila. Shortly after which it's time to get on a plane for Belgium to race internationally for a few weeks. In June I will head west to do Nationals in California, and the Cascade classic in Bend Oregon. I will finish off my road season with another trip to Belgium and will fit in some local races when possible

This will be my first year U23 on the road so my focus will be learning and getting good results to build my resume. I will be racing with Flanders Cycling, a local Minnesota team. The owners, the Flanders brothers have developed a TON of experience over their long Cycling careers. It is an honor to race for a team with such a history and there will be a lot to learn from them.

Putting in the hours I do in 10 degree and below temperatures was extremely mentally (and physically) taxing. It got to the point where a 30 degree day felt so warm I would walk outside to do chores in a sweater. Now all there is to deal with is sunshine and a little wind! It's been 40-60 degrees, with some rain sprinkled in. With my Lazer Helmets Aeroshell this feels like paradise. 

Being in colder weather really increases air drag, between the denser air and the baggy clothes it makes a huge difference. In Minnesota on a road bike I was training at around 28-30kph, now at the same effort level in Arkansas it's 38-42kph. This does wonders for your motivation because part of the fun of riding is you get to go relatively fast under your own power, and the faster you go the more you see while riding.

So far there hasn't been too much of an issue with the traffic down here in the deep south. I've only had one guy buzz me. However, it's obvious I'm in a city, not the out in the sticks. Luckily it's only a short ride on the bike trail to get out of the city!

So far Arkansas seems like a diamond in the rough to me. On the surface it seems like just another urbanized industrial area... However once you do some exploring it rolls back the curtains and shows you some fairly impressive natural grandeur.
When you live in a place with winters as intense as Minnesota, there are certain things you just forget. Like the sound of waves washing ashore on a lake, the sight of sunlight bouncing off a rippling river, the sound of frogs chirping in a marsh, and what the color green really looks like. it's nice to be remind of those things and others a few months early.
It's been fun riding somewhere new and meeting new people. I do miss home a little, but not training there. The training really isn't THAT bad when it's 20s or higher, it's mostly that I've ridden everything around my house. Exploring is fun and makes training significantly easier, so when you already know exactly what you'll see it can take the wind out of your sails. Learning how to deal with that however, is a key thing in training for any outdoor sport. So when the time comes to train at home, I'll be ready. For now, it's just about enjoying what's happening in the present.
What's over the top of that hill? something I've never seen before.

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