Monday, October 01, 2007

The Year In Review....And A Preview

2008 training kicks off today (officially, although I rode a lot this weekend) and I really am looking forward to the challenges and joys of my offseason training for the next 6 months. Before I get started on what the next 6 months will bring, I'll do a quick little review of what happened in '07 and what I need to improve on for '08. First of all my results were pretty good I guess but I still wish I would've done better of course. I wouldn't be racing if I didn't think there was a chance to win every race, it just didn't work out that way this year though. So to re-cap, I finished in the top 10 in 13 out of the 17 races I did this year, finished in the top 5 in 6 of those races and out of those I had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes. Seemingly I only had 4 bad races where I didn't finish in the top 10, but that isn't necessarily the case. I could point to a few of those top 10s and say that I got lucky and that my skill had nothing to do with it because I was definitely dogging it in the Evergreen race, the UW road race, and the Elm Grove Criterium. I felt pretty bad for those 3 races even though I managed to pull off top 10s, basically my experience got me through to the front of the races near the end and I was able to maintain a decent sprint for my placings. I really had no power for either of those 3 races and was basically bluffing my way through them, thank goodness for my decent sprint. Anyways, on to my strengths and weaknesses for the year. I would have to say that my weaknesses are still a lack of overall power which anyone in cycling knows that it takes time to build that up to the point where you can consistently roll along in a 53x14 or 53x13. I don't think I ever got down to my 53x12 this year, except maybe on a downhill. I'd also have to say that my climbing was lacking this year, most of that was due to weight but also again just due to lack of power and that is something that I'm going to focus on quite a bit this year. I'd have to say that my strengths were my experience with strategy and pack positioning and also my sprint, which has improved alot since last year. It wasn't good enough to be quite on par with the best sprinters but I managed one sprint win and it kept me up there in the rest of the races.
On to '08....I'll be riding with the same team again this year, Wheaton Franciscan, and I think if all the guys return we'll have a really strong elite Masters team next year. We have a few good hill-climbers, some good sprinters, and a couple of guys like me that can do a lot of work to help out the top guys. I'm looking forward to really animating the races next year and hopefully we'll become the team to beat in the M1/2/3 races.
My offseason training this Fall, Winter, and early Spring will consist obviously of a lot of weightlifting and bike-specific training but I also plan to do some snowshoeing as well to exercise the legs and to mix things up a bit. Early in the training, which starts today, I'll be doing bike-specific stuff like one-legged pedaling, Fast Pedals, and just easy, long rides on the weekends. November will bring the start of weightlifting and then once the snow starts falling I'll start doing the snowshoeing in addition to riding on the weekends. Most likely it will be a split day with snowshoeing in the morning and then riding in the afternoons either on the trainer or the cyclocross bike outside if the roads are clear. Once late January rolls along I'll start doing MuscleTension type exercises on the bike, and will also start doing Tempo work and mix in some intervals now and then. As we get out of winter and in to early Spring I'll start to really concentrate on climbing with lots of Steady State intervals and Climbing Repeats to improve that aspect of my riding. As I mentioned earlier, my climbing skills were lacking this year, both on short, steep climbs and longer climbs. My goal is to improve that quite a bit for '08 in order to keep up with the strong guys in the 1/2/3 category. It used to be one of my strengths so in spite of the fact that I'm quite a bit heavier I won't let that deter me and am confident I can be a good climber again.
So, that's it for now. It was a good '07, and I plan on doing a lot of work for '08 with the intention of being very competitive in the M1/2/3 category and hopefully score a few top placings. We've got a great team, we'll hopefully be a little more cohesive this year and knowing the personalities and skills that we all have I have no doubt that we'll be at the top in a lot of races. I know that the rest of the team will be training hard this offseason, and I don't want to disappoint next year.
Well, I could say a lot more, but I'll save some of it for tomorrow, until next time.....

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