Cruise the Blues
It seems that the monsoon season has been about a year long ordeal. I have ridden in the rain more in the last year than I can ever remember. I am not really a big fan of it, but at times it just has to be done. One of the many reasons I feel so fortunate to live in Colorado Springs is that our trails really don’t get muddy. There certainly are pockets of trails that need to be avoided, but it is easy to find somewhere to ride off road no matter how much rain we have had. It is great to see everything green and the creeks running, and I am so happy we had a summer with no fires!
This past weekend we made our yearly trip out to North Central Kansas to visit Doug and Tracey Palen on their family farm. Doug and Tracey have been good friends of mine and my family's for many years and they put on an awesome and extraordinarily unique MTB race on their farm property every summer. Cruise the Blues just wrapped up its 11th year and I think I have only missed one running the year I did Breck Epic and was still too tired to race when the time came.
Not feeling up for the 5 hour solo effort I teamed up with another good friend, Andy Burnett hailing from Nowhere, Oklahoma. For not being a racer at all, having a big family and business to watch out for, Andy is one serious ripper on a MTB. His Rockstar Winnebago made a great weekend home for Amber and I as we turned out laps on the farm. The race started out on really slick mud. The first lap was wildly frustrating with roughly 100 near death mud slide outs and tires building up with the clay infused dirt. But it got better every lap and the rest of the day was the fun of zooming through the trees we have come to know and love. Andy and I took the win in the mens duo and my Dad and Amber won the coed duo. The after race festivities are the real highlight: tons of kids races, good BBQ, live music, and lots of random and injury prone bike games. The heat and humidity of Kansas Summer sucks beyond compare! But there simply aren’t better people anywhere and that will always keep me coming back.
Back in Colorado Springs and into the rain, I have been exercising my Borealis Fat Bike tons. The workout you get is incredible. The big tires allow you to basically climb anything and the rolling resistance just means that the effort is more steady than normal trail riding. I would love to see a power file from a fat bike ride because it feels like you are just flat lining at threshold the entire ride. Huge strength builder. And they descend like a demon. The ruts from all the rain do not even bother my 4.5 inch wide tires in the slightest. Now that the Bluto Rock Shox exists, I think this is a viable do it all trail bike, and a 29+ wheel set can even make it a capable race bike. Pretty cool how quickly the MTB world is evolving right now. The last 3 years have been amazing, I hope we keep this pace up.
This weekend I am off to Grand Junction for the second year event GJ Off Road. Really excited to see a course I have never been on before and take in the festivities.
As the summer season is wrapping up I am thinking a lot about my training strengths and weaknesses and how that corresponded with my racing success and failures. It is a good time of year to take a breath and examine the past few months before you move on and it gets too far out of sight.
A few good ideas for reflection:
Look back at the weeks leading up to the best races you had. What training had you primed for success?
Look back at your summer nutrition and weight. Was there good and bad stretches with your diet that are reflected in your training?
Was there any races that you significantly underperformed? What can we learn from the weeks leading up to this race and how could it have been different?
This is a simple exercise for most athletes that can gain us great insights we can easily apply to our training and preparation down the line.
Enjoy Labor Day weekend! Take your meds daily!