It happened right on schedule. I cut way back on my cycling after TransRockies to make time for my annual fall crunch period with work and, as I expected, I put back on the 15 pounds I lost over the course of the racing season last year. Oh well...
I purposely delayed the start of my training plan for 2008 until today in hopes of delaying the burnout I suffered last June. There's still more than enough time to get in good shape before my first "A" race, the Spokane 24-hour race on Memorial Day weekend, but I'm really glad today finally came. I was starting to get pretty anxious, but then I looked at my training notes from last year and saw that I only biked about 8 hours in a 3-week span in the middle of December. Apparently I haven't missed much this year yet. That said, I am a bit concerned that a big part of my success in the Spokane race last year was due to my 3-day trip on the Kokopelli Trail two weeks prior. I'm going to have to replicate that trip again this year with three 6-hour rides in successive days but finding a place to do so that early in the season in the northwest won't be easy. If only there was a 142 mile snow-free trail in the northwest that had 14,000 feet of climbing... sigh.
Nevertheless, today I begin what will likely be a 35-week training plan to take me through the year to the end of August and, hopefully, the Leadville 100 on August 9th (if my entry gets drawn in the lottery) or the Humboldt 12/24 hour race in California on August 16th (if I don't get into Leadville). I even built a couple weeks of recovery into the tail end of the plan so that, should I manage to temper my enthusiasm early and want to race cyclo-cross this year, I'll be in shape to do so. But that's a long way from now. Not to mention would require yet another bike purchase. Best not to tell tell Kristin about that one just yet...
My first priority is to drop a few of the pounds I put back on over the fall. And the best way to do that is by running. The knees and shins will hurt the first one or two days while my body re-conditions itself to the impact (I never thought I'd consider running an impact sport) but then I'll be fine, as always. I'll back off the running as I get closer to the race season, but for now it is as important to me as time on the bike. I'm also taking core strength training a lot more seriously this year. I didn't have any injuries to speak of last year (aside from one suffered while bowling) but increased core strength, especially my back, will certainly help on those long climbs.
And speaking of long climbs, I registered for the Native Planet Classic in the North Cascades on 6/21. It's a 128-mile road ride round-trip from Winthrop to Ross Lake in North Cascades National Park. I believe it has over 10,000 feet of climbing (follows Route 20) and features some pretty incredible scenery -- I've driven the route twice and it's amazing. The ride is organized by the Native Planet organization and raises money for indigenous people around the world. You can learn more about the award-winning group and sign up for the ride (or a shorter version) at http://www.nativeplanet.org/.
So today it begins. I finished cleaning up the garage yesterday to once again make room for my bike and fuid trainer and I already have the "Bending Crank Arms" Spinervals video cued up in the DVD player. This is the video that makes you get off the bike every 15 minutes and do tons of squats. I hate this video.
But it feels so good when it's done.