So with another week passing in between outdoor rides, I finally got out today and took my cyclocross bike on a test run for the Gravel Grovel. I'm still debating on the 'cross bike vs. mountain bike choice, so I wanted to test out the severity of the 'cross bike cons of not having enough gearing to get up the tough gravel hills and providing a rough ride over the gravel. The gearing thing turned out not to be an issue unless we get a lot of rain the next 12 days. I'm used to riding gravel roads in the spring and having tire-sucking mud with which to contend. However, thanks to the unseasonably nice weather, I found the big hill on Gross Rd. to be relatively smooth and hard-packed. It still hurt to climb on my 'cross bike, but it was doable. The rough ride sucked, but considering how many people ride gravel roads on 'cross bikes with no complaints, that part may just require a bit of HTFU on my part. The 'cross bike pros are about 8 less pounds of bike with a lot less bobbing around on the smoother parts, and the ability to carry more fluids since it is a self-supported race and I need to carry about 6 hours worth of food and water with me.
I'm not really sure how this thing will go since when I told my coach that this race wasn't that important, I think we were thinking different things. I was thinking that I was burned out on hard training going into Pisgah, and I wasn't concerned about being in top condition. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was looking forward to one last chance to experiment with a few hours in the pain cave (okay, mild discomfort cave) and produce a good-for-me effort in the closest approximation to my prefered race type that Indiana has to offer.
However, the off-season strength training program is going to make things more difficult than planned. My legs are sore and slow, and I didn't feel good on today's ride. I know that getting the complete shut-down and reboot phase over now will be good for my next season, because I will have so much extra time to be in good form then, but it's kind of making me worried about my ability to get through any ride over 20 miles right now.