During last week's post, I left out an important part of the weekend, because it didn't really fit with the theme. Except for the racing part not going so well, it was actually quite a good weekend. It was made even better when we got back to my house on Sunday night and Frank surprised me with the early birthday present of new clincher wheels for my cross bike that he had built himself. Of course, the pink hubs were nice, but the really thoughtful part was that rims were the same width as my Major Tom tubular wheelsets, so I no longer have to adjust my brakes when I swap between tubulars and clinchers.
With the combo of traveling a lot and the not-so-awesome 'cross season, I have needed to swap a lot lately. Since I was able to survive the Sub-9 Gravel Grovel on practically no training last year, I decided early on that I would do it again unless I was in contention for a OVCX series podium in late November. Obviously that is not happening, and I'm just sort of missing gravel, so I'm putting a little more effort into preparation this year. It probably won't make tons of difference speed-wise, but maybe it will make the Gravel Grovel a little more pleasant and let me get a head start on my Death March prep.
So this weekend I skipped the Derby City Cup and hit the Hoosier National Forest gravel for the first time since last spring's Death March. I even listened to some Taylor Swift on the way out for old time's sake, but the break-up songs didn't make me sad anymore and I was able to turn some witty new phrases like, "On a Monday, over pate', I watched it begin again." And really, when is ever not a good night to dress up like hipsters and make fun of our exes? But I digress.
The ride was good, and I got 30-something miles in, and I could have done 45 or so without feeling trashed. I'm just a little off my Saturday gravel training game, and forgot that I needed to eat breakfast before the 9 a.m. farmer's market. As it was, I didn't start riding until 2:00, and had to turn in early before running out of light.
Now it's just a matter of getting back in my groove and building on it, which includes upping the tolerable distance that I can ride in Pennsylvania next weekend. The only drawbacks to this year's choice in Death March partner are: a) Sometimes I have to drive 9 hours to ride with him, and that sort of kills my motivation by the time I get there. b) I underestimated how much easier it was to train with a bike-only friend, because then I was totally stoked on riding bikes them vs. training someone with whom I enjoy riding bikes but also enjoy many other activities and thus the impetus specifically to ride bikes isn't as strong. Oh well, I'm continually making progress on this whole being in a long distance relationship and still maintaining training thing, so I think things are looking good for me, my pretty new wheels, and my awesome new partner come spring.