Wednesday, April 18, 2018

(The end of) Winter is Coming

Sure, it snowed on and off most of the day yesterday, but weather aside, the first race of the West Virginia Enduro Series is a mere 11 days away. That means, ready or not, winter is almost over. Although this April has been much more challenging than normal, the snowy days are at least becoming more spread out and less severe. The weather hasn’t really allowed me to settle into a regular weekly training schedule yet, but a careful eye on the forecast and a newfound tolerance for mountain biking in 40-something degree temperatures has allowed me to do some good chunks of riding and use the remaining exceptionally crappy days for recovery.

A few days after my last post, I *finally* got a nice dry and snow-free mountain bike ride in, where I went out absolutely smashed my PR on Bald Knob Death Drop. I’ve had several other PRs since that first one, so finally have proof that I not only didn’t forget how to go fast, but somehow even got a little faster during a few months of little to no real mountain biking. It makes me think that the RipRow might actually be working.

I've been riding bikes lately, but I don't have any pictures to prove it. I did acquire this pretty dirt jumper since my last post, though.

Setting some new PRs was a nice boost of confidence that also motivated me to start “being a good athlete” again, as Frank and I call it. Yes, I’m regretting not spending the winter more effectively preparing my body to withstand the beating of a long, intense enduro season, but now I’m doing what I can achieve a smart buildup of fitness as the season progresses. Despite being faster at downhill segments, my endurance sucks right now and my body hurts more than it should after hard descents. I’m trying balance between descending practice and spending time on my strength and endurance so that I can hopefully keep improving for the whole season.

Now, with the first race so close, my brain is buzzing wondering what this season will bring. I’m feeling confident that I’m “better” this year, but I’m also not sure that will mean in terms of race results. There was still a decent sized gap between me and the most of the regular women’s expert racers at the end of the season, so even if I’ve improved, that could still mean some last places in my immediate future. The first race is at Timberline Resort, which was not on the schedule last year, so I really have no basis for comparison, either in how well I ride the stages or the time gap to the other racers. It’s a little weird not knowing how I will be able to tell if I did well or not at the first race, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I’m just excited to race again!

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