Last week (actually the last three weeks) I got in some really good training both on the road and bike driving off road, but by Wednesday I was ready for a week of low-key riding to recover - nice! I took my typical rest Thursday, pretty much putted around Friday with Ira on the road, and then got a wild hair to do a little crit racing on Saturday. With Jake gone and Ian spending the weekend at the lake with some friends it was time to introduce Darion to bike racing.
This is always an interesting part of the season for me as I have good training under the belt, but have no idea where my 'real' fitness lays so I get antsy and nervous 'maybe I'm not doing enough?' or 'I feel quick, but is that just all in my mind?'. Last year the SGF dirt crits were in September so I got a great feel for my abilities, but with it moved to July and me missing most I still had no idea. A crit would be a great indicator...
Saturday afternoon Deb, Darion, and I headed to Sedalia for my first (and last) crit of '11. Typically by now I will have 5-7 done in late spring/early summer under my belt, but this year I did more mtb'ing than expected and I just couldn't get excited about crits - shame on me 'cause they are so much fun. After a short 1.5hr drive I was debating what race to enter: Masters 40+ or 3/4? Since Darion was with us and we are trying to keep him on a semi-routine schedule the earlier 5:20pm start time fit better than the later 7pm 3/4. Quickly found out I was the sole Cat 4 in the field and many of the names already signed up were fast guys; both of this had me a bit apprehensive, but that was quickly gone once the 50min race started and I found I was able to surf near the front comfortably (relative term) and even contribute to closing some gaps. Fun course and super smooth bunch of guys, which is a big change from lower Cat races where 'diving' for corners is the norm and not the exception; not the case here as the flow/corners were consistently risk-free. With 2 laps to go the pace drove faster and faster as teams were lining up 'their guys' so I took my cue (knowing I had no legs to sprint these guys) and at the beginning of the last lap I moved to the rear and rolled in having thoroughly enjoyed myself.
So, as far as fitness check: happy with right where I should be; little 'pop' or 'zip' to my legs, but I haven't started working that yet so I didn't expect much. I'm a tad frustrated now that I let the earlier crits slip by as I do have such a fun time at these. Next year (I know, everyone says that) I am not passing up on some crit racing.
The event and venue are really good and Deb and Darion had a great time watching. An easy drive home had the little guy in bed at a decent hour. It was a fun day!
Sunday was Deb's birthday so I got up early to make sure Darion didn't wake her up early (like usual) and at 7am I snagged him as he stumbled out of bed. He and I spent the rest of the early morning making Deb a 'personalized' b-day card and playing. Unsolicited he pointed out that if I pedalled harder I would do better, then went on with his business... oh how simple (and correct) are the observations of children.
Jake came over after lunch and we met up with Ian in SGF in time to chow down on some Japanese Steakhouse and do some light birthday shopping with Deb. Fun having Jake for the day and both the younger boys enjoyed it. Great day with the whole crew celebrating my sweetheart's special day.
Not much in store for this week; easy riding until Friday and then back at it for a decent workup to Hermann.
Over the weekend I put the finishing touches (still waiting for a Specialized Toupe saddle) on the Blue for full on 'cross season and this morning I got out and tried out my new wheels and Grifo rubber. This is my third year on the Blue and while my team has shifted to other brands I simply love the way she fits me and how everything works together pretty much without issue.