Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Different "Winter Wonderland"

I'd be lying if I said I don't feel guilty for not blogging in over 3 months, but what better way to start off a new year of hopefully more consistent blogging than by posting on the last day of 2011.

The last 3 months for me have been all over the place. I started out by making the 26 hr drive to Texas shortly after my 19th birthday in October. I can't say I enjoyed the road trip as its hard to find positives to 26 hours alone in a car with only your thoughts and a battery dead iPod, as well as a 6 hour "sleep" in the drivers seat of a small Ford hatchback. I can say, however, that the misery of getting there was totally worth it, because the weather, views, and roads that greeted me were awesome.

I lived and trained in San Antonio and Austin with a good friend of mine up until Thanksgiving when I drove down to meet my parents for the holiday in St. Petersburg, Florida. Unfortunately, I didn't get much training in while I was there, the lack of quiet roads without traffic lights didn't help. But it worked out well as I used the time there as a rest and recovery period, which as it turned out was very needed.

I came back to TX with a burning motivation and immediately got onto the bike again. I hammered out a couple 20+ hour weeks with a few long trail runs in the mornings and some solid power tests, was in the gym every night at 8 for core work and stretching, and was having my legs dug into a few times a week by an active release therapist to ease the strain of the road.

During those 2-3 weeks before Christmas I was also lucky enough to connect with some guys that I really look up to for a couple rides. If you know me, you are probably aware of my goals in this sport, the biggest of which being the Trek Livestrong U23 development team. So, you can imagine how stoked I was to ride with some of the guys on that team that are based out of Austin. I worked out the plan with Gavin Mannion, and met up with the rest of the guys, Lawson Craddock, Nate Brown, their coach, as well as 2009 British national road race champion, Kristian House, at a small coffee shop in downtown Austin.

The ride was awesome. A solid 5 and a half hours in TX country, on some beautiful roads, with some really down to earth and easy-to-talk-to guys. It was nice to be able to ride with guys that are my age, and that are as good as they are, to hear what they had to say about their experiences with cycling and their backgrounds with the sport. When I fly back to TX next week I'll hopefully be hooking back up with Gavin to try to plan a few more of those "blog-worthy" rides.

This has been my life for the last 3 months, waking up every morning with a bit of an ache in my quads, long nights in the gym, deep tissue massage recovery, hundreds of emails back and forth with my coach, thousands of miles of driving, healthy "sale-only" grocery shopping, and memories that I'm probably never going to forget. I'm loving every moment, and to me thats whats most important.


So, until the 5th I'll be here in VA with family, riding every once in a while, but mostly just relaxing and enjoying the time off. Then I'll be back in TX to continue some serious training for a few weeks.

Now, the plan was to head down to the island of Nassau in late January, to participate in what was going to be my first race of the season, the Tour of the Bahamas, with a few teammates on XO-Comm-Harley-Davidson. However, because of not enough riders able to go, and unfortunate illness of our team leader for that race, its just not going to happen.

Really it came down to, either I can waste the money doing a 3 day race in the Bahamas, or I can head back up to VA at the same time of that race, to participate in the EPIC Haymarket Winter League "Race" Series. First of all this won't cost me anything, and speaking from experience, this series is probably the hardest "race" type simulation you can do at this time of the year. There's even a leader's jersey this year which is awesome!

So, that's the plan. I'll be headed back up to VA in late January to continue training here for a month, or two...or three. Honestly, I don't know how long I'll stay, it'll all really depend on how well the training is going and how my body is reacting to the climate change. At the end of the day, thats really what I have to look at. "Is going here, or doing this, or eating that, really the best thing for my training and maintaining my goals?"

Thanks for reading