Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blogging by Colin

Having already raced once this year, I figure it’s about time to revisit another “professional racer” pastime: blogging. This year, I’ve been trying a few things differently in hopes of getting fast, the biggest of which has been relocating to warm weather during the winter months. This past February, I drove from Colorado Springs to Tucson, AZ for team Kenda/Felt’s first training camp of sorts. Amanda, Judy, and I shared a place, and Andy was already down there. It was more or less the training utopia that I had hoped for with riding, refueling with Trader Joes, watching the Olympics, and, well, not much else occupying my days. That sort of ascetic athlete lifestyle was perfect for a few weeks, but I soon began to romanticize about the hectic school life that I had been so eager to leave just a few weeks earlier. If you ignore the training, I had effectively gone from a college-kid lifestyle to that of a person from the geriatric neighborhood in which we rented our Tucson house. Oro Valley, AZ, it seems, is ideally suited for the elderly and athletes alike.
From Arizona, I took the long way home, seeing the Grand Canyon (indeed grand), stopping for three days in Moab, UT, and even fitting in one last day of skiing at Copper Mountain, which means I ended up using just half of my “four-pack” pass...ouch. Weather on the Front Range was still pretty sloppy, but the dry Moab weather enabled some long rides during which I recalled lots of previous Moab adventures—from some of my first experiences mountain biking, to a few harrowing 24-hours of Moab-induced bonks, to a training trip with then-teammate Sam Schultz and now-teammate Andy. That’s right, I was following the Schultz brothers long before schultzbrothersracing.com.
After a few days back in Colorado Springs, just long enough to remind myself how fun it is to ride with numb fingers and toes, I flew to San Dimas for the first Triple Crown race. My result wasn’t stellar but I was satisfied with my form for this early in the season and even happier with my new Felt LTD 29’er. With it, I went over the bars once going down Santa Barbara’s Cold Spring Trail; without it, I would have gone over the bars many, many more times. Turns out the recent 29’er craze isn’t all just hype.
My week in Santa Barbara was the antithesis of the Tucson training trip. Instead of staying with two dedicated athletes, I stayed with ten friends from school who were on their spring break. I did some of the hardest rides I’ve done all year, but thanks to evenings spent grilling with friends, zero time in compression tights, and very little bike-racing talk, the hard work was hardly hard. It’s becoming increasingly clear that for me, balance between training and rest, work and play, spinach and chocolate, etc., is the most direct route to fitness...it’s finding that balance that’s the hard part.
Now I’m staying in San Clemente for a few days before the first US Cup in Fontana this weekend (huge thanks to Lydia Tanner and her generous, unsuspecting housemates). I never really fancied myself the So-Cal type, but I could certainly get used to the ride/beach time/Mexican food routine that we’ve fortunately fallen into here. Then again, the So-Cal sunshine wouldn’t feel warm with the cold Colorado days, both of which, I hope, will contribute to a good race this weekend and a good season.