Change seems to be the story of my life lately. With the new year comes a fresh start…I feel this in many aspects of my life and of course, cycling is no exception. I am departing from Mafia Racing for 2011 and will announce my new team and sponsors once the details are finalized!
For this season I have an ambitious race schedule and plan to focus on UCI mountain bike events. Unfortunately for me the ProXCT series includes races in Montana, Colorado, California (three, to be exact!), Texas and Wisconsin. Nationals are in Idaho. Hmm, I think they forgot about the other half of the country! Fortunately the races I’ve planned have all been upgraded to UCI Category 1 status, which is fantastic news. I’m especially happy that the WORS Subaru Cup received the upgrade since that venue is one of my all-time favorites! These are Olympic qualifying races so it should be an intense and interesting year…
Though the east coast is void of any National events, it will host two World Cups and plenty of US Cup East races. The Southeast is full of crazy endurance races as well! The hard part will be limiting my schedule!
The biggest change I’ve made thus far in the preseason is my training; as much fun as it was to race myself into shape and wing it with random interval workouts, I know that I will need structure to improve at the pro level. I am thrilled to be working with Gordy Paulson at Speed Cycling (check out the facility if you are near Madison, WI!). Gordy is a good friend and an exceptional coach and athlete. I have had a lot of motivation and dedication to come this far, and I am very excited to have direction for the first time in my cycling. In only a month I can already tell that my form and efficiency are improving in addition to my power! It has been an adjustment to ride 5+ times a week instead of 2 or 3, but I am enjoying it!
Training only begins on the bike. It is really dependent on a holistic lifestyle. Equally critical are rest, nutrition, well-being…for years my yoga practice has been very important to me on a number of levels; I get as much out of it mentally as I do physically. In the past year in particular, yoga has helped me tremendously with tight hips and low back pain associated with cycling, as well as anxiety and general stress. I was very sad to leave my dedicated practice with Laura Flanagan in Madison but have found a wonderful fit with the instructors at West Asheville Yoga.
Another change for me is the abbreviated winter. No snowpacolypse for Asheville! I enjoyed a hard, technical three hour mountain bike ride over the weekend in short sleeves! I actually prefer to do most (interval) workouts on the trainer, but the outdoor velodrome down the street has been a good change of pace too. I really do enjoy winter, but so much of it affects me negatively.
So during this preseason and lay-off from work, my life has been as busy as ever with planning and preparing! Now I feel full of potential, ambitious and ready to work hard. What I’ve lacked is grounding and routine; I often think ahead too far and feel chaotic. I hope to focus more on rooting myself and appreciating what I have in the present so that I can then successfully move forward….