Transition Season

8:03 PM

The leaves are starting to change, cyclocross practices have started, there are fewer mountain bike races to choose from, and I'm back at work full-time (oh the life of those working in education...).  And each September, invariably, my training goes off the rails for a couple of weeks.  At some point I will learn from this yearly experience and actually plan for an actual break between seasons, but this year I optimistically scheduled a strong couple of base weeks to transition between mountain and cyclocross.

Not optimistically.  Stupidly.

It is a bit strange transitioning between two seasons that don't appear to have any natural break between them.  Back when I was a runner the seasons were distinctly defined: cross country into November, then a nice long rest before indoor track built up in the new year and outdoor track replaced it in the warm weather.  June brought another nice, long break before we all returned to base summer miles for cc.

Around here mountain biking extends to late September, and Tuesday night practice cross races actually started last week.  I can't quite figure out how to wrap up my mountain season whilst also getting back into the groove of cyclocross.  What will most likely happen is that my mountain bike season will just fade away...a bit like a neglected friend you keep forgetting to call...then you see them awkwardly at a gathering and don't quite know what to say...

There really is no big BANG for the end of my mountain bike season, and maybe that is a good thing.  I would hate to feel like I am completely tuned-up and maxed out with my training right now - I've still got four months left of racing!

So the last couple of weeks were supposed to be a natural build up of base miles with some good, quality endurance and aerobic threshold workouts thrown in to keep me honest.  That, at least was the plan.  The reality was a more catch-as-catch-can approach to training, days that didn't have enough hours for me to fit in all I wanted to do, and a training diary that was forgotten for thee whole weeks (just try to reconstruct what you did for a workout eighteen days ago...).

By last Friday night I was frustrated and roaring to get out on the road bike.  It was one of those stupid evenings where I was damn sure I was going to make up for three weeks of slapdash training with one awesome interval workout.  The heart-rate monitor was on, the plan was set (4 x 10 minute intervals in zone four), and this one workout would bring me back to tip-top shape for the cross season.

And then I fell down while absentmindedly crossing some out of commission rail road tracks.  As I sat on a park bench beside the Mississippi River licking my wounds (thanks to my slow speed crash I have a nice bruise on my hip, a pretty scab on my elbow, and a damaged ego...nothing too bad) I decided to give myself five minutes in which to completely be a baby - you know, really give in to the "oh, poor me" inner whine that we all don't want to admit to.

Then, after five minutes I got up, headed home (c'mon, one workout does not a season make) a bit more clear headed about the second half of my cycling year.  I may not be ready for cross, I may not have gotten in all the quality workouts this summer that I wanted to, but the season is coming anyway in all its beery glory.  Might as well enjoy it!

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